It is really hard to eat as healthy as you would like when you are in college. Especially when the dining halls like to serve the same breakfast burritos and fried chicken every week. A good way to change up the same old boring meals and eat something more nutritious and delicious is to cook your own meal. This semester I am trying to take it upon myself to cook at least one meal a week. That way there is a variety in my diet as well as something I know will be healthy.
Cleveland had its first big winter storm of the season this past weekend and not wanting to walk all the way to the dining hall in the cold (this SoCal girl doesn’t do well in freezing temps) my roommate and I opted to cook for the three day weekend. The meals were really easy to make and were pretty inexpensive.
We had originally wanted to make avocado toast, but our avocados were not ripe yet so we are still waiting on that. Instead, we cooked up some warmed PBJ sandwiches. Which in my opinion is the best way to eat them, and then fried up some bacon, extra crispy. You can also put the bacon in the microwave if you wanted to and add a few extra minutes to the cook time for desired levels of crunch. Adding your desired fruit to your plates brings this to a ‘well-balanced meal’ status. We chose to add raspberries and they were the perfect touch of sweet/savory to our meal.
Stir Fried meals are a favorite of mine because they remind me of home, and while my simple version is never as good as my moms, it still hits the spot after a week of school food. Stir Fry is so simple to make because you can cook everything in the same pan. This was my first time cooking raw chicken alone so ours was a bit… extra well done… because I wanted to avoid any chance of undercooked chicken. I cut chicken tenderloins into thin strips to help it cook better-added salt, pepper, and some garlic herb seasoning I have. (Be sure to cut the chicken and veggies separately to avoid cross-contamination.)
Once the chicken was cooked I added some cut up red peppers and whole cherry tomatoes with a bit of olive oil. Cook until tomatoes are soft and juicy, or whatever desired texture you like your vegetables. I steamed a bag of other veggies in the microwave while this all cooked. To go with this I made a risotto, you could add rice instead or even just a side salad. I happen to love risotto and can eat a whole 4 person serving myself without any other side course. Just be sure you follow the direction for the needed amount of water. I made the mistake my first time thinking you filled the pot like with pasta. Which is not the case here. Cook 15 to 20 minutes and voila your healthy and delicious meal is ready
Pasta is one of my ultimate favorite foods. There are types of pasta for everyone’s unique liking and it is so easy to make. It is a pretty inexpensive meal to make, and when you are just cooking for yourself you will have a lot of pasta left over from the package for extra meals. The first pasta dish I made was spaghetti with meat sauce. To simplify the cooking of this I bought a package of ground beef, browned it in the pan and then added a jar of marinara sauce and topped my pasta with it.
The second pasta dish was a lighter dish. Instead of cooking up an actual sauce I put cut up bacon into a pan with oil, added cherry tomatoes and bell peppers after the bacon browned, and seasoned the whole thing with salt, pepper, and dried basil. Super easy, super healthy and super quick. Add pepperflakes to taste for a bit of heat.
Hope you found this quick meal guide helpful. Let me know if you would like to see more posts about dorm meals, like one on meals you can make in a microwave!
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