Fast, simple snacks for lazy student chefs
There’s nothing like the freedom of college that gets everyone excited for the fall semester. The parties, the sleepless nights and, of course, the campus food. As much as colleges have stepped up their game in recent years, sometimes a home-cooked meal is what we all need after working so hard. Many people find it difficult to cook meals in their residence halls and apartments, whether they have a microwave or a full kitchen. Lots of us feel like we don’t have the time or just do not know what to make. Sometimes it’s just easier to order in, which can harm our health and wallets. With no-brainer recipes for when you just need something quick and easy, there’s no need for fancy equipment or expensive foods from Trader Joe’s. These are especially great for when you’re sick of the dining hall food but can’t afford to eat out again. Let the convenience surprise you.
The Back to School Sandwich
A fond childhood memory many of us have is the days when your parent would pack a sandwich, a snack and a Capri-Sun into your Spongebob lunchbox. This quick sandwich was perfect for busy parents with picky kids. All of us know how to make this basic essential, and it can easily be made gourmet with different fruit spreads and nut butters, like this fancified version. All you need is a jar of almond butter, 2 slices of your choice of bread (we suggest sourdough, country white or Tuscan wheat) and a jar of mixed berry fruit preserves.
PBJ Hacks: spread nut butter on both slices of bread for a filling sandwich that won't get soggy from the jam. For the same treat on a cold day, spread butter on each side of the bread and grill the sandwich the same way you would a grilled cheese for ooey gooey deliciousness.
The Microwavable Mac and Cheese
Nothing is better than something quick but also delicious. Almost every residence hall on campus has a microwave, which means the possibility for mac and cheese is endless. If you’re turned off by super-processed Kraft mac and cheese microwavable cups, there are other ways to make this simple, but filling meal. To spice it up and add more flavor, consider mixing in non-perishables like jarred basil pesto, sriracha or a little bit of barbeque sauce.
Elbow macaroni pasta
Shredded cheese of choice
In a microwave mug or bowl, put 1/3 cup of elbow macaroni and 1/3 cup of water. Microwave for 6 minutes, stirring as it goes. The pasta should be cooked and there will be a tiny bit of thick pasta water in the bottom. Add 1/3 cup of shredded cheese and return to microwave for 30-45 seconds. Stir well, add a splash of milk and stir until thick and creamy.
The Cozy Soup
Soup is sometimes intimidating because of the time and ingredients it takes to cook. If you are willing to spend a little more time on a healthier meal, consider the perfect fall soup. Pasta Fagioli is a heavy soup and is on rotation in every house during the colder months. Because of its delicious flavor and jam-packed goodness, it’s a dish that is fit for a college student.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound spicy (or sweet) Italian sausage (optional)
1 onion finely chopped
2 carrots peeled and finely chopped
2 ribs celery finely chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
Freshly ground black pepper
2 15-ounce cans beans
1 15-ounce can dice tomatoes
1 32-ounce box chicken broth
2 sprigs of rosemary leaves finely chopped
1 1/2 cups ditalini pasta (or other small shape)
Freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish
Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
In a large, deep pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add sausage and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in onion, carrots and celery and cook until slightly softened, approximately 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper, then add in beans (with their liquid), diced tomatoes, chicken broth and rosemary. Bring to a boil, then stir in ditalini. Reduce heat to medium and cook until pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve in bowls garnished with Parmesan and parsley.