Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Words "Food" and "Experiment" Should Never Be Used Together

Ok friends - We need your help!!

As you may or may not know, Lizzie is off to college in January.  (woo hoo!)  
She is in a position where she will have access to one on-campus meal a day, (she's kind of thinking lunch, since she will be out and about anyway) and then will need to work out her other two meals in her apartment kitchen, and stay within her budget! So we're trying to decide what kinds of dinners she can make every night that are
  1. low cost
  2. quickish
  3. healthy
and we're finding it sort of a tricky combination. 
 Ideas, anyone???

We'll be doing a little food experiment where she'll go to the store next week with a set amount for a week's worth of breakfast and dinner groceries, and see if she can make it work for the week.   Somehow she got convinced that she needs to have a plan before she starts this little undertaking.

Any ideas for meals, or general tips on eating for one?   Help!!  Because the only meal I can think of that fits all the criteria is omelettes, and you can only do that every night for a few, uh, weeks, before that gets really old.


goddessdivine said...

Dude, meal's for one is my area of expertise.

1. Mac & Cheese
2. Pasta Roni
3. Make a batch of spaghetti sauce and freeze it (break off chunks when you want to use it)
4. Fruit smoothies
5. Top Ramin (not my personal fave, but others like it)
6. Grilled cheese sandwich
7. Breakfast food (pankcakes, waffles, french toast, eggs)
8. Chicken Quesadillas

I'll come back if I think of more....
(Hope that helps.)

Becky N. said...

My college stand-by was baked potatoes. Super easy to toss a single one into the microwave, And throw on various toppings. My preference was broccoli (boil a small handful of frozen while the potato nukes), canned chili, shredded cheese and sour cream.

Cherie said...

Ham and Cheese Bagels - Cream cheese on a bagel with a ham slice, and a slice of cheddar - bake at 400 till it melts together.

College is a great time to start using a crock pot. It is a great thing to go in on with roommates. There are so many great crock pot recipes that take minutes to put into the crock pot in the morning and come home to a hot dinner at night. The girls could take turns having a crock pot day during the week. (I'm doing a Crock pot recipe post tomorrow).

Also Taco's and Burrito's or Taco Salad (a little healthier) are a filling and fast option.

In college you can only eat the "crap" food for so long - You need good food and it is not that hard to do.

It is exciting going off to college!

Amy R. Nelson said...

I made a lot of calzones in collage. Rhodes Rolls thawed, then stuffed with whatever cheese/precooked meat/veggies you want. A little tomato sauce is nice in there to. Cook at 350 until golden brown (usually 20-30 minutes depending how how thin you stretched out the dough) I used to make a giant batch of them, then freeze them and eat them like hot pockets.

Norma said...

Everything sounds yummy....I would add soups to the list. Manechevitz makes several different varieties of "tube" soup mix that is $1.25 and will feed two adults with leftovers. Add a salad or sandwich for variety, freeze extras! Also I would add baked sweetpotatoes to the baked potatoe idea up top...they are yummy with just butter or make it extra special with cinnamon&brown sugar and some mini marshmellows. One fills me up and add some chicken on top to go into a food coma! Quesadillas are another easy option as is any "wrap" type meal...salad, tuna, chicken, veggie..of course if she does all this she will be eating more & better than we do at home! good luck!

Sarah said...

Casseroles! Mix em up and freeze the, grab one when you want it. Cheap and easy. I'd also say pasta of all kinds, you can add or takeaway stuff to keep it interesting. Even the old standby of mac-n-cheese previously mentioned can be spiced up in a million ways and pasta is super cheap.

Carrot Jello said...

There's a lot that can be made with refrigerated biscuits.
Pigs in a blanket
Chicken and dumplings
Chicken pot pie
Biscuits and gravy
Mini pizzas
Barbecue beef cups
At one time I contemplated making a refrigerated biscuit cookbook.;)

Carrot Jello said...

er...not so healthy, but in extreme money emergencies, helpful.

Janell said...

Based on prior comments, apparently I was a bit of an odd-ball where undergrad food is concerned.

I really like(d) this book 15-minute Single Gourmet by Paulette Mitchell. There's also a 1996 edition, but it is out of print. It's a lot of tasty, fast, and healthful food.

Downside - you do need to learn to keep a few different ingredients on hand, but that's any pantry.

My experience in college was to every week or every-other week make room in my budget to purchase one bottle of generic-brand spice. It took a bit of patience, but after a few months I built up a nice collection.

Melissa said...

The freezer was my best friend at college! My mom and I baked a turkey and then froze individual serving sizes. That way I could pull it out, nuke it and have good meat (aka- not processed) for a sandwich. And in the long run, it was cheaper than buying packages of sandwich meat. We did the same thing with rice, lasagna, and other casseroles. Cooked one up, let it cool and froze it in individual servings. That way I could pull a couple out and feed my roomies or just one for me! It worked great and it was 1-2 days of cooking (we did do a turkey!) and then weeks of eating :) Good luck!

Loralee and the gang... said...

Yikes! Just thinking out loud here...My son leaves for BYU-ID in a couple weeks, and I haven't even thought about that! I guess the fact that he lived for two years in a 3rd-world country makes me not worry so much about how he's going to feed himself. He is never home for meals anyway, and fixes all his own, so I guess he won't starve.

Loralee and the gang... said...

...but I will defininately pass along all the great ideas here!

LisAway said...

I agree about baked potatoes. They're delicious and you can easily make them fairly nutritious. Also if you know how to make a white sauce you can do cheese sauce for your baked potato, to make nachos with taco meat and tom/green onion/lettuce etc. and for thickening up your potato soup.

I learned so much about cooking with my roommates. We took turns cooking dinner for each other and I'm still making some of the recipes I got from them!

Dave said...

"healthy" means different things to different people. how do you define it, cause that makes a difference :-)

but srsly, I'd consider making dinner my on campus meal. lunches are easier and cheaper to come up with, right?

jjstringham said...

I would agree with Dave on making dinner the on campus meal. It's so much easier to just make and bag a sandwich. Lunch meat and bread cost a lot less than most dinners.

I remember when I was in college my roomies and I would go in together for a really nice Sunday dinner every week though. We would rotate who was in charge of it (mainly based on who's recipe we wanted on that particular Sunday), but we would all contribute costwise and help out in preparation. And it gave us an excuse to invite boys over. :P

Tay said...

College food was always an experiment for me. I remember eating a lot of apples, cereal, sandwiches and chicken in many forms. And a lot of pancakes. Once I was engaged I was more diverse. As well as when I was in a dinner group and i'd only have to cook dinner once every two weeks.

Lee said...

I would agree with Dave and make dinner my on campus meal. Lunch is much easier and cheaper to throw together a sandwich or something and on campus dinner will give her a full belly before a night of studying or whatever.

Catherine said...

Oooohh! I have fond memories of my college-cooking days. I learned through much trial and error that some food combinations just aren't palatable...even if your mom has been cooking them forever.

There were 6 of us girls my freshman year, and we each took a night to cook and then worked together for Sunday. That way, we only cooked once a week and were able to make a full meal. It worked out great that year!

For single servings, I like pasta a lot--spaghetti, alfredo, primavera. Lots of possibilities. I also really like stir-fry. It's fast, healthy, and you can customize.

I learned to budget and plan a menu in college--valuable skills I've used ever since.

Barbaloot said...

Cereal. It's designed for college kids to live off of. Plus, there's milk involved so she gets all that good stuff, too.

Anonymous said...

get her a small George Foreman grill - you can cook anything on it in minutes and it tastes great. chicken tenders with a bit of lemon pepper take 5 minutes! you can also grill veggies and pineapple on it. mine also has removable plates so i can make waffles. the grill comes with a small cookbook full of simple, healthy recipes, too. i love mine!

mormonhermitmom said...

Cold cereal gets a bit spendy. Try a bulk bag of oatmeal (we used to get ours at Winco until we moved to where there is no Winco). One cup of oats (regular) and one cup of water, with a tsp. to a tbs of sugar and frozen blueberries, nuke for 2 minutes and add milk. Healthy and cheap. A 25 lb. bag used to last our six member family for a month, so for her it should last for a whole semester. She can change up fruit(peaches, raspberries, blackberries) to put in it to keep from getting bored. And she can always make oatmeal cookies in a pinch. And it's a filler for meatloaf.

Celeste said...

I liked to get those pre-washed bags of salad and grill some frozen chicked on a George Foreman and throw into the salad for a quick chicken salad. Throw in some crutons and various salad dressings for a yummy, healthy lunch/dinner.

Yvonne said...

How exciting for Lizzie-going off to college is such a great adventure.

I think you food experiment at home is a great idea.

The crock pot is a great idea. You can add it to salad and stretch it out throughout the week.

I hope it's a delicious (and healthy ; ) week.

The Atomic Mom said...

Of course she can get cold cereal for breakfast (hey even crazy cereal if she wants!!) Other good breakfast ideas: eggs and toast, oatmeal (a small can is about 2 dollars and the serving size in 1/2 C dry, which ends up being about 1C when cooked. Add a bit of brown sugar and crasins to that = yummy and healthy), seasonal fruit for a fruit salad.

As for dinner-ish suggestions, when I was a college girl, I'd cook for 4 and freeze or save the rest, I didn't mind leftovers. But if and when things are on sale: Campbells/V8 vegatable soups are very good. Also, you can do single servings of chicken breasts/thighs by buying a big package and then wraping each peice in foil, freezing (and putting in a ziplock freezer bag) and then taking out when you need it.

Katie said...

Let's see. The things I've eaten for breakfast and dinner the past few days..

Fruit snacks
Corn Tortillas
Orange juice
Taco Bell

She more than likely shouldn't take my advice ;-)

Beverly @ The Buzz said...

Don't know how healthy it is, but one of my go-to recipes is Chicken Pot Pie. Combine 1 can mixed vegetables (drained), 1 can chicken (drained), and 1 can cream of chicken (or mushroom) soup. Pour into unbaked pie shell and cover with another. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.