Melissa Harrison, Boulder chef and former "Top Chef" contestant, says CU students looking to do a bit of their own cooking should have a copy of Julia Child's "The Joy of Cooking" and stock their kitchens with the following items:

1. Can opener

2. Fridge

3. Microwave

4. Toaster oven

5. Frying pan

6. Hot plate

7. Soup pot

8. Kettle or coffee maker

9. Plates, bowls, cups, mug

10. Utensils

11. Mixing bowl

12. Spatula

13. Wooden spoon

14. Vegetable peeler

15. Measuring cups and spoons

16. Small pasta strainer

17. Knife, cutting board

18. Cheese grater

19. Whisk, tongs

20. Bamboo steamer (that can fit into your soup pot or frying pan/sauté pan)

We asked Boulder's Melissa Harrison, who appeared on Season 5 of Bravo's "Top Chef," and "Top Chef: Masters" contestant Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson of Frasca Food and Wine to serve up some fairly simple, but delicious, recipes that aspring University of Colorado cooks can whip up on their own.


Double Stuffed Potatoes with the Works

Source: Melissa Harrison

Ingredients: 2 russet potatoes (make a friend dinner, or, hey, buy two more and double the recipe); 2 slices of bacon; 2 green onions/scallions; 1/4 cup sour cream; 1 cup of your favorite shredded cheese (jack or cheddar recommended); kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Preparation: Place the bacon in the pan and cook over medium to high heat. If the bacon starts to spit some delicious fat, just adjust your heat.

While this is happening, take your potatoes and pierce them with a fork a couple of times each. This will help when steaming them in the microwave.

Place the potatoes in a microwave-safe dish and cook for 12 minutes. Take them out of the microwave and cut them in half, the long way down the middle. Scoop out the delicious, flaky potato filling without harming the skin.

In your mixing bowl, place the filling, sour cream, chopped scallions, half of the shredded cheese and season with salt and pepper. By this time your bacon should be nice and crispy.

Take the warm bacon and chop it up into crumbles and toss it into your potato filling. Always taste your filling -- maybe you want more salt, or add a little spice with some chili flakes.

Now take your potato filling and stuff it back into your skins with a spoon. Place the double stuffed potatoes on the tray that comes with your toaster oven and finish with the rest of your cheese, broil on high until the cheese is melted.

If you do not have a toaster oven, then just place the potatoes in the microwave and cook until the cheese is melted.

If you would like to add more veggies to this dish then I would suggest frozen broccoli or peppers. You can steam them in their bags in the microwave and toss into your potato mixture before you stuff.

These potatoes go great with a beef or chicken chili, or side salad.

Chicken, Spinach and Mushroom Soup

Source: Melissa Harrison

Ingredients: 2 cups of bowtie pasta or elbow macaroni; 3 cups of spinach; 1 cup of button mushrooms, cut into fourths; 1/2 cup of frozen peas; 1 quart of low-sodium chicken broth (Kitchen Basics is a great store-bought brand); 2 chicken breast or four chicken thighs; salt and pepper; grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation: Place the low-sodium chicken broth on the hot plate and warm to a simmer.

While this happening, cut your mushrooms into fourths, then place them into a mixing bowl off to the side. On the same cutting board, carefully cut your chicken into bite-size pieces. Be careful not to let the chicken juices touch any of the food that is about to be cooked and to wash your hands immediately after touching the raw chicken.

Place the chicken in the simmering chicken broth and cook all the way through. Test your chicken after five minutes by pulling out a piece of chicken and cutting it open on your newly washed cutting board.

Once the chicken is ready, take it out of your pot and lace it into a bowl off to the side, because you will need it later.

Toss your pasta into the pot, make sure to read the directions on the back of the pasta bag. It will tell you exactly how long it takes to cook the pasta, when the pasta has three minutes left to cook, toss in the button mushrooms and frozen peas, cook for five minutes and then toss the chicken and spinach in and cook for another three-to-five minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. If you like spicy, chili flakes or your favorite hot sauce go excellent with this soup.

Taste your soup before serving in bowls. A great garnish for this soup is grated Parmesan cheese.

This soup will store up to a week in the fridge.


Source: Melissa Harrison

Ingredients: Corn husks; 3 cups Maseca corn masa mix; 21/2 cups chicken broth (low sodium); 1 cup lard/shortening; 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt; 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; 1 teaspoon cumin

Preparation: Soak the corn husks in warm water until softened; this may take two hours, so before heading off to class that morning, place your tamales in the water.

When the husks are soft, carefully take them out of the warm water and shake off the excess and place on a towel.

The next step is making the masa dough. In a mixing bowl, add the three cups of Maseca, then slowly add in the warm chicken stock and room-temperature lard or shortening. Season with salt, pepper and cumin. Make sure to evenly incorporate all of the ingredients in the mixing bowl.

Now it is time to form the tamales. First pick up a husk and lay it across the palm of your hand, with the small end toward your fingers. Scoop about 1/2 cup of the masa dough with a spoon and smear it on the shuck leaving the top and one side uncovered.

Now, starting on the side with the masa dough, roll the tamale all the way to the edge. When I am making tamales, I use a paintbrush-like motion when smearing the masa dough on the husk.

Now fold the shuck over like a letter you would be stuffing into an envelope. Don't forget to tuck the end piece up. The larger end will be open, which is perfect for standing your tamales upright in your bamboo steamer.

When cooking the tamales, place your soup pot onto your hot plate and inside in it your bamboo steamer, fill them with cold water, just to the edge of the base of the bamboo steamer. You don't want the cold water to touch the tamales. This will help evenly steam the tamales, while cooking.

Place your tamales, filling side up, so they are standing in the steamer, you can steam as many as you can fit standing up at a time. Once the tamales are in the pot, turn on your burner. The tamales will probably take 30 minutes to cook.

As they are cooking, carefully check one of the tamales to see if it is done by pulling it out with your tongs. The filling should be firm and moist and no longer paste consistency. Always taste!

You can fill your tamales with rotisserie chicken, spinach, pork, squash, potatoes, green chilies and so many more delicious veggies and meats. Tamales go great with eggs at breakfast.

You can heat a leftover tamale up in the microwave and eat it while walking to class. Or enjoy a tamale or two at dinner with some green chile and a rotisserie chicken that you picked up at your local grocery store.

Jazzed-up Campbell's Tomato Soup

Source: Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson

Ingredients: A can of Campbell's Tomato Soup; 1 cup of milk; 1 teaspoon of dried dill, sea salt and pepper

Preparation: On the hot plate, heat the can of soup with one cup of milk, bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of dried dill, sea salt and pepper to season. Served with toast and butter.

Parmesan crisps in the microwave

Source: Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson

Ingredients: Cooking spray; grated parmesan cheese

Preparation: On a small dinner plate, spray lightly with cooking spray, sprinkle one thin layer of grated parmesan cheese on the plate. Microwave till lightly golden (about 30-45 seconds). Remove from plate with spatula or butter knife. Let cool on counter and crumble over arugula salad dressed with fresh lemon juice and olive oil, sea salt and pepper.