Oct 30, 2020 | LIFE | By Kara Thomas | Illustration by Patil Khakhamian

If you’re anything like me and thousands of other people during the pandemic, you hopped on the sourdough bread train. Like me, your starter probably failed on three separate occasions and eventually you just gave up. Maybe making bread isn’t your forte after all.

However, just because you might be unable to make sourdough bread doesn’t mean cooking is off-limits to you forever. In fact, a pandemic is the best time to perfect grandma’s famous lasagna you’ve been dying to attempt. I asked a few of my housemates to comment on how they feel about their cooking skills and to suggest a few recipes to try as the weather gets colder and you’re forced to spend more time inside.

Libby Pohl ’21, our house chef and squash enthusiast, recommends squash gnocchi. Pohl has taken to trying every variety of squash she can get her hands on this fall season. “I have been pleased with Safeway’s versatile selection of winter squash this fall — my favorite variety is Buttercup (not to be confused with Butternut),” she said.

Autumn Squash Gnocchi

  • 1 large winter squash (butternut, acorn, or kabocha, for example)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Olive oil as needed

Directions: Preheat oven to 400o F. Cut the squash in half, then scoop out the insides, saving the seeds to roast if you please. Place squash halves cut-side up on a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for about 50-60 minutes or until squash is soft but not caramelized. Let cool. Once the squash is cooled, scoop out the insides of the squash and add to a bowl. Mash the squash. Then, on a floured surface, knead in flour, salt, and olive oil. Keep adding flour as needed, until the dough ball is no longer sticky. Roll the ball out to a one-inch thick log. You may need to make multiple logs. Cut into half-inch rectangular sized pieces. Dust with flour. Bring a pot of salty water to boil on the stove. Gently place gnocchi in the water. Once the gnocchi have risen to the surface of the pot, scoop out with a slotted spoon. Top with olive oil, sauce, or sauteed vegetables. Enjoy!

Stuart Callinan ’21, who has the biggest sweet tooth in the house, recommends his famous “Slutty Brownie” recipe.

“Well you know, there isn’t anything better than a lot of chocolate and peanut butter, and this recipe combines the two greatest things on Earth,” Callinan passionately told me.

Stuart’s Slutty Brownies

  • 1 box of brownie mix
  • Creamy peanut butter (We recommend Skippy)
  • Frozen cookie dough
  • A box of Oreos

Directions: Preheat oven to 350o F. Prepare brownie mix as instructed on the box. Layer the frozen cookie dough on the bottom of an oven-safe pan, pressing down firmly with a spoon or your hands. Layer Oreos on top of the cookie dough. Next, slather peanut butter on top of the layer of Oreos. The amount of peanut butter you add is up to your discretion, though Stuart recommends “a whole lot of it.” Finally, top with the brownie mix. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the dessert has cooked all the way through.

Personally, my favorite recipe has been an easy lemon shrimp pasta, which you can find here. The recipe is low FODMAP (fermentable oligo-, di-, mon-saccharides and polyols) so for all my fellow IBS sufferers out there, this one is for you. Additionally, if you have other dietary restrictions, you might like checking out these recipe blogs: Gluten Free Recipes from Food Network; Celiac Friendly Recipes; Dairy-Free Recipes; or Vegan and Vegetarian Recipe Blog.

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