Tag Archives: cooking

#StudiousSeptember: Meal Prepping

29 Sep

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Bust out your aprons and get ready to start cooking! Whether you relate more to the show Worst Cooks in America or Master Chef, I can guarantee you have the capability to prep your meals for the school week. I know right now, everyone is talking about meal prep to get in shape, but there are many other benefits than that. It saves you time and money during the week.

If you are a full student, like I am, it’s very hard to find time during the week to cook and fast food ends up being the majority of you food intake. Meal prepping eliminates this because on the weekend (I usually prefer Sunday) you can cook all of your lunches for the week and put them in tupperware containers. Like I stated earlier, no matter your skill level, you will be able to do this! Meal prepping doesn’t have to be fancy and you can use your simplest recipes to save money and time.

There are many ways you can start to meal prep, but this is a break down of what I usually do for the week:

Before or on Sunday, I will plan out what I will buy at the grocery store for my lunches. (Even though I usually meal prep for just my lunches, you can use meal prepping for dinner if you have late courses, or for breakfast if you are an early riser) Remember that any meal you can make can be turned into a meal prep recipe, just cook more servings! As a college student, I have to budget constantly, which usually is one of the largest factor that controls what I buy. Along with a strict budget, another thing that controls what I buy for the week depends on my appetite. I sometimes get bored with my food during the week so I like to try to have slight variations. For example, if I cook chicken for the week, I will sometimes put green beans with it for one day and on another I will substitute the green beans for wedged potatoes.

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After a trip to the grocery store, it’s cooking time! Instead of dreading cooking a meal for the week, my boyfriend and I try to make it as fun as possible. We will put on music and make an afternoon of cooking. We will prep all of our ingredients and incorporate new spices, while trying to imitate the lovely Chef Ramsay’s cooking (we’ll also try to do our best Ramsay impressions!). Once we are all done, we will divide the meals into tupperware dishes, place them into the refrigerator, and in the morning grab our meals before we are on our way to work and school. Meal prepping is pretty straight forward and is also very versatile once you start learning how to cook more foods. 

Even though now I would rather cook than go to a fast food place, I was not the biggest cook when I first started college. I was busy with classes and I didn’t know how to make anything other than grilled cheese and the boxed mac and cheese. Cooking was a very daunting and difficult task for me until I started to meal prep. I started by looking up different recipes on Pinterest and All Recipes that were easy and simple to make. After a few months of copying recipes, I started to go off of my judgment of spices and food pairings that I like rather than just what is on the internet. I learned I really love to cook and there is so many different things you can do with meat and veggies. Now, this is one of my favorite times of the week because I am creating something new and learning how to use kitchen appliances that were once foreign objects to me like a cast iron skillet and a wok. Cooking is something I think everyone should at least try because it is fun and has a great reward: an amazing meal! Not only is it yummy, but you feel a sense of accomplishment knowing you are the one who created it!

Below I have provided a few simple recipes for you to try whether you are a veteran in meal prepping or trying it for the first time! Have fun and cook on!

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Meal Prep for Breakfast:

     Mason Jar Oatmeal                                                                          Breakfast Burritos
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Meal Prep for Lunch:

        Mason Jar Salads                                                               Pesto Chicken Sandwich

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Meal Prep for Dinner:

Chicken Fried Rice

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I have attached a recipe for chicken fried rice on the title and the photo I included is what my boyfriend and I made this week! Instead of traditional chicken fried rice, we decided to put our own spin on it. For the veggies, we used green onion, carrots, yellow squash, and sugar snap peas and we put in extra chicken! Even if you start out with a recipe, put your spin on it and include what you like!

Best,
Courtney

 

#StudiousSeptember: A Chef in the Making

6 Oct

Friday night rolled around and I wanted to make something unique for my boyfriend and myself. Although take-out Chinese would’ve been an easier option, I decided to bring out my inner Rachel Ray. I figured that since I basically had every vegetable imaginable, I might as well make the ratatouille recipe my sister raved about. For those of you who don’t know, ratatouille is a delicious and traditional French stewed vegetable dish, which originated in the town Nice. My boyfriend and I have always wanted to try making ratatouille at home ever since we tried it at a cute little French cafe.

The recipe was rather straight forward, and it required: eggplant, yellow squash, red pepper, red potato, green pepper, garlic, onion, tomato, marjoram, basil, salt, and pepper. After all the vegetables were washed and cut, they were glazed with a light layer of extra virgin olive oil. The bake time was around 40 minutes, but it only took a couple minutes to smell the delicious aroma. On the side, I prepared a tomato-based sauce and wild rice for the vegetables to be eaten with. Since I am not a cheese lover, I left out the fresh parmesan cheese.

Overall, the recipe was both delicious and nutritious. It also was a rather cheap dinner since I essentially had all the ingredients in my pantry and refrigerator! Take that Rachel Ray!

– Erica

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#StudiousSeptember: Cheaper, Faster Meals During a Busy Schedule

6 Oct

After checking my bank account, I noticed that I have been spending way too much money on food. This can be attributed to the fact that I am more involved in school, I work, and of course, at this time of the semester, I have been swamped with studying for all of my exams. I’m hardly at home to be able to cook meals for myself and have resorted to takeout or fast food, which is not the healthiest of choices. As a result, I have noticed a change in my energy levels and overall physical health.

My challenge for #StudiousSeptember was to learn another way to prepare meals quicker, and within my budget. A friend suggested that I learn to make meals using a crockpot. All you have to do is prep the ingredients, put it in the pot, and leave it on “low” overnight, or even before leaving for school. This was perfect because it does not require very much attention, and it gives me a chance to finally use the crockpot collecting dust in my cabinet. Also, lately, I have been craving this creamy chicken I had when I had dinner with my roommate’s family, so I decided to look up some recipes online.

I stumbled across this “Creamy Mushroom Italian Chicken” recipe (quite a mouthful, I know!) that had positive reviews, so I  decided to try it out. I’m glad I did because it was delicious!

Ingredients

The ingredients for this recipe called for chicken breast (I chose breast tenders because the meat is moist), sliced mushrooms, a packet of Italian dressing, a can of Cream of Chicken, one pouch of cream cheese, and 1/3 cup of water.
Ingredients in Pot

 

Place the chicken on the bottom of the pot. Mix the Italian dressing with the water. After pouring the dressing mixture over the top of the chicken, the mushrooms can go on the top.

Crockpot Low

 

The setting of the crockpot should be at low. After 3 hours, mix the cream cheese and cream of chicken together before folding it together. Your meal should be done after another 1-3 hours.

Finished Product

Voila. It can be served over rice or noodles.

I definitely encourage you to try out the recipe for yourself. It’s worth trying to find alternative ways to prepare your meals, especially when you are on a college budget. Chick-fil-a and Panda Express can only take you so far and it’s best to keep in mind that a happy body makes you happier when studying. Cheers to #StudiousSeptember!

-Allymyr