The Rules were simple, like everything else in a college dorm...  Breakable…  They launched the first annual college dorm cook-off.  These rules were mainly for leveling the playing field. They were also for safety. So they didn’t level the dorms. Here are the rules.

  • Only one pot (5 Quart) and one hotplate allowed, Microwave OK and Toaster OK.
  • No wood or furniture fires.
  • Must contain Ramen Noddles.
  • Do not burn the room or dorm down.
  • No tossing food or cooks off the third floor dorm with fraternity mates hoping to catch some on the fly, no extra points given.
  • Hotplates may not be left unattended or you will be disqualified.
  • Faculty will not judge this event as they are not invited. Besides, the faculty would call the school police.
  • The heat source must be a one burner hot plate.  Radar Ranges, Bunsen burners, flame throwers, taping into volcanos, hickory logs or effigy bonfires are not allowed. 
  • You are allowed one meat, chicken or fish item. Pre-cooked or uncooked.  Everything else must be from a can, packet or frozen goods.  Herbs excepted.  Items must be recognizable and available from local groceries.  Bats, rats and iguanas not excepted.
  • One pot over a hotplate with restricted food entries. I decided after prodding by my young Patawan friend to help her create this dish for her entry. I was surprised, it really tasted good and was simple. It would be perfect on a cold day. 
  • The problem was what to call it.  It had the Chinese Ramen with Chicken with a decidedly Italian sauce. "Fun Dung" was the winner.


This new event was inspired by a group of young starving college students who worked exclusively with Ramen noodles.  It was amazing what they dreamed up to cook in their dorms pursuant to the culinary rhelm of the Ramen or Chinese Noodle.  

May I refer you to a blog by Anita Dualeh, the College Survival Guide of Rasmussen College.  Ramen Nation on Amazon.  by Toni Patrick who has a great book on the subject of Ramen survival.

NOTE: No students were poisoned, or died from some of the concoctions dreamed up at this great culinary event.  Too bad some deserved to be shot.


One (already cooked) Sam's or Costco Roasted chicken diced, sliced, disemboweled, cut, and slaughtered into bite sized pieces. Saved cooking time, leave the skin on for flavor.  Use all the meat and I mean all, including the dark side.  OR -  three large cans of cooked Chicken. Sam’s or Costco,  OK thats the one chicken portion requirement.


1  Medium to large onion, diced, couple garlic cloves.  For the contest we used dried Onion and Garlic. For home the real thing.
3  Three packages Ramen noodles and add the powder packages***
2  Cans Swanson Chicken Broth
3  Cups water, the broth makes up the difference, plus liquid from the tomatoes
2  Cans Diced Tomatos (Hunts)
2  California Mix Frozen Veggies by Birdseye in a package
1  Can Rotolo Diced Tomato with Chillies
1  Can Tomato Paste (Hunts - small size)
4  Bay leaves 
3 0z-  Crushed Jalopeno Potato Chips on top as crust

Add the usual (chicken broth is usually heavy on salt) Black pepper, and a few Red Pepper Flakes ( they are fairly hot, be cautious).   Feeds at least four to five gorillas and possibly six if your football team is underweight. 


Cook the Ramen Noodles in the water, use canned broth, ***  the packet of broth that comes with the noodles sucks , throw them away, they are vile.  If not canned broth or boxed broth mix powder or my favorite Knoor de pollo Bouillon  and a splash of oil, saut’e the onions and garlic, add the pre-cooked chicken till hot, add the whole mess of other ingredients one at a time, and stir and simmer, stir and simmer, for an hour and a half. 

Season to get the right heat and taste with the peppers and you can push a minced Jalopena peppers less their seeds and white pith,  if you think the dorms folks like that flavor.  The dried red pepper flakes should quell any macho appetites and cauterize their esophagus. 

Use the potato chips crushed on top. Serve with 1- Domestic Beer  2- Imported Beer   3- Romulon Beer from Kirks personal supply, as served on The Big Bang show. 


While most of the other college contestants were busy trying to stuff Gange, Marijuana, Weed, Grass, Pot, Indo, Ganja, Wacky Tabacky, Mary Jane, Chronic, Hemp, Bud, Herb, Peyote, Reefer, Goofy Boots and known by 87 other names into cookies we went another route.

PIZZA! The National Dish of College Campuses!
Three ingredients made this the easiest and most legal snack of all the entries and really required little or no work or effort, perfect for college kids who’s main energy is usually directed toward sports, team alcoholism, and copulation. 

You will need Al’s Spaghetti pizza sauce offshoot, or any pizza spices from McCormick, at most grocery stores,  bagels or english muffins and a white American cheese. You may add the following:

Pepperoni,  Mushrooms,  Onions, Sausage,  Bacon,  Extra cheese,  Black olives,  Green peppers,  Pineapple,  Spinach,  Bacon bits,  Chicken parts,  Garlic cloves…  or any thing else small enough to fit on that won’t cause eminent death or paralysis.  As you can see we are not new to the college scene.

The Bagel, well, plain is good, variants are good like whole wheat, garlic and so forth BUT old ones from two months ago with mold are not good.

The Cheese - For the cheese we used a commercial size pack from Sam’s which is a blended Swiss and American.  Mild it goes with anything, imitates very expensive pizza cheese and can handle heating and melting well. 

It was very inexpensive bulk packed, sliced and ready to go. When you make 50 of these bagels, bulk and pre-sliced was the way to go.  Also we had the lowest cost per item as Gange went to 50 dollars an ounce in Colorado and too expensive to just hand out.

The Sauce -  Al’s perfect Spaghetti  pizza sauce, is the best BUT in the dorm PREGO won hands down, we used the meat PREGO, fairly mild and sweet, added half a small jar of hot Salsa for bite and two tablespoons of Spaghetti Blend Herbs commonly found in grocery spices across the nation. Made a great Pizza sauce. I’m using it on big pies I make.


The key to cooking for groups is the assembly line and here’s how we made fifty samples…Gather all the hidden toaster in the dorm.   Line your people up, provide tongs, it gets hot.

1-  Cut bagels in half, place into toaster for medium toast. Keep them (all five) toasters going...

2-  Remove and place the bagels face sides down, take a 1/4 of the slice of cheese and cover the hole on one side of the the two slices, this prevents drippage or sauce on white shirt syndrome.

3-  Cover with the sauce, over the cover part too, generously but not insanely. 

The amount dripped onto the floor will indicate correction, usually less the amounts in the following mini-pies.

4- Place two pieces of cheese in a star pattern as shown over the sauce and into the Microwave for 30 seconds.  

Note: You may cut the cheese ( sounds ominous) julienne style for a more authentic look, no penalty points.

For those attending the Hebrew University, its not official but this dish might be considered Kosher safe or kosher inspired looking by your Jewish classmates….because of the star of David.  You can get the cheese, bagels and sauce Kosher easily modified to personal tastes and culinary beliefs.

Beats spending twenty dollars for Domingoes, Hunger Howies, Jeezza the Hut Home and Your Papas John delivery…… for something that old and cold  by the time it gets to you.

I wish you could taste them, this is a little killer combo. 

Im doing a party next week and will probably make twenty different varieties for the fun of it…at the party as a gaf.  I’ll use the oven and do twenty per tray with al kinds of goodies like Chicken and Pineapple,  Pepperoni with Feta Cheese, millions of combos.


Christmas Eve 2010 and I am home alone, its thirty-five degrees outside, cold, very cold for Florida, a major water main  almost six feet in diameter burst three miles from me and I have no water.  Wow what a meal for a dorm!

Neither did anyone else in the mid south half of the county.  About 300, 000 homes.  Might be out for up to thirty to forty hours, possibly longer.  I had to cancel plans we had for the Holiday because I felt assistance might be needed in our condos, older folks,  if any of my neighbors panicked.

I have  a thirty day four person Hurricane survival setup in my garage six feet high on a shelf above the highest water levels with potable water, food including MRE’s, gas stoves and lights, Meds and First Aid etc. 

I do for hygienic reasons stock six gallons of potable drinking water in my garage for coffee, hot chocolate and dental care.  Since the county was in the same mess I was in, I knew the restaurants had no water either. And they were ordered closed as required by law for "health reasons".   No toilets, nor dishwashers and we are a tourist town so many of our restaurants do a lot of business feeding tourists over Christmas.   To use my own facilities, I innovated, I went down to the pool, took water from the pool in buckets to use in the bathroom.  

COOKING SURVIVAL INSTINCT 101 (CSI)So I just went on cooking survival instinct (CSI) and voila, a one skillet put together and it was great. I had both diced chicken marinating in the fridge and a pound of shrimp. I chose the shrimp, if the power went out the shrimp would pass first. The chicken was in heavy teriyaki sauce.


3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 pound Shrimp medium or equivalent in large size
3 cloves Garlic, smashed and chopped fine
2 Tablespoons Butter
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 diced green onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup instant rice
1/1/4 cup Swanson low sodium chicken broth
1 can ROTEL tomatoes and chilis
Crystal Louisiana Pepper Sauce to taste (Optional, the Rotel is enough for most)
Parmesan cheese - I use a zester, with Parmigiano Reggiano, all you want, enjoy.

In a 12 inch skillet, medium heat, sauté the olive oil and garlic, just flavor the oil, don’t burn it, add the chicken broth for the instant rice, salt and pepper.  After the rice fluffs up, add the butter, the ROTEL, the whole can, the parsley, green onion and the shrimp. Cook till the shrimp looks right.  about three to four minutes, don’t overcook.  Toss it for even cooking and final season with salt, pepper, and Crystal sauce or some Franks sauce.   I ate the whole thing...


It is credited to Tom and John Kiradjieff who created "Cincinnati style Chili" chili in 1922.  They owned a small Greek restaurant called the Empress. The restaurant did well after he mixed a typical chili recipe with Middle Eastern spices and concocted a new menu based on a variety of toppings. 

Note: Steak and shake offers a modified version of this. They called it chili three ways which is incorrect. They dump chili and ketchup on spaghetti. Edible but tastes like chili and ketchup dumped on spaghetti.  We made a similar version you can make in ten minutes using RAMEN noodles on the bottom of the page and eliminate those Chef BOY-AR-DEE cans of stuff on your pantry shelves.


1 large onion chopped 
1 pound extra-lean ground beef 
1 clove garlic, minced 
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper   
Note: •  1/4 tsp. = Hot    ••  1/2 tsp. Even hotter   ••• 3/4 tsp. = Hell, fire and brimstone

1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa 
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce , or I used stewed tomatoes in a blender (sweet)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 
1 tablespoon cider vinegar, I used basalmic, richer
1/2 cup water 

In a large frying pan or 5 quart saucier, medium heat, add the onion, ground beef, garlic, and chili powder until ground beef is slightly cooked. Add allspice, cinnamon, cumin, more salt to taste, unsweetened cocoa, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar, and water.  

Add the cayenne pepper last (Warning) cayenne pepper powder is hot, very hot and small amounts go a long way. You can add heat to a dish but you can't remove it, so no hero's are needed here. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 1 1/2 hours. Remove from heat and serve over spaghetti or rice.


No-Way Chili:         Dropped in your lap

One-Way Chili:       Straight over Rice 

Two-Way Chili:       Chili served on Spaghetti

Three-Way Chili:    Additionally topped with shredded Cheddar cheese

Four-Way Chili:      Additionally topped with chopped onions

Five-Way Chili:       Additionally topped with kidney bean

Six-Way Chili:         All of the above with Extra Cayenne Pepper and a side of TUM's


So we had a Original Chili-Taco party and all ate till we dropped. Two days later I discovered the leftovers in the fridge. I knew I had to do something with that great Cincinnati Chili flavor that had melded even better after 48 hours.

Instinctively I decided to create something for the forthcoming  College Dorm "'leftovers" section of my book.

I found three medium size red potatoes which I cut and saute'ed into 1/4 inch pieces using the standard three cut culinary method. 

In my favorite skillet,  I added a touch of olive oil, 1/2 cup chicken broth to reconstitute sautéd the onions and the leftover chili after the potatoes had cooked for about 15 minutes. A small half can of stewed tomatoes, prevented it from drying out. I let it marry for about twenty more minutes.  

Then we took soft taco shells and filled them.  Put them in my Panini press for a few seconds and my partner and I ate the whole damn thing for lunch. 

Hmm, carrying this one step further, I am going to do it again with the potatoes, put it in a piecrust and finally melt cheese on top and create a Tomato Cincinnati Shepard's Pie type dish.


4 Bags of Ramen Noodles
1- 16oz. HUNTS Diced Tomatoes
1/2 Can HUNTS Tomato Paste
1 16oz. HORMEL Chili
1 Vidalia Onion
4 Cups Water
Olive oil for sauté 
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon 
Optional:  Sliced Jalopeno with seeds and white pith removed.
Enough salt in the Ramen broth
Pepper to taste. 

In small pan sauté onions, optional Jalopeno or other Peppers you like.  Turn heat to Low-Medium.Add Tomatoes, Tomato Paste and Hormel Chile, marry on low temp.

In larger pot boil the four bags of Ramen Noodles with four cups of water and don’t add the powdered flavoring from the packages.  They suck.

Use Knoor Bouillon with much better flavor.  Thats half the water the 4 packages calls for because we are not making soup, we are literally making Chinese Spaghetti. 


So my buddy and his kid on vacation from the greater Philadelphia area comes over for breakfast and this kid is pickier than a dog with fleas.  Here’s how the conversation went:

ME:   “What can I make you for breakfast” after trying unsuccessfully to get the gameboy out of his hand without breaking a few fingers?

HE:   “Nothing once, nothing twice”, and on the third try, he thought for a while how he would get me, the little smart ass, so he said he’d like a Philly Cheese Sandwich.

ME:    Smart-ass.  He thought I would say no and I was almost content to let him starve. I always let spite win.  It usually doesn’t last that long.  Then he could quietly starve.  

HE:    Till he asked me if I had a coke.   No frickin way, I knew I won.

ME:    OK, I thought for breakfast, I could do that, but not yet,  I had no rolls, I knew bread would not work,  so I did the next best thing and came up with AL’s PHILLY Cheese Steak Breakfast Omelet.  Dorm Acceptable!

I had meat marinating in the fridge in Worcestershire, scallions and Montreal Seasoning.  I pulled out a small cut, I call it the taste cut because while I have a large meat order cooking, I sample from a small cut I use to see how well the process is going.   

I took my Sashimi knife and thin sliced it with added shallots and sauteed it till almost done. (SEE PICTURE)  I scrambled up two eggs, added them to the fray and flipped once. I took the bulk white american cheese and put it in my cheese shredder and cranked it on, put on a lid for two minutes and the cheese melted right in.  

I folded the ends of the omelet and served it and the kid ate the whole damn thing. He loved it. It looked so good I made another for myself and it's a cute variant of steak and eggs especially if you use Cheese-whiz as they do in Philly.

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