Comfort food recipes for the coldest and most stressful time of the semester


As the semester quickly comes to a close, it signals the start of papers, projects and exams. How does one survive during this stressful time? The answer is comfort food: the most valuable resource to an end-of-the-semester refuel. Comfort foods are essential in order to survive the last few weeks of the semester, especially after a break when students are scavenging for motivation to finish out the year. 

As the end of the semester calls for lots of time crunches, the easiest way to enjoy something comforting is by creating meals that are quick and convenient. Follow the steps below for two affordable yet unique recipes for everyone's fall comfort food favorites.  

In 20 minutes, you can have every college student’s favorite soup in front of you. Chicken noodle soup is a great dish that you can cook on a cold fall night or if you are feeling under the weather. This dish does not require much time or cooking experience, so do not be afraid to try it.

Ingredients

· 1 tsp, extra-virgin olive oil 

· 2 cloves garlic, minced 

· 1 cup diced onion

· 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into ½-inch pieces 

· 2 celery stalks, diced 

· Kosher salt

· Freshly ground black pepper

· 32 oz. low-sodium chicken stock

· 1 cup egg noodles

· 1/4 cup chopped parsley 

Directions 

1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil and cook garlic, onions and carrots until softened, four to five minutes.

2. Stir in chicken, celery, salt and pepper. Cook for five minutes. Add stock, 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil.

3. Add noodles and cook according to package instructions. Add parsley and serve immediately.

It’s time for dinner and your stomach rumbles. Like a true pasta lover, you decide to make lasagna. 

Lasagna can be easily made with basic ingredients that can be found in every supermarket. It is one of the best comfort foods because it is quick and easy to make, and it only requires a few simple steps. Although you may need to prep ahead, you'll let out a sigh of relief when you make that fresh cut into the layered deliciousness. 

Ingredients

· 1 lb. lasagna noodles

· 2 eggs, lightly whisked (divided)

· 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan

· 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

· 1 onion, chopped

· 3 garlic cloves, minced 

· 1 lb. ground beef

· 2 tbsp. tomato paste 

· (1) 28 oz. crushed tomatoes

· 1/4 tsp. dried oregano

· 3 cups ricotta

· 3 cups shredded mozzarella

· 2 tbsp. chopped Italian parsley 

Directions 

1. In a large pot of boiling water, add lasagna and cook until al dente. Drain water then return the lasagna noodles to the pot. Add one egg and the Parmesan and toss to combine.

2. Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a large pot over medium heat the olive oil. Add onion and cook until tender, about five minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the ground beef, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, and cook until the meat is no longer pink, about six minutes. Drain the fat then return the pot to medium heat and stir in the tomato paste. Cook for one minute, then add the crushed tomatoes and oregano. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta and the remaining egg. Stir to combine.

4. In a large baking dish, spoon a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of the dish. Top with half of the spaghetti noodles, cover with about half of the remaining sauce, half of the ricotta mixture and half of the mozzarella. Repeat once more. Bake until the cheese is melty and the lasagna is warmed through, about 20-30 minutes. Garnish with parsley.

Now that fall is almost over and winter is coming, these two meals provide a nice transition into the cold weather. These two dishes are also a great way to treat yourself while studying for your exams. The combination of yummy comfort food and cooking it with your friends can make the craziness of college feel more like home. 


Elizabeth Leoce

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