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5 Quick and Easy Meals to Make in College

By July 2, 2024July 8th, 2024News

5 Quick and Easy Meals to Make in College

Finding time to prepare healthy, delicious meals in college can be challenging. Between classes, studying, and maintaining a social life at BYUI, it’s easy to fall back on expensive, unhealthy options. But with a bit of planning and a few simple ingredients, you can whip up easy meals that are both nourishing and satisfying.  

In this guide, we’ll explore some fast, affordable, and tasty recipes that you can make right in your dorm room or apartment in Rexburg, Idaho. Get ready to enhance your culinary skills and fuel your busy college life with minimal stress! 

1. Chicken and Gravy Over Rice

This simple dinner meal is not only tasty and versatile, but it’s also inexpensive. And with a rice cooker and a pressure cooker, you can prep the rice and chicken without much effort or time. Plus, rice and gravy have a long shelf life and chicken can last an entire semester or two in the freezer. We recommend Calrose rice for this meal, but any rice will do. Pop a cup of rice in the rice cooker along with a cup and a tablespoon of water and hit cook. If you don’t have a rice cooker, bring two cups of water to a boil in a saucepan, then stir in two cups of rice and turn the heat down to low and cover. Allow the rice to simmer until soft and the water has absorbed into the rice.

For the chicken, place one boneless chicken breast (frozen or thawed) in a pressure cooker, add a cup of water to the pot, and sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper or a seasoning of your choice. Cook for 15-20 minutes on high (quick or natural release). Carefully remove the chicken and check that it is cooked through. If cooked thoroughly, shred the chicken and top it on your rice. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can bake the chicken in the oven at 450 degrees F for 15-18 minutes until cooked through, or even a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Pour gravy (your choice of canned, jarred, or gravy mix prepared by following the directions on the back of the packet) over rice and shredded chicken and enjoy!

2. Turkey Guac Sandwiches

These simple sandwiches can be enjoyed hot or cold and make for the perfect lunch between classes or dinner at the end of your day! For a twist on your typical lunch meat sandwich, we recommend trying it hot. To do this, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Slice store bought French bread (or alternatively, sub sandwich bread, a large baguette, or two bagels) in half and line with sliced turkey and provolone (or Swiss) cheese. Place on baking sheet and bake at 250 degrees F until cheese is melted and bread is toasted. Carefully remove from oven, spread with mayo and pre-made guacamole (or avocado), add tomato, lettuce, and anything else your heart desires. If preferred cold, prepare the same way without baking. Enjoy!

3. Bean and Cheese Burrito

Burritos are not only filling but cheap, versatile, easy to make, and a staple for many college students. Once you make these delicious burritos at your college dorm or apartment, you’ll never go back to pre-made frozen burritos. Simply heat a can of refried beans in a pot over the stove, or in a bowl in the microwave. Then, fill a tortilla or two with the hot beans, sprinkle with shredded cheese, roll up and enjoy. (Tip: for the perfect burrito roll, tuck in the sides of the tortilla over the filling, then roll from the bottom up.) You can also add a meat of your choice, black beans, and/or rice for a more filling alternative. These easy burritos taste great on their own, but you can bring it to another level with salsa, sour cream, and/or hot sauce.

4. Creamy Tomato Pasta

This creamy tomato pasta meal puts a mouth-watering twist on plain old spaghetti or tomato pasta. Plus, dried pasta and canned or jarred pasta sauce have a long shelf life, which means these ingredients can be your pantry staple. First, bring water to boil in a pot, add pasta of your choice, and cook until tender.

In a second pot, heat heavy cream in a pot over medium heat, let simmer, then add tomato pasta sauce and stir. Once combined, simmer until it reaches the desired heat. If you don’t have heavy cream, you can make it easily with butter and milk. Just melt 1/3 cup of butter in the microwave, then add 2/3 cup of milk and whisk (or pulse in a blender) until combined and the mixture reaches a creamy consistency.

Drain water from the pot with the pasta, then serve creamy tomato sauce over the pasta, sprinkle with Italian seasoning and/or parmesan cheese, and enjoy! For a protein packed meal, pair with chicken. For a healthier or gluten-free alternative, pour creamy tomato sauce over rice.

5. Overnight Oats

Do your mornings look like sleeping past your alarms, running out the door, and stopping to grab a protein bar and a coffee or energy drink on your way to class? As college students, eating a filling breakfast might be the last of your priorities. With overnight oats, you can prepare a tasty breakfast with cheap ingredients the night before so that it’s ready to eat on your way to campus. Fill a jar with a half cup of old-fashioned oats then pour in a half cup of milk and stir until everything is submerged. For added sweetness, add maple syrup and/or a 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Add a few tablespoons of Greek yogurt for added protein or chia seeds for added fiber if desired. Close the jar, shake it, then place in the fridge overnight. The overnight oats are ready to eat in the morning, or you can top them with fruit, cinnamon, or honey. You can even prepare several jars so you’re ready to take on the week ahead. Enjoy!

And there you have it! These easy meal options are perfect for busy college students like you. From the comforting Chicken and Gravy Over Rice to the quick and nutritious Overnight Oats, these recipes can fit into any schedule and satisfy your cravings. The Turkey Guac Sandwiches and Bean and Cheese Burrito are great for those moments when you need something fast and tasty, while the Creamy Tomato Pasta offers a hearty and delicious meal with minimal effort. By incorporating these simple and affordable meals into your routine, you’ll not only save time but also enjoy a variety of flavors and nutrients to fuel your semester.

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