Between balancing classes, a social life and work, worrying about what to make for dinner is the last thing on a busy student’s mind. Making healthy and delicious food can seem impossible if you’re just starting out in the kitchen and especially if you’re working with a tight budget. Fortunately, some of the easiest, quickest and most filling recipes you probably already know and love only require a few ingredients.
White flour tortillas
Cheese of choice
Optional: Salsa, hot sauce
Ditch the McDonald’s version and make your own at any time of day in just a few minutes. A pack of small flour tortillas will last for weeks if you keep them in the fridge, and they are a great alternative to bread for sandwiches. Throw a couple tortillas on a pan with a little olive oil to warm them up (skip this step if you're crunched for time) and remove from heat when they start to brown. Prepare a few scrambled eggs with whatever seasonings you prefer, transfer the eggs onto the tortillas and top with your cheese of choice — feta, cheddar or mozzarella are my top picks. If you’re feeling it, add some salsa or hot sauce on top.
1 cup ground coffee beans
4 cups water
Bloomington is blessed with many great coffee shops, but I certainly know how easy it is to rack up a big coffee bill at the end of a stressful week. Making your own cold brew only takes two ingredients and a couple minutes of work. Grind your own or buy some ground coffee beans, and measure them out into a mason jar or pitcher. There’s no consensus on what the perfect coffee to water ratio is, so I go with what’s easiest to remember: one cup coffee to four cups water. Cover the mixture and leave out overnight to steep — anywhere from 12 to 18 hours will give you great cold brew. When it’s ready, filter the grounds out with a fine mesh strainer and pour over ice.
Turkey Cheese Melt
Two slices of bread
Sliced cheese of choice
Yellow or stone-ground mustard
Elevate your lunchtime sandwich by going one step further and making it a melt. Assemble your go-to turkey sandwich with cheese, mustard and bread — for cheese, I recommend pepper jack, cheddar or gouda. Layer the cheese on both sides surrounding the other toppings. Put the whole thing on a heated pan, and, if you have a heavy lid or spatula, press down to compress it all together. Give each side a few minutes to brown, then enjoy a gooey, cheesy turkey sandwich.
Optional: Vegetables such as broccoli or peas
This meal is perfect for when you have a ton of leftover white rice from ordering takeout. Warm up the rice in a large sauté pan and pour a generous amount of soy sauce over it until it has an even brown color, but avoid having excess sauce pooling at the bottom or you’ll have soggy rice. If you have veggies such as broccoli or peas lying around, add them. Otherwise, keep it simple and add two or three eggs to the middle of the pan with the rice forming a circle around them. Quickly scramble and mix in the cooking eggs with the rice.
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