On-campus cuisines

Super Simple Parfait. Submitted by Sarah W. Caron for tablespoon.com

Super Simple Parfait. Submitted by Sarah W. Caron for tablespoon.com

Kelli Fitzpatrick

As of March 5, a student with a basic meal plan should have $897.35 left, according to Dining Services. With Spring Break and Easter coming up, you might not be on campus for much of the rest of the Spring semester and will need some crafty ways to make it through that meal plan money.

Jessica Kalar, senior nutrition and food major, has lived on campus for three years, during which time she has come up with creative ways to cook healthy meals.

“I like to take advantage of the basic things I can get on campus,” Kalar said. “I get a wrap full of nothing but grilled chicken and take it back to my dorm to mix it with rice.”

Kalar, who volunteers with Campus Kitchen, said she prefers to make her own meals because food served on campus can be dry or unhealthy. To avoid eating overcooked meat, she requests burgers to not be cooked the usual well-done and uses on-campus ingredients to make meals in her room. Kalar said she uses salad bar ingredients to make spinach and cheese-filled crescent rolls or taco dip.

Sarah Caron, recipe developer and blogger on Sarah’s Cucina Bella, also recommends taking advantage of the salad bar.

“You can gather ingredients for fresh salsa there or pick up veggies for a quick and easy stir-fry,” she said in an email. “You can also grab a couple [of] prepared hard-cooked eggs for egg salad or even deviled eggs for a party.”

When it comes to necessary appliances, Kalar said a crockpot is great for residence hall cooking.

“A crock pot is essential when you live on campus if you want to make something that tastes like it comes from home,” she said. Kalar said she cooks chicken breast and salsa in her crock pot and serves it on tortillas for an easy meal.

Caron said a small food processor is also great for making hummus for half the cost of that bought in the store.

Following is a list of simple and inexpensive recipes made with goods you can find both on campus and off. Leftover spices and herbs will keep for months to use for other meals. Pick your favorite to shake up your dinner-at-the-Hub routine.

Sarah’s recipe tips

• Get creative by combining simple ingredients like cooked rice with your favorite sauce and veggies.

• Stock up on your favorite spices and oils from the market or off-campus to boost foods, “just a few that you love so that you can transform ordinary foods into something delicious.” Try curry powder, cumin or sweet paprika for unexpected zing.

• Save money by making your own dips and clipping coupons for things you buy regularly, like pasta, cereal and sauces from coupons.com, smartsource.com or redplum.com.

• Make easy chili with salad bar ingredients like kidney beans, tomato puree, chicken, onions and peppers.

Jessica’s Recipe Tips

• Add less liquid to a cake mix to make whoopie pies on a sprayed cookie sheet. Bake according to instructions and frost with your favorite icing.

• Quick peanut pad thai: drain the broth from ramen noodles in to a bowl. Mix with peanut butter, hot sauce and orange juice and pour over noodles.

• Use a blender to make healthy smoothies with fruit, yogurt, juice and ice.

• Make a five-minute taco dip with cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, guacamole and olives from salad bars or markets. Refrigerate in a plastic container.

• Take a cooking class to hone your skills!

Oreo Milkshake


On-campus ingredients

Chocolate syrup [$3.19]

Oreos [$5.99]

Quart of milk [$1.89]

Pint of vanilla ice cream [$4.99]

You’ll also need a blender.

1. Make yourself — and a friend or two — a tall glass of chocolatey goodness. Layer bottom of glass with chocolate syrup.

2. Finely chop four Oreo cookies. Quarter some more cookies (about two per serving) and place in blender. Add milk and ice cream and blend until smooth.

3. Pour into syrupy glasses and garnish with chopped cookies.

Aglio e Olio (Garlic Pasta)

Sarah Caron, tablespoon.com

On-campus ingredients, available at Eastway market:

Spaghetti [$2.29]

1/2 cup olive oil [$3.59]

Salt and pepper [$1.99 (or nab some free packets from the Hub)]

Off-campus ingredients, available at Walmart:

10 garlic cloves, minced [$1.48 for a jar of pre-minced]

2/3 cups parsley, chopped [$2.88]

Romano cheese [$2.98]

You’ll also need a cooking pot, skillet

1. Bring pot of water to a boil and stir in pasta. Chop ingredients while waiting for water to boil with pasta.

2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in garlic, stirring until golden brown.

3. Toss garlic oil with pasta and stir in parsley, salt and pepper. Top with cheese and prepare for a night of garlic breath — totally worth it.

On-campus ingredients:

Yoplait Whips raspberry yogurt [$1.20]

Dark chocolate bar [$1]

Off-campus ingredients:

Raspberries $2.98]

A five-minute dessert that’s chocolaty and healthy to boot. Chop the chocolate bar. In a tall glass, pour in half of the yogurt and half of the chocolate. Repeat with the remaining yogurt and chocolate and top with raspberries.

Contact Kelli Fitzpatrick at [email protected].