Finding time to cook real, tasty food in college can be really difficult. Between heavy course loads and extracurricular activities it is often tempting to resort to fast food which can be unhealthy and expensive. Fortunately, there are tons of apps that help students embrace their inner chefs. Here is the best of the best.
BigOven – This app has a recipe for literally anything you could be hungry for, with over 350,000 recipes. It also includes a menu planner, grocery list, and a place to save your favorite tried recipes. The recipes are divided by season, holiday, course, diet etc. making it super easy to find exactly what you are looking for. As an added bonus, this one is completely free.
2. Allrecipes Dinner Spinner – One cool thing about this app is that it lets you know which ingredients are on sale in stores near you. It also makes it even easier to learn new recipes, because there is over 1000 step-by-step videos. You can search for specific recipes, but you can also utilize the “Dinner Spinner” when you are looking for something more out there. You give your phone a shake and it chooses a dish type, an ingredient and a cooking time, then gives you matching recipes. This app is also free.
3. Epicurious – Epicurious is well-known as one of the best cooking resources out there and their app is no different. The app generates grocery lists ans has a seasonal section to help with healthier and more local cooking. Epicurious pulls recipes from a lot of different websites so there are over 100,000 recipes. Plus every recipe is rated by other users on a four fork and “would cook again” scale, so you know when you’ve found a good one.
4. Yummly – Yummly has tons of search filters so you do not waste any time weeding out ones that do not fit your needs. This app is a great curator, it pulls recipes from Allrecipes, Epicurious, Food52 and popular food blogs. It also has an ingredient scanner, so if you find a cool new ingredient on sale, but do not know what to cook with it, you can scan the item and it will suggest recipes.
5. Kitchen Stories – This app adds new recipes every week and each episode comes with HQ pictures, how-to videos, step-by-step instructions, downloadable grocery lists and even a list of wine pairings for the 21+ crowd. As always, the app is free!
As a college student who takes 16 credit hours, is the Editor-in-Chief of a campus publication, a blogs editor for another campus publication, an editorial intern for a local newspaper and finally, a supervisor at a local fast-food restaurant who works anywhere from 20 to 30 plus hours a week, I don’t have a lot of time for anything in between all of that. This means that I’m typically eating on the go, which also means that any sort of produce that I may have will spoil before I can sit down and eat it.
Bananas for example. Bananas! I’m not a huge banana fan but they’re a great and quick source of potassium, especially for someone on-the-go like me. My only problem with bananas is that I don’t want to eat them for every meal, and so when I put off eating them, eventually they go bad.
An even better example of something that will spoil before I can finish it is milk. For the first month of living on my own this semester, any carton of milk I would buy, even the smaller ones, would spoil before I could use it all. So I’ve stopped buying milk.
So what’s a busy college student to do? Resort to non-perishables, that’s what! But what kind of foods are good for a balanced diet?
Maintaining a balanced diet while only eating non-perishables is difficult, but I think I’ve finally figured out a good system. So, without further ado, here are five non-perishable foods in no particular order that give you variety as well as nutrition while you try to survive your busy college lifestyle.
1. Ramen Yeah, you expected this, didn’t you? Well it’s not exactly healthy to eat a lot of ramen, it’s cheap and not incredibly god-awful for you. You’ll never have to worry about a sodium deficiency!
In all honestly, though, keeping ramen around is a smart move. Make sure your spice collection has a little variety in it, that way you can add some different flavors to your ramen from time to time (hint: cayenne powder is amazing if you like your food spicy).
Also try adding veggies when you have them! That will give your ramen some nutritional value.
2. Instant Rice It’s essential that you load up on instant rice packages, especially when they cost a dollar or less! Rice will satisfy your hunger and fill you up so fast that you won’t need to eat for a while (unless you have the munchies).
You can find a lot of variety in these cheap suckers. I suggest trying Knorr’s Fiesta Sides.
3. Canned Food
Well it can’t get any broader than this, can it? Whether you’re in love with Campbell’s tomato soup or enjoy eating a lot of corn, canned food is the way to go. You can stock up on the canned veggies and fruits that will add some nutrition to your diet but also enjoy treats such as Chef Boyardee ravioli!
4. Instant Oatmeal
This might not satisfy the taste buds of some picky eaters, but it’s worth a shot. You can find a lot oatmeal with dried fruits already in the mix that will add some flavor to it, such as Quaker Instant Oatmeal.
Even though potatoes are technically perishables, they last a really long time. It often depends on the temperature and area where they are stored, but potatoes can last up to three months if kept in cooler, darker areas.
While it may be easy to find gifts for the trend-setters, the adventurers, and the tech-savvy individuals, what can you get that the chefs and hosts don’t already have stored away in their kitchens? With a quick stroll down Court Street, it is easy to find the perfect gift for the beloved foodies in your life.
Live Healthy Appalachia is a non-profit organization that is actively working towards promoting a healthy lifestyle to the Athens and surrounding communities. They offer programs to children and adults on how to shop for healthier foods, get active, cook more nutritious meals, and more.
Live Healthy Appalachia’s mission is “to improve the health and wellbeing in the Appalachian Region through education, outreach, and advocacy emphasizing nutrition and other lifestyle choices.”
One major program that Live Healthy Appalachia is a part of is the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP). It is a nine week program dedicated to creating and sustaining healthy lifestyle changes. It can normalize blood sugar, lower cholesterol and BMI, help one lose weight, and many more positive changes. CHIP is not unique to only the Athens area; it is a worldwide campaign to promote healthy lifestyles.
A CHIP class is scheduled for February 4, 2016 and will continue to be held every Tuesday and Thursday in Baker Center. An information session is scheduled for January 12, 2016 in Baker Center, room 231 from 12:10-1:10 PM.
If the nine week program is too much of a commitment, there are alternative routes to live a healthier life through the CHIP program. There are various restaurants that sell CHIP approved items and even four Athens restaurants that are fully CHIP approved: Busy Day Market, The Farmacy, Gourmet Your Way, and Lui Lui.
Casa Nueva, Avalanche Pizza, Village Bakery, Fluff Bakery, Chelsea’s Real Food, and many other restaurants in town have CHIP approved options.
You can call 780-856-6100 to ask about booking a nutritious cooking class for your dorm room, class, or community. Live Healthy Appalachia also offers multiple 5Ks for adults and children to get outside and get active. There are grocery shopping tips and programs that are put on at Kroger on how to shop for healthy food on a budget (perfect for us college students!)
Here is a guide that Live Healthy Appalachia put out in regard to restocking your kitchen with better nutritious foods. Since they promote a mostly plant based diet, one of their tips is to have meat as an accent to a dish, not a main course.
Volunteers are needed to keep this organization going. Long-term and short-term volunteer opportunities are available. If you are interested, you can contact Live Healthy Appalachia and get started right away!
In a time where obesity and heart disease are common among American families, Live Healthy Appalachia is pledging to help the Appalachia area of Ohio live longer and better lives.
Cooking in college is hard. Not only are our apartment kitchen appliances older than we are but, we lack the skill and, more importantly, the time to prepare a decent meal for ourselves. Over the past semester I’ve picked up a few tricks on how to feed myself, emphasis on “a few”. Here’s what I can share with you.
Breakfast for Dinner.Cook Time: 10 minutes (maybe less). Needs: eggs, bread, butter, Jane’s Crazy Mixed Up Salt (the greatest seasoning you can put on anything), cooking pan, spatula.
Eggs are simple to cook. With 12 weeks of practice I’ve mastered a flawless over easy egg with the outside perfectly cooked with a runny, warm yolk. If you don’t have strong egg flipping confidence yet, start out with scrambled eggs and work your way up. I promise you, your timing and flipping skills will sharpen with every attempt.
Taco Tuesday.. Thursday.. Friday. Cook Time: 12 minutes. Needs: ground beef, taco seasoning, tortillas, lettuce, sour cream, salsa, etc.
One of my finer dinner dishes is tacos. Although it may seem a little elaborate, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy and enjoyable tacos are. Warm up a cooking pan, unwrap the meat, toss it on the skillet and let it cook! Once the meat is done (make sure it is really done) dress your tacos according to taste.
Grilled Cheese. Cook Time: 7 minutes. Needs: bread, mayonnaise, cheese, extra toppings.
A cold, rainy afternoon accompanied with a warm, overly cheesy, grilled cheese, feeds the soul. Grab two slices of standard white bread, slap on a generous helping of mayonnaise (yes, mayonnaise) because it helps grill the bread far better than butter. Most importantly, don’t stick to standard yellow american cheese. Venture to add provolone, mozzarella, white american or a mixture. If you’re fancy, consider dirtying another pan and warming up some tomato soup.
Garlic Noodles. Cook Time: 12 minutes. Needs: noodles, butter, extra virgin olive oil, garlic salt, sprinkle parmesan cheese.
Boil the water. Cook the noodles. Garnish the freshly cooked noodles with a dollop of butter, a small drop of EVOO, 3 shakes of garlic salt and a hardy helping of parmesan cheese. (I don’t suggest this dish before a night out or a night spent with a significant other. The garlic isn’t a friend.)
Pizza Bagel. Cook Time: 5 minutes. Needs: Half a bagel or a piece of bread, pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, pepperoni.
Pizza is a college staple. But, it can get pricey. I’ve developed my very own personal pan pizza using half of a bagel as crust and topping it as I please. Once the bagel is dressed, pop it in a toaster oven or microwave and your pizza is ready to eat!
After a day full of classes and work and a night of papers and studying ahead, make sure to eat. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Use what you have to throw something together and be proud of your wonderful meals!
It pays to love a cook, especially when all you know how to make is canned soup, spaghetti and hamburgers (kind of).
During the two and a half years that my fiancé Joey and I have been together, he’s always had a knack for creating tasty home dishes. He’s taught me several little tricks to making the simplest of meals a delicious treat. I never would have thought to add vegetables, egg and various spices to ramen without him showing me first.
I’ve watched him go from working fast-food, to serving, to dish-washing to holding a position as a line cook. I’ve watched him return to school to pursue a degree in biblical studies, theology being one of his passions, but it wasn’t until he began cooking for a living that he discovered his true calling (besides being a devout Christian and a great future husband).
The restaurant industry is challenging, and line cooks are certainly not excluded from this truth. It can be difficult, stressful and strenuous work, but it can also be incredibly satisfying.
After working for just shy of two years at the Marietta Brewing Company in Marietta, Ohio, otherwise known as “the brewery” to locals, Joey moved an hour away to live closer to me while I went to school and got a job that would inevitably further his cooking experience and food expertise.
He was hired at Sol Restaurant in Athens, Ohio as a line cook and just after a few months of working there is the lead cook during the dinner hours. His excitement about learning how to make new dishes and foods is strikingly apparent and often carries over into his off-time (he made a killer sauce for Thanksgiving that was very similar to Sol’s “Island Sauce”).
As I pursue a career as a journalist, Joey works hard to improve his cooking skills with the goal of one day becoming a chef and opening a restaurant. But enough gushing from me, it’s time to hear from the turd man himself.
Who taught you how to cook?
I was taught by many people throughout my life and continue to be taught by people at every moment along the way. My dad and uncle were great cooks when I was growing up, and my mom has always been an influence in her light and fresh foods.
When I started cooking at the brewery it was Jason Morgan and Nick Farley who poured themselves into me, continually telling me they saw promise in me and that if I applied myself I could go places in the culinary world. I owe the discovery of my love of cooking to these guys first and foremost. I do continue to learn from everyone I can along the way still.
When did you start cooking for yourself?
I started cooking for myself in junior high with after school snacks being simple things like home fries or nachos. Really simple stuff at that point. It wasn’t until I started working in a kitchen that cooking for myself, but mostly for others, took a spin to the more fun endeavors of raspberry glazed fish tacos and steak fondue.
At what point did you realize that you loved cooking?
The moment I started cooking in a restaurant setting. The high paced work, the attention to detail, even the stress and then the end result being a piece of art that every single person in the world appreciates, resonated with my soul immediately and I knew this is what I loved doing.
That doesn’t mean I don’t get fed up at times though. The bureaucracy and politics of the restaurant world are frustrating and a waste of time personally, but that doesn’t mean everyone around you will try to get into them instead of being the best cook they can.
Who would you say is your biggest influence when it comes to cooking?
Influence? The person I’m cooking for is the biggest influence as I will try to cater to what they love. Inspiration? The two guys that introduced me to this world and had my back from the very beginning.
Sol’s Cuban themed menu is quite different from the pub food sold at the brewery. Was the change from the brewery to Sol drastic?
For the most part the menus are incredibly different. I went from cooking pub styled food where over half the menu is heavily breaded and either baked or fried to cooking with tropical fruits and pan seared fish for a good portion of the dishes. I’ve cooked more fish in two months at Sol than I probably cooked in two years at the brewery.
I wouldn’t say the change is drastic though. At the end of the day cooking is cooking is cooking. In the heat of a dinner rush, you aren’t thinking about ingredients used in a specific dish but instead about getting the food cooked to the correct temperature and consistency to make the dish right. So I guess when it comes to prep it’s two different worlds, but when I’m actually cooking, it is exactly the same.
How has working at Sol expanded your culinary knowledge? What are some major lessons that you’ve learned?
The way it’s expanded my culinary knowledge isn’t even in the major lessons. I’ve learned a lot of cool things about Cuban cuisine, mostly in the realm of smoking meat and the ability to incorporate decadently sweet tropical fruits into almost any dish.
The major lessons I’ve learned from Sol though are management abilities. I’ve actually got a team of people cooking underneath me on any given shift now and that’s a little bit daunting. It’s so daunting that I actually fought the idea that I was in charge until I started getting in trouble for not managing the kitchen during a shift.
I started into this field a very short time ago and now I’m in charge of training more people how to cook. The only thing I can hope is that I have the same effect on someone that Jason and Nick had on me.
Have you decided on what type of food will be sold at the restaurant that you’ll one day open?
I really like your everyday American foods. Burgers, chicken sandwiches, pizza and definitely wings are all fun to make, satisfying and people love them. I’m not really decided on a style of food as much as my dream pushes me to find a way to get the freshest ingredients available. If you make a grilled with fresh and natural ingredients, more people will love it than a frozen New York strip from a major food supplier.
What is your ultimate goal?
My ultimate goal is to use my gifts and talents to bring glory to God. Whether that means I keep cooking for the rest of my life or start working in a different field, I want people to know where my allegiance lies. He’s given me this life and my talents and everything I do is for His glory.
I’m guessing we are all in a food coma right about now and thankful that our awkward family dinner conversations are over.
Now we must make our most important decision: what do we do with all those Thanksgiving leftovers?
Personally, I get sick of eating just turkey and stuffing for a week straight after Thanksgiving. Well, what’s easier than just taking things out of your fridge and mixing them in a bowl to make it even more delicious! It’s time to shake things up to get whole new meals out of our holiday feasts.
1. Pumpkin Bread French Toast
It’s the morning after and all you see in your fridge is the pounds of food that you ate just hours before. A simple breakfast recipe is to take leftover bread and make a simple french toast!
Friendsgiving is a roaring trend. People all over the country reserve a day for a second or maybe third, Thanksgiving celebration.
Janet Smith, Chi Omega House Cook, helps the 160 sorority sisters celebrate their Friendsgiving accordingly by preparing and cooking a full blown Thanksgiving meal a few days before the women leave to return home for their family Thanksgivings.
Cooking on such a large scale can be overwhelming and time consuming. But, Smith is here to give us a few tips on how to make our very own Thanksgiving meal.
Make sure to take the packet out of the neck cavity that has the giblets in it. Don’t bake it in the turkey… It will ruin it.
Bake your turkey in a cooking bag. It will brown nicely and will not dry out.
When the turkey is done, take it out, set it on the counter, cover it with kitchen towels and let it sit and it will carve nicely.
Bake the pies the night before. Makes it easier so you don’t have to wake up as early.
Not able to go home for Thanksgiving, low on cash, or simply wanting to host a quick “friends-giving” before trekking home for the week? No worries, because a delicious, easy and cheap Thanksgiving dinner is well within reach. Between personal experience and the wealth of crafty cooking that is Pinterest, here is a quick guide to a successful college thanksgiving.
The potatoes – Arguably the tastiest part of Thanksgiving dinner, mashed potatoes are also going to be the easiest for a college student. Potatoes are extremely cheap and likely something already in the pantry. In addition, mashed potatoes are a very wing-able recipe, as in one is not really needed. For the perfect mashed potatoes chop the desired amount of potatoes into small cubes (the number will vary depending on how many people need to be served), boil them until they can be pierced with a fork. drain the potatoes, and add them back to the pot. Once they are back in the pot mash them with whatever you have on hand, often a large ladle will do. While mashing add in a few splashes of milk, a tablespoon or two of butter, and a dollop of sour cream for extra creaminess. Mash till their smooth or leave a few chunks in, again, the recipe is completely adaptable to personal tastes.
The turkey – Depending on the group and budget, a full sized turkey is probably unmanageable and unrealistic. Instead, try a thick cut turkey sandwich. For a fancier feel, get it cut fresh from the deli, or get something like Oscar Meyer Carving Board turkey. It will give the feel of sliced-from-the-bird meat without the hours of cooking. Buy a nice crusty bread and layer it up with all the fixings.
Rolls – Nobody has time to make homemade rolls. Take a break and pop your preferred store bought brand into the oven.
Gravy – Again, this will be better done store bought, because without a turkey being cooked in the oven, there will not be any drippings for the base. Luckily, gravy can be bought for about $2.50 a jar and local grocery stores.
Cranberry Sauce – Let’s be real, canned cranberry sauce is a classic and the way it jiggles on the plate is tons of fun, but if you are feeling adventurous this recipe promises to be quick and easy.
Pumpkin pie – The crowning glory of Thanksgiving dinner and also a deceptively easy recipe to make. For a twist on this time honored dessert try making individual pumpkin pies. To make 12 you will need 1 prepared pie crust, 2 eggs, 4 ounces of cream cheese (half a package), 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 can of pumpkin filling, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out the pie crust and cut into mini circles that will fit into cupcake tins. Separate the white from one of the eggs, whisk it and then brush over the pie crusts. Put the yolk from the first egg in a bowl and beat with the remaining egg. Mix softened cream cheese, sugar, pumpkin, vanilla extract and the pumpkin pie spice into the eggs and keep mixing until the mixture is smooth. Spoon the filling into the little pies and bake until golden brown and the filling is firm. Finish with a little whip cream or ice cream and voila, little bitty cups of pumpkin goodness.
Feel free to round out the meal with a big green salad, and extra veggie sides, but these basics will get you a delectable dinner and the praise of all of your guests.
Whether the sun shines down, baking everything to a sweaty crisp, or the first frost of winter blows through the barren tree branches, the Farmers Market in Athens, OH stands strong. The hardworking farmers welcome patrons with friendly smiles and tantalizing samples of crisp produce. For two days each week, you can count on these farmers being set up and ready to go before many people even open their eyes in the morning.
Every Wednesday and Saturday, from 9 a.m. to noon, the Athens Farmers Market thrives. When the chill of December sets in, the event is cut down to a Saturday-only time frame until the weather warms again in April. The fresh produce changes with the season, but the vendors are (for the most part) the same year round.
You can always count on the little old man selling his wife’s delicious pies, complete with cut-out-heart-crust toppings. His favorite is black raspberry, and I agree with him. The filling-to-crust ratio is nothing short of perfection.
“Sometimes, when there are leftovers, she scoops up the extra black raspberry filling into crust, and folds it over. Like a little fried pie! It’s delicious,” he says.
Continuing down the line of vendors, it seems there are endless amounts of fresh produce. With fall fading to winter, baskets overflow with sweet potatoes. Boxes showcase piles of pumpkins and butternut squash, ready for baking into sweet Thanksgiving dishes. The sweet corn of summer is no more. Instead, farmers provide the beautiful Indian corn, fine for popcorn or fall décor.
While the farmers are aplenty, you can also find local bakeries and restaurants selling their products under tarp-covered tents. Artisan breads, warm pizza, and sweet tartelettes are sold by Jackie O’s, Avalanche Pizza, and Z Bakery. These treats don’t disappoint. The sweet almond raspberry tartelette from Z Bakery is the perfect size to enjoy for breakfast while walking down the extensive aisle of fresh foods.
On a lucky day, you can be greeted with any number of free samples. Savory cheeses, vibrant salsas, crisp apples, and bold dips await the leisurely shoppers toting environmentally-friendly bags filled with fresh finds.
“Do you like this garlic dip?” says one farmer. The dip is flavorful atop a crunchy slice of sweet potato. “Here’s the recipe. I made it because I really need to sell more sweet potatoes,” she says. I fall for her sales tactics and buy a basket of sweet potatoes.
Many people receive more samples as they pass the Cantrell Honey table.
“Didn’t you know that redheads get honey straws today?” The vendor’s smile and attitude is sweeter than the honey he hands to me. Oftentimes, there are children at the market, with tiny feet running from parents and tinier fingers clutching tightly to their free honey straws.
At the Market, kindness overflows more than the produce overflows its containers. Warm chitchat fills the quiet morning air. The farmers extend graciousness to shoppers, maintaining a strong relationship and making regulars of the customers. The volume of voices increases as the late-risers bustle in before noon, when the sun is directly overhead and the vendors start folding in their tents and packing away their leftovers.
When leaving the Athens Farmers Market, there is excitement. The excitement of farmers, who leave with a reward for their hard work. The excitement of shoppers, ready to craft meals from the produce made by all of the hands they just shook while buying that produce. The excitement to return within a week, hungry for more.