Category Archives: Food

When Dining Hall Food Fails: 3 Easy Recipes For Students!

crappy dining hall food

For all the thousands of dollars that college students around the world pour into their respective schools, it can be quite appalling when the quality of meal hall grub at these institutions barely rank above prison food at times.  The similarities on a numbers level are startlingly similar, as line cooks scarcely making above minimum wage prepare three meals daily for thousands of people, day after uninspiring day.

As such, a certain level of care is missing in its preparation, but you’re a busy and cash strapped student … so what is one to do? Most dormitories and fraternity/sorority houses have basic kitchen facilities located on site, allowing for their occupants that wish to freelance with their food preparation to do so to their heart’s content.

By combining the creative use of cheap(ish) base ingredients, spices and condiments, you can fill your face with culinary creations that stand head and shoulders above the slop that is barely edible down at the meal hall, without costing you too much of your scarce cash reserves (alcohol doesn’t buy itself, after all!)

In this spirit, here are three recipes that will rescue you from the peril of a meal hall travesty in under 30 minutes and at minimal cost to you…

1) Next Level Macaroni And Cheese

OK now … I know what you’re thinking.  MAC & CHEESE?!  How uncreative and depressing!

Don’t despair though young man/woman, as macaroni and cheese dishes are all the rage these days, and with a little thought and creativity, it can become a dish that is truly the comfort food that it was meant to be, instead of a yellowish orange pasta that exists solely to fill a hole in your stomach. The most expensive investment is a bit of cheese (the real stuff), which can be bought in small chunks (buy cheese strings if you have to) to conserve your cash.

Apart from the macaroni itself, get a hold of some milk, butter, garlic powder, onion or shallots, and ritz crackers.  If you’re doing this on the stove top, boil up the pasta, and then in a separate pan, fry up the onions, seasoned with garlic powder, in some of your butter.  Mix together the milk and the rest of the butter according to instructions on the mac and cheese box, adding it to the fried onions.

After the pasta is done, add the shredded cheese to the pasta and stir, integrating it with the pasta.  Top the pasta with the onion/milk/butter mix, top it with crushed ritz crackers and serve!

Macaroni and cheese

2) Pumpkin Spice Hot Oatmeal

Sick and tired of rubbery pancakes?  So are we.  You can take breakfast into your own hands as well, and kick butt in the process!  For this, we’ll invest in some proper oatmeal instead of the overly sugary processed stuff, but everything else is very affordable compared to this crucial ingredient.  Start by heating up your oatmeal and water in the microwave for about two minutes.

After taking it out of the oven, stir in some milk, followed by canned pumpkin puree, a few dashes of cinnamon, and even some pumpkin pie spice for that added kick of fall flavor.  Hey, if it worked for Starbucks, why can’t it work for your breakfast?

oatmeal

3) Super Easy Asian Stir-Fry

Love the convenience of ramen noodles, but shudder at getting 150% of your daily dose of sodium in a single serving?  Toss the flavor packet out and freestyle your own taste experience! Take your ramen brick and soften it up in the usual manner, all while pre-heating a frying pan on the side.  Get an assortment of veggies from the market and chop them up, and get the cheapest cut of your favorite meat from the grocery store and do the same to it.

After the noodles have gone soft, strain’em and throw in the pan with some soy sauce, your veggies and your flesh/tofu.  After 5-10 minutes, you’ll have a much healthier meal than 80% of what your meal hall has to offer.

Ramen noodle stirfry

Do you have any other fast and easy recipes to share? Add them in the comments below!

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