by your same-old student meals? Here's help
By Candace Mabey
October 23, 2006 |
Those familiar with professional cook Emeril
Lagasse have heard the phrase "let's kick it up
a notch!" Well, gourmet cooks aren't the only people
capable of doing so. As a college student, it is a constant
challenge to find time or money to make anything close
to a gourmet meal, but it doesn't take either to add
an extra spice or sauté instead of microwave a simple
dish. It's time to kick it up a notch.
Take spaghetti for example. This
dish is very common around the college apartment, as
pasta is easy to prepare and you can buy marinara sauce
in the bottle thanks to Prego and Ragu. To kick this
dish up a notch try Italian spices and herbs, or making
sauce from scratch. Using tomato puree, oregano, parsley,
onion powder and garlic, a simple marinara sauce can
be thrown together.
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (28 ounce) can tomato puree
2 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon onion powder
Heat oil in a large saucepan over
medium heat. Saute garlic until aromatic and tender.
Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, oregano, parsley,
Romano cheese, Parmesan cheese, bay leaves and onion
powder. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 40
Noodles and sauce are great but meat
or vegetables can be added to make a more complete,
and also tastier meal. Ground beef, sausage, or chicken
are common to add. This is a great place to use the
left over baked chicken from the night before. Adding
cream or even milk creates texture and makes a meal
one step closer to Emeril-style.
1 pound spaghetti
3/4 cup margarine
1 onion, chopped
1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
15 large black olives, halved
1 (4.5 ounce) can sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a large skillet melt 1/2 cup margarine
over medium heat. Stir in onion, chopped tomatoes, and
salt; simmer for 1/2 hour. Meanwhile, in a large pot
with boiling salted water cook pasta until al dente.
Drain. Place cooked spaghetti in the bottom of a greased
9x13 inch baking dish.
In a small saucepan melt 3 tablespoons
of margarine over medium heat. Take off heat and quickly
stir in 3 tablespoons of flour to make a paste. Return
to heat and slowly stir in the milk. Cook on low, stirring
often, until thick. Add heavy cream and continue to
cook until slightly thickened.
Pour simmered tomato mix over top
of spaghetti. Sprinkle on olive halves and mushrooms.
Pour cream sauce on top. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan
cheese. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F (175 degrees
C) oven for 30 minutes.
Before taking the step to kick it
up a notch, some college students must first get in
the groove of making meals.
"I get sick of eating crackers
and cereal. Sometimes making a meal is such a hassle,
I'd rather just not eat anything at all," said Honey
Bunches of Oats lover Amy Flanders.
Cory Hansen, a Registered Dietitian
at the USU Student
Wellness Center, said it is important for students
to eat a complete meal. "Whenever we have a balanced
meal it gives us fullness for the next couple hours.
We can go longer without eating or feeling hungry."
The most critical part of the meal
that is usually left out, Hansen said, are those darn
fruits and vegetables.
It is sometimes a challenge to get
in all the reccomended
fruits and particularly vegetables. But perhaps if they
were prepared a bit differently, veggies would be more
Kira Schmidt, a senior at USU studying
elementary education, said she has a roommate who eats
zucchini regularly. "That girl can't get enough of them!"
she said. Schmidt described a zucchini dish her roommate
eats with tomatoes, yellow squash and onions. Here's
a way to take plain zuchini and kick it up a notch.
3 medium small yellow squash, cubed
3 small zucchini, cubed
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers
1/2 onion, chopped
salt to taste
garlic powder to taste
In a large saucepan, combine squash,
zucchini, tomatoes with chiles, onion, salt and garlic
powder. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce
heat to low and cook until tender-crisp.
If making a meal is too tough for
some college students, then kicking it up a notch might
not work for a tastier meal, but they can still eat
right. Whether a meal is made at home or eaten out,
Hansen said people don't have any excuses not to eat
right. "We can eat a balanced meal anywhere. Just ask
for fruits or vegetables instead of fries."