Saturday, January 7, 2017

Easy Meal Ideas for College Students

Our college student friend Gavin asked if I could send him a list of ideas/recipes for foods he can make for himself. He makes omelettes, so clearly he's up to the task of cooking.
I figured I may as well make a blog post out of it, so he and others can find the list any time.
This is my brainstormed list of things Gavin can make, and links to recipes where I could find them.

1. Quesadillas
Heat a pan over medium to medium high heat. Place a tortilla (corn or flour) in the pan, sprinkle a thin layer of shredded cheese (I like pepper-jack), add cooked meat or cooked veggies on top of the cheese, sprinkle on more cheese and place another tortilla on top.
When cheese is melty on the bottom, use a spatula to carefully turn the quesadilla over and cook until the other layer of cheese is melted.
You can also fold the tortilla over, but you'll want to place your cheese and fillings on only one side of the tortilla if you're doing that.
Make as many of these as you need to in order to fill you up.
Here's a link to a recipe that also includes how to make an easy Mexican flavored chicken to put in your quesadillas: Chicken Soft Tacos and Quesadillas

2. Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Here's a link to my favorite version: My Favorite Grilled Cheese Sandwich

3. Hamburgers
Buy a pound of hamburger (I recommend 85/15 or 90/10 meat to fat ratio ground beef).
Divide it into four equal pieces. Shape each fourth into a ball, and then on a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper, flatten the ball to about a half-inch disc.
Heat a pan over medium-high heat, place a patty or two onto the pan, sprinkle patty with garlic salt and some black pepper.
When burger starts to brown on the edges (about 3-4 minutes), flip it over and cook on the other side until browned.
This one will probably take some practice to get it the way you like it--I mean, you'll go through several patties before you realize how to cook it the way you like it.
Serve on a store-bought burger bun with the toppings you like.
Now, when you buy buns, they usually come in an eight pack. You probably won't use them all before they go bad. You can freeze them, probably only for a couple three months. When you want one, heat it in the microwave on 50% power for about 30-36 seconds.
You should freeze leftover patties. Wrap them in plastic wrap and place in a zip top freezer bag.

4. Meatballs
Buy a bag of frozen meatballs. Heat meatballs in a pan over low heat along with a half a jar or so of jarred pizza sauce (I like Classico). Serve with spaghetti noodles, or make an open face meatball sandwich by cutting some french bread, putting it on a foil-lined baking sheet, placing halved meatballs with sauce over the top, cover with mozzarella cheese, and broil in the oven for about 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Eat with a fork.

5. Chili Colorado Burritos
Recipe is here: Chili Colorado Burritos and use the crock pot option that so many people seem to love.
Leftovers can be put into quesadillas.
Make this if you're having people over and you want to impress them with your cooking skills. The meat can be pricey, so I don't know if you'll really want to do this one.

6. Chili Baked Potatoes
Make your own chili with one of those easy prepared spice packets at the grocery store, or buy a can of chili. Easy, yummy, and relatively inexpensive. Here's a recipe that will tell you how to bake a potato: Chili Baked Potatoes

7. Baked Chicken Thighs
Remove the skin if you want less fat. These chicken thighs are tender,  yummy, and super easy. Chicken thighs are relatively inexpensive. You just put bbq or teriyaki sauce over the chicken in a baking dish, cover, and bake. Recipe is here: Baked Chicken Thighs
Serve with whatever: mashed potatoes, rice, salad... 

8. April's Spaghetti
Noodles, tomato sauce, butter, garlic salt, and Parmesan cheese, if you'd like. Super easy and super tasty. Heavy on the carbs, but you're young--and you were just going to eat ramen noodles anyway, right? Here's the recipe: April's Spaghetti
Add some meatballs if you have 'em in the freezer.

9. Chicken Nachos
If cooking the chicken seems like too much work, buy a rotisserie chicken and heat it up in salsa for a little bit before using it on the nachos. Here's the recipe: Chicken Nachos

10. Easy Baked Pasta
This recipe makes enough to feed two. Easy, cheesy, and tasty. Here's the recipe: Easy Baked Pasta for Two

11. Leftover Steak Tacos
I don't know if college students ever have leftover steak on hand, but if you do, try this recipe: Leftover Steak Tacos

12. Chicken Soft Tacos and Quesadillas
Very few ingredients, not too unhealthy, filling, and yummy. Here's the recipe: Chicken Soft Tacos and Quesadillas

13. Tacos
Just buy one of those Taco Bell Meal Kits and some ground beef, and voila! Dinner!

14. Egg Toast
Basically a soft-boiled egg on toast. You can make this on regular toast, but what's even better is using Jimmy John's bread that you can get day-old for $.50 per loaf. I cut it into individual portions (1/4 of a loaf) and freeze in zip top freezer bags what I don't use that first day. Cheap and yummy. You can even just use the Jimmy John's bread to make your own sandwiches at home. Here's the recipe: Six Minute Egg on Jimmy John's Bread

15. Baked Oatmeal
This is a sweet and satisfying kind of oatmeal--not pasty and gross. This one takes a little more effort, but you'll have leftovers that you can refrigerate or freeze. Here's the recipe: Baked Oatmeal

So there you go. That's what I have for starters. Hopefully this has been helpful for my adopted nephew Gavin.

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