The story of my life! I’ve always loved the kitchen. I’ve kind of thought of it as a combination home art studio and science lab. Why play with clay, when you can play with cookie dough? And trust me, I was never much for chem in high school (just ask my mom about those very ugly teacher conferences), but mixing, combining, experimenting in the kitchen – that’s my thing!
Sometimes it’s been a source of conflict in my house:
“I don’t understand why we can’t just follow the directions the way they are printed on the box.” “Well, mom…we can’t. Trust me, my way is better, and anyway, I’m not doing it their way.”
Or upon my finally coming downstairs for a late dinner after a night of studying (the family room and the kitchen are basically all one big room in our house) or coming home late after a night out:
“There is such a thing as a peanut butter sandwich. Not every meal has to involve courses. Now what are you making?” Might be true but not for me. What’s the fun of a boring old sandwich when you have a whole kitchen to create with no matter what the time.
So lately, my thing has been waffle irons. See waffle irons are great. I’m always worried that my food has feelings (and yes, this has added to the list of things that I don’t eat). When my mom zests a lemon, I wrap up the poor naked lemon in a paper towel so it won’t be cold in the fridge without it’s skin (because after all wouldn’t you be?). So going to Wisconsin and all, I’m thinking my food is gonna be really, really cold. No problem, I’ll be coming equipped with my portable food space heater (a.k.a. waffle iron)!
And seriously, (unless you’re my friends who already know from my late nite pics of my latest creations how true this is), you would be amazed how many things you can make. “Waffle irons. They’re not just for waffles.”
Picture this: You’re in your dorm room. It’s late at night. You’re starving. It’s (depending on where you go to school) boiling hot, pouring rain, freezing, blizzarding or doing something else that means there’s no way you’re leaving. Or maybe you’re in no condition to go out (of course, by that I mean just too tired). And anyway, everything is closed. You have no oven. You have no microwave. You don’t want pizza delivery again (and really who wants to wait more than a second anyway – all that calling and ordering and waiting – just annoying). But let’s go back to, “You’re starving.” You have to do something. I say, pull out that waffle iron and start creating. From healthy to no redeeming value whatsoever, I’ve got you covered:
FOR THE WAFFLE IRON, I LIKE KRUPS. I’VE TRIED A FEW AND THIS ONE SEEMS TO GET THE BEST RESULTS PARTICULARLY FOR WAFFLE “FREE STYLING”.
IN ALL CASES, YOU NEED A NON-STICK COOKING SPRAY. SPRAY (DROWN) YOUR WAFFLE IRON BEFORE COOKING. THIS WILL AVOID PRYING STUCK FOOD OUT OF THE WAFFLE IRON AS WELL AS A LOT OF ICKY CLEANUP
I’m Chicken To Break My Diet
No need for a late night snack to be a calorie festival. Your trusty waffle iron is here to help:
You will need:
Boneless skinless chicken breast (try not to get it too thick. Smaller will cook better)
Whatever dry seasonings (meaning salt, pepper, other spices) you like on your chicken
A wrap (for gluten free, I use Flatout flat bread)
1. Plug in waffle iron (this is, what a shock, true in every case. I’m only saying it once. You’re too smart to need me to repeat it every time!)
2. Season chicken
3. Place chicken in waffle iron
4. Cook until it looks cooked (starting to get that good grilled chicken look)
5. Warm wrap briefly in waffle iron
6. Place chicken on wrap
7. Spread whatever spread you like (hummus, guac, ketchup, mustard, siracha, you name it)
(p.s. Remember all that food safety stuff everyone drummed into your head. You had raw chicken in your waffle iron (and elsewhere in your dorm room). Wash it well!)
“Eggsactly” What Are You Talking About?
Eggs! I’m talking about eggs. Want an omelette. Love an egg and cheese sandwich? You can do it! (By the way, you can also make bacon in your waffle iron. Pigs are cute, so I don’t do that, but I don’t judge either. If you want a BEC, go for it!)
For an egg sandwich, you will need:
Sliced cheese of your choice (American, Swiss, Cheddar, you name it)
A roll (For gluten free, I like Udi’s)
1. Crack your egg right into your waffle iron
2. Cook until it looks kind of like this:
3. Place cooked egg and cheese (1 or 2 slices – up to you) on your roll
4. Place in waffle iron and cook until cheese is melted
5. Remove and serve
For an omelette:
You will need:
Eggs (again, duh)
Cheese (this time shredded would be better, but you can tear up those slices yourself too)
1. Whisk eggs until light and fluffy
2. Stir in cheese
3. Pour the whole thing into your waffle iron
4. Cook until eggs are done
Bet You Can’t Do A Burger
Bet I can. You will need:
Ground meat (Thanks, Captain Obvious!)
Dry seasoning (see the grilled chicken recipe for more specifics)
Sliced Cheese (if you want it)
A roll (again reppin Udi’s for gf!)
1. Season your meat and form it into patties. (PSA – Wash your hands well after handling raw meat)
2. Place patties on waffle iron (Note, if you are going to want to toast your bun, leave yourself a open section of waffle iron to use later)
3. Cook patties to your desired doneness (This is trial and error. All waffle irons will give you a different result, but when they don’t look raw anymore, they aren’t)
4. Remove from waffle iron
5. Toast bun in waffle iron if desired. Place burger on toasted bun. OR
6. If you are using cheese and you want it melty (very technical cooking term) and gooey (another one), assemble like you did the egg sandwich and cook in waffle iron until cheese is melted.
7. Enjoy with your favorite garnishes.
Note: This is the messiest of all of these. The burger will leave a lot of grease in your waffle iron. First thing to know, that grease is hot. Be careful. Second thing – Clean the waffle iron really well or everything else will taste like burger grease, yuck!
But I Really Wanted Pizza
Then pizza you shall have. You will need:
Uncooked pizza dough. (Pillsbury makes both gluten free and regular)
Shredded Mozzarella cheese
Pepperoni slices (optional)
1. Roll out dough into small balls (about the size you would use to make a cookie)
3. On one flattened dough round, place Mozzarella cheese (enough to cover the dough. Don’t pile it on too high.)
4. If you want, add a few pepperoni slices
5. Cover with another flattened dough round and pinch sides to hold together.
6. Place in waffle iron and cook until golden brown.
7. Slice and serve with a side of pizza sauce for dipping.
What Else You Got, Cookie?
Hey, who you calling cookie?
You will need…are you ready for this?….Cookie Dough!!!!! (Again, Pillsbury has gluten free and lots of regular choices)
1. Roll cookie dough into balls like you were making cookies.
2. Place in waffle iron and cook until golden brown (or whatever doneness you like your cookies).
And Before You Roll Into Bed
Cinnamon Rolls. This one’s not gluten free! But it’s too fun and easy to not share. (Clearly, if you’re going to have a dedicated gluten free waffle iron, this does not go there! Just saying!!).
You will need a tube of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. (I don’t know any others like this, and anyway, who doesn’t love that moment when you twist open the tube and the cinnamon rolls pop out)
1. Separate the cinnamon rolls.
2. Reserve glaze (included in tube) for later
3. Place each cinnamon roll in waffle iron.
4. Cook until puffy and beginning to brown.
5. While still warm, cover with glaze.
Clearly, this is just the beginning. Grilled cheese, hash browns and brownies are just some of the other things I’ve made. Experiment! Enjoy! And most of all, play with your food!!
Hallie Salko will be a freshman at University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Fall. To get more recipe ideas, you can contact Hallie at email@example.com.