An Ode To Queso, My First And True Love

An Ode To Queso, My First And True Love

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When I first saw you sitting there I did not know what to expect. Sitting there in you red bowl, in your liquid perfection. I saw everyone dip their chips into you and finally, it was my turn. I dug in the basket until I found the perfect tortilla chip with all three corners still intact. I dipped a small corner into your gooey deliciousness and I was a goner from there.

I finished the rest of the bowl on my own. I was not even ashamed to order some more of you to go along with my quesadilla. That was when I realized I had a problem. I dreamed about you and wondered when the next time I could get more.

I tried you everywhere. Sometimes you were so rich and thick, sometimes thin and liquidly. Sometimes you were white and had a few onions (I'm not even going to mention the bad breath you gave me) and others so sunny and yellow with tomatoes. No matter where I went I just knew I had to have you.

I would pretend to go to the grocery store and eat you in the parking lot. I would rush out of the doors of school just to pick you up and bring you to the park. Sometimes I would even bring fries to our dates. You would get jealous but I would always dip my fries into you to make you feel better.

Sometimes I would get stressed out and gain weight from you, but I was always quick to return to you. Always promising to never do such a thing again. After doing that, at least, a million times, I came up with a solution, I would have you AND the gym.

Never will I be separated from you again. Though we may be on a break right now, I promise you will be back in my hands soon for I am never too far away.

XOXO,

Your Obsessed Admirer

Cover Image Credit: Sweet Peas Kitchen

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11 Pasta Recipes For EVERY Broke College Student

Here's how college students can save time and money on food (maybe not carbs, though).
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As a college student that loves pasta, I’ve learned some creative things to do with it on a restricted budget and with limited resources.

The average price of name brand pasta is anywhere from $0.10 an ounce to $0.25 an ounce. Be sure to look for sales and coupons as this could potentially lead to free pasta.

Pasta may also be cooked in a microwave, making it an easy way to save money and time!

Here are the top 11 pasta recipes that I've created.

Note: Many of these recipes are for an individual serving, but you can easily multiply them for occasions when you need to cook for more than yourself.

1. Five-Minute Sauce

This is one of my favorites due to how simple it is and how it isn't just for pasta!

Ingredients:

1 (6 ounces) can tomato sauce

1 (6 ounces) can tomato paste

¼ tsp. garlic powder

1 tbsp. dried oregano

2 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp. onion powder

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients in a pan and cook until sauce comes to a boil. Remove from heat and then store in a resealable container until ready to use. You could also freeze the sauce in ice cube trays, pop out cubes and place in a plastic bag to continue freezing.

Bonus: For pizza, use about five cubes per large pizza and microwave before spreading.

2. Cheesy Mug Mac

Homemade mac-and-cheese always tastes better than the stuff from a box!

Ingredients:

1/3 cup (1 ounce) pasta

3/4 cup (6 ounces) water, cold

4 tbsp. milk

1/4 tsp. cornstarch

4 tsp. cheddar cheese, grated

Salt and pepper

Instructions:

Add the macaroni and water to a large microwavable mug or bowl – you'll need a large mug as the water will boil up. Microwave for roughly three and a half minutes (timing is based on a 1200W microwave). The pasta should be fully cooked.

Pour out the remaining water. Stir in the milk, cornstarch and shredded cheese and microwave for 60 seconds to create your sauce. Stir well, season with salt and pepper and enjoy.

Notes: Cooking time will vary greatly depending on your microwave and the width and depth of the mug. Always keep a close eye on your mug while in the microwave so it doesn’t overflow or overcook.

3. Microwave Spaghetti

This is a great way to use the five-minute sauce from number one!

Ingredients:

1/4 lb. lean ground beef, cooked

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. garlic flakes

1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning

1/8 tsp. Kosher salt

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1/4 tsp. sugar

Premade five-minute sauce

1/4 cup parmesan

Parsley to taste

2 ounces pasta, cooked

Instructions:

Layer ingredients into a microwavable mug and repeat until the mug is full. Cook on high in a microwave until the cheese is melted.

4. Creamy Chicken Alfredo

Who doesn't love Alfredo? It's basically mac-and-cheese for adults!

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 small can chicken, cooked, do not drain

1/8 tsp. Kosher salt

Black pepper to taste

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp. garlic flakes

2 ounces fettuccini, partially cooked

1/2 cup parmesan

2 ounces cream cheese

Parsley for garnish

Instructions:

Coat mug with olive oil, mix rest of olive oil with rest of ingredients and put into microwave mug. Heat until cheese is melted. Stir and heat until fettuccini is completely done.

5. Buffalo Chicken Pasta

Buffalo chicken + pasta = the perfect combination when you can't decide what to eat.

Ingredients:

1 small can chicken

1/2 c. penne pasta

1/8 c. buffalo wing sauce

1/4 c. chunky blue cheese dressing

Parsley or chives, chopped for garnish

Instructions:

Cook the pasta according to package directions or in a microwave, then drain. While the pasta is cooking, cook the chicken in buffalo wing sauce and blue cheese dressing. Add pasta, mix well, garnish and serve.

6. Mason Jar Pasta

This is an adorable and easy way to take your lunch with you or give a gift to someone! Feel free to try different recipes in the jars.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar dressing

6 grape tomatoes

1/2 cup mozzarella

2 ounces whole grain pasta, cooked

2 cup baby spinach

1 quart-size mason jar

Instructions:

Place ingredients into the mason jar starting with dressing, then tomatoes, mozzarella, pasta and spinach. Place the lid on the jar and close tight. Shake the jar to mix the ingredients and pour into a bowl to eat. This will last 5-7 days in the fridge!

7. Parmesan Prosciutto Pasta

Take a trip to Italy the cheap way with this easy Parmesan Prosciutto Pasta!

Ingredients:

2 ounces cooked elbow pasta

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan, plus more for serving

1 ounces prosciutto

1 cup arugula

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Layer all ingredients in a microwave-safe mug and then cook until the cheese is melted using two-minute intervals. Top with parmesan and enjoy!

8. Italian Bacon Pasta

Bacon, pasta and cheese? Yes, please!

Ingredients:

2 ounces pasta, cooked

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1/8 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 tsp. oil

12 sliced cherry tomatoes

Salt and black pepper to taste

2 slices of bacon, cooked

2 tbsp. feta cheese

2 tbsp. cream cheese

Parmesan cheese for serving

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together then place in a microwavable mug. Heat until the cheese is melted, stirring every minute to prevent scorching.

9. Eggs And Bacon Noodles

Who says you can't have pasta for breakfast?

Ingredients:

1 pack instant ramen, seasoning packet discarded

1 tsp. olive oil

2 slices bacon, chopped into 1/2" pieces

1 tsp. garlic

1 egg

1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp. chopped parsley

Instructions:

Boil noodles according to package instructions. Save 1/4 cup of cooking water to loosen sauce later if needed. Drain noodles and toss with olive oil so they don't stick. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook bacon pieces until brown and crisp.

Add the noodles to the skillet and toss with the bacon until the noodles are coated in the bacon fat. Turn off the heat. Beat eggs with fork and mix them into the pasta with parmesan cheese.

10. Veggie LoMein

Who needs takeout when you can make your own?

Ingredients:

2 ounces angel hair pasta

4 ounces fresh or frozen stir-fry vegetables

1/2 tsp. sesame oil

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 tbsp. sugar

1/8 tsp. lime or lemon juice

1/8 tsp. sriracha sauce (optional)

Instructions:

Microwave the pasta in a microwave-safe bowl and set aside. In a microwave-safe dish, cook the vegetables until thawed or warmed using two-minute intervals. In a bowl, combine your sesame oil, soy sauce, lemon or lime juice, sriracha sauce (if desired) and sugar.

Add more sugar if you like your sauce sweeter, taste sauce and go from there. Add the pasta to the vegetables then pour your sauce over the top. Toss to coat and microwave again for about two minutes.

11. Creamy Asparagus Pasta

This is a great way to use asparagus! Even if it's not your favorite vegetable, the cream makes it amazing!

Ingredients:

½ tsp. olive oil

2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into thin ribbons

2 tbsp. onion flakes

2 tsp. garlic powder

½ lb. asparagus, cut on a bias into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 ounces grated parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. chives

2 ounces rigatoni, cooked

Instructions:

Cook the prosciutto in olive oil until crisp, add onion, garlic and asparagus. Toss and stir frequently until asparagus just starts to turn tender. Add cream and parmesan and cook until cream thickens, stirring often.

Season with salt and pepper and then add rigatoni. Garnish with lemon juice, chives and the remaining parmesan cheese.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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ASU Students Push For A Healthier Dining Hall To Counter 'Freshman 15' Fears

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap.

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Arizona State University students are pushing for change within the downtown Phoenix dining hall as they strive to avoid the infamous freshman 15.

The downtown Phoenix campus offers fewer dining options than the Tempe campus and has a less appetizing dining hall. The freshman 15 is a common scare among students living in the dorms, who are often freshman.

The freshman 15 is defined as a student who gains 15 pounds or more in their first year of college. Studies prove the average freshman does not exercise the right amount, is sleep deprived, has a poor diet, increases their stress level, alcohol consumption, and fatty food intake, which is most likely causing their weight gain.

Lauren Hernandez

Daniella Rudoy, a journalism major and fitness instructor at the SDFC, relived her freshman year as she provided tips for incoming freshman.

"There are a lot of workouts you can do in your dorm room as long as you have access to YouTube or a floor. You can go on a run, a walk, or do exercises that do not require equipment," Rudoy said in support of college fitness.

Rudoy said that mental health, fitness, and nutrition all correlate with one another.

"I follow the saying abs are made in the kitchen. So if you are working out day and night, but eating a giant pizza and chicken wings with a pack of beer when you come home you aren't doing yourself much good," Rudoy said.

Lauren Hernandez

The main cause for weight gain is increased alcohol consumption. 80 percent of college students drink and this includes binge drinking, which is unhealthy for many reasons.

Students who do not drink are most likely gaining weight because of their exposure to an all-you-can-eat dining hall. The downtown Phoenix campus offers a salad bar as their only consistent healthy option for students, therefore students are left eating hamburgers, fries, and pizza.

"I haven't been to the dining hall this semester. Last semester, I went because I had no other options. I am a vegetarian and the dining hall is not accommodating to those with allergies or food restrictions. I find it very difficult to find vegetarian options," Lexi Varrato, a journalism major said.

Lauren Hernandez

Varrato explained that she believes the freshman 15 is "100 percent real" and that incoming freshman should research their meal plans and ask their school how their dietary restrictions will be accommodated before purchasing a non-refundable meal plan.

Megan Tretter, a nursing major at Seattle University emphasized that not every dining hall is like ASU's and that the freshman 15 is "definitely not a problem" at her school.

"I always eat healthy at my dining hall. There are a lot of good and healthy options at Seattle University. I usually go to the smoothie line in the morning, have a salad for lunch, and make myself an acai bowl after work with avocado toast in our floor's kitchen," Tretter said in support of her school's strive for healthy options.

College students across the United States have healthier dining options than ASU, but many colleges still face the same problems that students here are facing.

Tara Shultz, a journalism major at ASU believes she has avoided the "very real" freshman 15 by living at home.

"I believe the freshman 15 targets dorm residence and first-year students who do not live at home as they do not have their parents as a guide and are forced to eat at a dining hall that only serves fatty foods," Shultz emphasized.

Lauren Hernandez

The downtown Phoenix campus offers students access to the SDFC, YMCA, and Taylor Place gym, where students can take group fitness classes, run on a track, play basketball, or swim. Alternative options for students are purchasing a membership at Orangetheory or EOS Fitness.

Most students agreed with journalism major Vanessa Gonzalez that they have little time to work out due to their workload, but many students like Varrato, Tretter, and Rudoy explained that they try to work out every day as it is a stress reliever and it enriches their mental health.

Steve Fiorentino, the owner of Powered Up Nutrition encourages college students to learn what they are putting in their bodies.

"I think it starts with nutrition. Students believe they can outwork a bad diet and I believe that is their number one mistake. My advice is to stop eating fast foods and start eating whole and healthy foods along with supplements," Fiorentino stated.

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap. The campus dining hall is not always the reason to blame as students have the option to decrease their meal plans, become active, and make healthy choices!

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