Quick, easy recipes that don’t break the bank

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As most of us know, students do not have an abundance of time to spend cooking. School is challenging enough on its own, and oftentimes, healthy eating habits begin to slip.

However, this doesn’t have to be the case. There are inexpensive, quick and easy ways to make nutritional meals. The Dixie Sun News staff tested four different recipes, each requiring less than 10 ingredients, which you can make at home.

“College students often are working, trying to get good grades, and have a social life,” said Debbie Mosher, a college of education adjunct. “Because time is so short, they often eat on the go, skip meals and let junk food get them through their days.”

Kelly Meyers, a junior psychology major from West Jordan, said when she first started college, it was difficult to adjust her eating habits. 

“When I first started school, I found it extremely hard to eat healthy due to not having much time to prepare meals,” Meyers said. “It was much easier to eat out or eat fast meals like frozen pizza.”

During her three years at DSU, Meyers realized it was actually cheaper to buy groceries and cook her own meals, allowing for leftovers as well as healthier options.        

She goes online for most of her recipes, and three of the four following recipes came from the Internet as well.

Avocado Ramen

 If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Buzzfeed articles, it’s that college-aged people love two things: avocado and ramen. 

A genius food blogger combined both to add flavor and nutrients to an ordinary bowl of Top Ramen. You don’t even need a stove for this one, just microwave and mix.

Simply begin by breaking the uncooked ramen noodles into a bowl. Fill the bowl with water until the noodles are covered and microwave for four minutes. 

When done, the noodles should be cooked. Mix in the included flavor packet, one tablespoon of vegetable oil, half an avocado, and squeeze in half a lime. Mix it all together, and it’s complete.

Avocados are full of health benefits. According to Medical News Today, avocados are a great source of vitamins C, E, K and B-6, as well as potassium and omega-3 fatty acids. 

In Natalie Butler’s article, “Is Avocado Good for Diabetes?” it has also been proven that diets including avocado help decrease the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. The creamy fruit can add important nutrients to ramen, which most see as unhealthy.

Mosher said skipping meals and consuming junk food can contribute to poor sleep, inability to concentrate, bad moods and loss of interest in goals.

“Nutritional losses can show up in every part of life,” Mosher said. “The brain depends on good nutrition to function properly. Students will say they can’t afford to eat healthy, but they can’t afford to eat unhealthy for the sake of a few dollars.”

 Breakfast in a Jar

Take a cup of old-fashioned oats, one-third Greek yogurt, half a tablespoon of honey, one-third cup of your favorite fruit, and layer them in a mason jar or any container with a lid.    

Finish by slowly pouring one cup of milk over the other layered ingredients, cover and set in the fridge to sit overnight. The next morning, you can shake, stir or microwave to eat.

This breakfast is very nutritious and filling, Mosher said. The great thing about it is you can prepare it all the night before, stick it in the fridge and have it ready to go the next morning.


Aunt Mackenzie’s Four-Ingredient Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is a quick and filling go-to meal for many students, but the boxed yellow-powder-dyed noodles don’t always cut it. 

For those who desire a better quality dish, there’s the Four-Ingredient 

Macaroni and Cheese, which is a simple recipe for creamy homemade pasta.

Maitlyn Johnson, a sophomore integrated studies major from Woods Cross, learned this recipe from her aunt Mackenzie.

Simply boil macaroni of your choice like macaroni shells or elbow pasta.    

When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add two-thirds quart of heavy whipping cream and about a cup of shredded cheese. Mix it all in, and when the cheese begins to melt into the pot, add the remaining cheese from the bag. Stir one more time until the cheese and cream are incorporated and add salt and pepper to taste.

“It’s so good and easy and lasts a long time,” Johnson said. “And it’s great because I like to add chicken and broccoli along with it to make it a more balanced meal.”

Although she sometimes prefers boxed macaroni and cheese to save time, Johnson admits that it’s nice to make a meal from scratch when you can.

Microwave Mug Pizza

Pizza is another staple of a college student’s diet; however, ordering pizza all the time can not only get expensive, but is also time consuming to order and pick-up. This recipe is one you can make in two minutes with a coffee mug and a microwave.

Simply combine 5 tablespoons of flour, one teaspoon of baking soda, one teaspoon of baking powder, one tablespoon of oil, 2 tablespoons of water and a pinch of salt in a microwavable mug. 

Mix the ingredients together and top it with pizza sauce from a jar, shredded cheese and any other toppings of your choice. Microwave it altogether for two minutes and enjoy.

Making Your Meals Count

Because time is valuable in a college student’s schedule, it is helpful to make dishes that will stretch across a few meals. Not to mention, buying foods that you can make multiple meals from saves you from spending extra money on other ingredients.

“Most of the recipes [online] are for five people, so I was able to have leftovers,” Meyers said. “I save much more money if I cook meals myself. I also feel so much better because I cook stuff that’s pretty healthy.”

Mosher suggests purchasing rotisserie chicken because it can be used in many different ways. You can cut chicken in pieces to fill a sandwich or wrap, heat up the drumsticks to go with your macaroni and cheese, make a chicken Caesar salad, combine the breast with your favorite frozen vegetable, or make chicken nachos.

Mosher said it is important to take care of your health and eat well. When Johnson is able to get the nutrition she needs, she said she can better concentrate and get her homework done.

“Remember you are feeding the only body you will ever have,” Mosher said. “Eat healthy, save money and be more productive and efficient.”