Moving in to your first college apartment is probably one of the most exciting things of your college career. You think of all the pregames you will host, your Pinterest decorated room, and the amazing meals you are going to cook.
The reality is you will probably host a lot of pregames, your room will be messy 90% of the year, and you will live off sandwiches. Sandwiches get old. REAL OLD. In order to stave off food boredom, you need to come up with some easy meal ideas that won’t make you gain the freshman fifteen all over again.
1. Homemade burrito bowl. This meal is inspired by my love for Chipotle, but lack of money to buy it. Start with lean ground turkey and cooking it up with a generic taco-seasoning packet. This makes a ton, so you can have it for a few days. Then add your favorite toppings such as: salsa, lettuce, avocado, sour cream, canned black beans and taco cheese. To lighten this meal up, buy the reduced fat version of taco cheese and sour cream.
2. Filling smoothie. Sometimes we have zero time to sit and eat a meal, but need something to put in our stomach before our next class. In order to make a smoothie that will stick with you, you need to add protein. Using protein powder or Greek yogurt is a great base. Then add frozen fruits such as berries, peaches, mango and pineapple. The frozen fruits are inexpensive and keep your smoothie ice cold. Then add some fresh ingredients like a banana and spinach. Yes, I said spinach. It will add a lot of nutrients to your smoothie and you wont be able to taste it. Finish up the smoothie with almond milk, water or juice and blend until smooth!
3. Comforting pasta. We all have those days where we need comfort food, but want to still eat a little healthy. My solution is to cook up 1 ½ to 2 cups of your favorite pasta. While the pasta is cooking sauté some vegetables with garlic and oil or butter. My favorite combo is a 1 ½ cups of sliced mushrooms and 2 cups of spinach. I cook up the mushrooms first and add the spinach a minute before I put the hot pasta into the frying pan. Then I add a couple of tablespoons of store bought pest and add about ½ cup of the pasta water to thin out the pesto. Mix it all together and you have a very satisfying dinner.
4. Fried eggplant. For the times you want to go meat-free, fried eggplant is a great option. Peel the eggplant and slice into small discs. Think a half a centimeter thick, but it's really up to you. Then dip the eggplant in an egg wash (1 beaten egg with a dash of water or milk and salt and pepper to taste) and dip the eggplant into store bought seasoned breadcrumbs. You will then fry up the eggplant in a frying pan on high heat with olive oil. Make sure you have plenty of oil so they do not stick to the pan. Fry until golden brown and serve with a jarred pasta sauce to dip them in.
5. Omelets. I feel like people forget about omelets. They are high in protein and can be very healthy depending on what you put in them. I like to add chopped red bell pepper, spinach, low fat cheese and serve with a side of Jimmy Dean’s turkey sausage. This is the perfect breakfast for dinner kind of meal.