I live in a rural area. Right smack in the middle of a desert, in fact. My city is not very progressive when it comes to public transportation, and I don't own a car, so when the busses stop running at 8:00pm (5pm weekends), I'm pretty much stuck at home. I've found myself, on more than one occasion, in a house where no conventional food can be prepared due to a lack of groceries. So, I tried unconventional stuff. Here are the results, my *cue dramatic music* Recipes of Desperation!

Creamy Tomato Noodles:

2.5 cups egg noodles

Cook noodles. Place in bowl, add just enough ketchup to lightly cover all the noodles when tossed. Then add a few dollops of mayo, and toss again. Sounds disgusting, tastes alright. Not gourmet by any measure.

Garlic Pasta

1/2 lb. pasta, any shape.
2 tbls garlic powder
1 tbls onion powder
Dried oregano
Good-quality olive oil
Grated parmesan cheese(buy a block of cheese and a grater, that canned stuff is like talcum powder with salt)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta until it's al dente, drain. Do not rinse. Drizzle enough oil over pasta so that it lightly coats it all after being tossed. Place in large serving bowl, sprinkle the garlic and onion powder over the pasta. Grate some parmesan cheese into the pasta. Crush the dried oregano between your fingers and sprinkle lightly on pasta. Toss. Add the salt (be careful, parmesan is very salty), and pepper to taste. Enjoy! This can actually be a classy light lunch if you replace the garlic and onion powder with sautéed garlic and some caramelized onions.

Tortilla Cinnamon Crisps

1-2 tortillas
2 tbls corn or peanut oil
Granulated sugar

Heat oil in a skillet; make sure its good and hot, but not smoking. With tongs, carefully lay a tortilla into the oil and fry 20-30 seconds on each side till golden brown. Remove from oil, pat off the excess oil with some paper towels. then sprinkle with equal parts sugar and cinnamon. It's like a churro, only round and flat, yay!

I'm sure I'll add more later, since I find myself in this situation quite often.

As a college student who goes grocery shopping only intermittently, I often end up with dozens of odds and ends of miscellaneous condiments and jars, but few choices for cookable food. My favorite fallback recipe is simple spaghetti: a box of noodles and a jar of sauce, combined in the pot (post-noodle-cooking, of course), lasts several days and costs about $1.50. This creation cannot properly be called cooking, but variations are easy to make and often result in real food. Here is my most recent version, which I hereby dub

Creamy Tomato-Basil Spaghetti

I have left the quantities vague on purpose. As with any recipe which revolves around two or three ingredients and requires cupboard-scavenging for the remainder, you should feel free to omit or change things at will.

Prepare pasta according to package directions. At the same time, slice the onion(s) thinly and cut in half. Saute in the bottom of a saucepan with a little olive oil or butter. Chop garlic coarsely and add to onions when almost ready (garlic burns easily). When onions are soft and almost clear, turn down the heat and add lots of basil and any other good-smelling things you can find, along with a big splash of cream. The amount doesn't really matter, but you should probably use half a cup or more. When the cream is hot but not boiling, add lots of parmesan and stir until completely melted. Stir in the jar of sauce until everything is a questionable orange-pink color. Serve over pasta with plenty of red and black pepper and maybe some toast.

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