by Gabriela Fitzpatrick | Staff Writer

SCRANTON – I am in no way a professional chef, but I get by. I have culminated five dinner dishes that I think are delicious. They are low budget and for the most part uses ingredients you can find in your fridge or pantry. Not to mention they are not a TV dinner, and they don’t take too long! Let us dive in.

Chicken Stir Fry

This recipe is my take on almost any stir fry recipe you’ll find on the internet. Essentially, you can use any vegetables you have on hand. Here’s what I use:


1 half of a zucchini

1 large carrot

1 cup chopped broccoli

¼ of a large red pepper

½ of a medium sized onion

3 garlic cloves

¼ cup of rice (I would recommend either white or brown rice)

1-2 chicken breasts (depends on how much chicken you want)

1 chicken bouillon cube (optional)

5 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce

1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil (optional)

1 Tbsp corn starch

2 Tbsp cooking oil

1 Tbsp Honey

½ tsp ginger (optional)

Salt, pepper & red pepper flakes to taste


Vegetables: Chop up all of your vegetables into bite sized pieces. Sautee the carrots and onions together in oil first until they begin to soften. Add in the rest of your veggies and add in your soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and ginger. Let simmer for a few minutes. Add in corn starch (this will make the sauce thicker).

Chicken: Season your chicken with salt and pepper (feel free to add anything else you’d like but keep in mind the vegetables will have a lot of flavor and a sauce to go with it). Cook the chicken about six to eight minutes, making sure to not burn it and flipping halfway through.

*Tip: chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Rice: For a ¼ cup of rice, get a half cup of water and add it all to a pot if you don’t have a rice cooker. Feel free to add a dash of oil to prevent sticking. Once it comes to a boil, add the bouillon cube if you have it. Make sure to occasionally stir the rice. The rice should be done after eight minutes.


Mix everything together. Enjoy!

Fried Rice

If you wanted to make extra rice with the last dish, you can save it for the next day and make fried rice. This uses similar ingredients to the last dish.


1 medium sized carrot

¼ cup peas (can be frozen)

¼ medium sized onion

3 cloves of garlic

2 eggs

5 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce

1 Tbsp sesame oil (optional but recommended)

¼ cup left over rice

2 Tbsp cooking oil

Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste


Sautee your vegetables in some oil, leaving frozen vegetables, if used, toward the end. In a separate pan, fry up your day-old rice in some oil. Add the rice to the vegetables on medium-low heat. Crack in your eggs to the same pan and scramble them, incorporating them with the other ingredients. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.


You can put this in a bowl or on a plate but if you’re extremely hungry, you can eat it from the pan. I won’t judge.

Lemon Cajun Chicken


1 chicken breast

½ a lemon

3 Tbsp Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning

1 Tbsp cooking oil


Marinate the chicken in the seasoning, oil and lemon for at least 30 minutes or overnight – the longer it’s left to marinate, the more flavor. Be sure to rub in the seasoning.


Sear each side of the chicken on any grill you have or brown in a pan with some oil. Turn your oven on to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and add the chicken to a baking sheet. Cook for 15 minutes. Turn it over halfway to prevent burning.


Make a side of steamed veggies and mashed potatoes (from a bag is fine) and enjoy!

Bacon and Broccoli Mac and Cheese


Kraft Mac and Cheese (use the thick and creamy one and you’ll thank me later)

4-6 slices of bacon

1 ½ cups broccoli (can be frozen)

½ cup panko bread crumbs (optional)


Cook the mac and cheese according to the box instructions. Fry up your bacon and steam your broccoli on the side. Once the macaroni and cheese is done, add the bacon and broccoli into the mix.

*Optional: Preheat oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a baking disk and add your mac and cheese mixture. Top with extra cheese if you have any and the panko bread crumbs. Bake until the top is crispy and golden brown.


Serve it as is, but don’t burn your tongue.

Bacon Cheese Burger


2 lbs of ground beef

1 egg

2 garlic cloves, minced

¾ cup bread crumbs

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

Cheese of your choice


Hamburger buns

Cooking oil


Have a pan heating on medium-high with a dash of cooking oil (depending on how hot your stove heats up). Mix together all of your ingredients. Make them into ball shapes. When the pan is hot, place them in and smoosh them down with your spatula. Cook five minutes on each side or until the inside is to your desired likeness. Fry up your bacon on the side.

*Tip: after the second flip, put a slice of your choice of cheese on top of the patty so it melts.


Add the patty to your bun and the bacon on top. Add any sauce or condiments you’d like. Enjoy!