With cooler weather coming, experimentation is reasonable. the salt, NPR's food blog, has a piece by Anne Miller on some things to try. For what its worth I find refrigerating the dough for a day and using a very high quality chocolate chip is important. I using half butter/half shortening for the fat and use pasteurized eggs to sample the dough:-)
This is only a first step beyond simple heating. I've seen some amazing (and healthy) meals prepared in office settings with five minute time budgets. One person, at Stony Brook University, even produced a checkered table cloth, china and wine to add to his lunch experience.
Immersion circulators started at about $1,000 or were generally awful homemade contraptions until recently. Nomiku delivered a well thought-of unit funded by Kickstarter and now they have another project set to deliever an improved and less expensive version. I bit...
I've mentioned Doug Rouch's work with the Urban Food Initiative that makes use of good food that would otherwise be discarded. Here is a paper in JAMA Pediatrics that offers more commentary (outside their paywall)
A study published in PLoS one of the contribution to the diet of American kids from fast food restaurants. The study is large, but has a few flaws that were unavoidable given the data source. The authors point out, even with the flaws, the results may be conservative.
A New Method to Monitor the Contribution of Fast Food Restaurants to the Diets of US Children
Colin D. Rehm , Adam Drewnowski
American adults consume 11.3% of total daily calories from foods and beverages from fast food restaurants. The contribution of different types of fast food restaurants to the diets of US children is unknown.
To estimate the consumption of energy, sodium, added sugars, and solid fats among US children ages 4–19 y by fast food restaurant type.
Analyses used the first 24-h recall for 12,378 children in the 2003–2010 cycles of the nationally representative National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 2003–2010). NHANES data identify foods by location of origin, including stores and fast food restaurants (FFR). A novel custom algorithm divided FFRs into 8 segments and assigned meals and snacks to each. These included burger, pizza, sandwich, Mexican, Asian, fish, and coffee/snack restaurants. The contribution of each restaurant type to intakes of energy and other dietary constituents was then assessed by age group (4–11 y and 12–19 y) and by race/ethnicity.
Store-bought foods and beverages provided 64.8% of energy, 61.9% of sodium, 68.9% of added sugars, and 60.1% of solid fats. FFRs provided 14.1% of energy, 15.9% of sodium, 10.4% of added sugars and 17.9% of solid fats. Among FFR segments, burger restaurants provided 6.2% of total energy, 5.8% of sodium, 6.2% of added sugars, and 7.6% of solid fats. Less energy was provided by pizza (3.3%), sandwich (1.4%), Mexican (1.3%), and chicken restaurants (1.2%). Non-Hispanic black children obtained a greater proportion of their total energy (7.4%), sodium (7.1%), and solid fats (9.5%) from burger restaurants as compared to non-Hispanic white children (6.0% of energy, 5.5% of sodium, and 7.3% of solid fat).
These novel analyses, based on consumption data by fast food market segment, allow public health stakeholders to better monitor the effectiveness of industry efforts to promote healthier menu options.