These recipes originally appear in the August 2022 issue of HomeLife Magazine.
Do more than help decorate dorm rooms.
Come August, I’m on the lookout for my female comrades who might be struggling a bit. I don’t have a sixth sense; I’ve just been there and know what to look for. These friends have a teen heading off to college in a few weeks and a distant sadness around their eyes that says, “How’d we get here already?”
As mothers, I think we instinctively know when it’s time to push through our own pain to the need at hand. For me that salve was preparing our daughter, Elise, for a positive and successful transition into the next stage of life — living on her own on a college campus. Knowing our family would miss her the most in the evenings around the dinner table, my focus naturally turned to her meals while away from home.
I’m not someone with a lot of convictions. However, I do believe what we consume plays a large role in how well we feel and perform. As I learned more about Elise’s nutrition options on campus, I became concerned. Not only were we to prepay for her meals in the cafeteria, but the dining dollars were encouraged to be used at the local eateries and fast-food restaurants. This struck a chord with me as the dining choices weren’t overly healthy, and from a budgetary perspective, it didn’t model what we’d taught — eating out was an exception, not a lifestyle.
Since I wasn’t in a position to buck a well-established university system, I armed Elise with the kitchen tools and recipes to make healthier and more affordable meal choices. Together we researched and purchased university approved small appliances to create a makeshift dorm room kitchen. Better yet, Elise would say her best find was the communal kitchen located on her dorm floor because it allowed her to easily meet new friends who would pop in lured by the aroma of home cooking. Not to go wasted, Elise used her dining dollars for opportunities to occasionally join up with friends at the cafeteria or other local haunts.
These minor adjustments prepared Elise with skills for the real world. She learned to take responsibility for her own health and well-being, which in turn helped her perform better in her studies. Making the shift to prepare many of her own meals taught her great time-management and planning skills, and shopping for her own groceries expose her to price comparing and living within a budget, while stewarding her funds well.
As our teens head off to college this fall, give them wings for a success-filled year and a head start in the form of a care package of non-perishable ingredients and spices. And remember, they still need you (and a little bit of guidance) while they’re learning to fly.
One-Pan Pasta | Makes 4 servings
12 oz. linguine
12 oz. cherry tomatoes (halved)
1 onion (diced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 sprigs basil (torn)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4-1/2 c. water
Salt and pepper
In a deep skillet, combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, basil, oil, salt, and pepper. Pour water over top of ingredients. Bring to a boil and stir constantly with tongs for about nine minutes, or until pasta is al dente and water has nearly evaporated. Season to taste, serve with fresh basil, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese.
Encourage students to cook several servings at a time and save the leftovers. — Tip from Laura
Ramen Stir Fry | Makes 4 servings
Stir Fry Ingredients:
3 packs ramen noodles
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tsp. fresh ginger (minced)
1 c. broccoli (cut into small florets)
1 c. fresh mushrooms
1/2 c. red, yellow, or green pepper (diced)
1/2 c. onion
1 egg (scrambled)
2 scallions (sliced)
1 Tbsp. cilantro (roughly chopped)
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. Hoisin sauce
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. minced ginger
In a deep skillet on high heat, bring six cups of water to a boil. Add and cook noodles for three minutes, then drain and set aside in a large bowl. While noodles are cooking, mince garlic and ginger, then add to a small bowl with the rest of the sauce ingredients, combining well. Prepare the vegetables for cooking. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, then add oil. Heat pan to medium-high adding garlic, ginger, and the rest of the vegetables. Sauté for about one minute. Whip egg in a small bowl, scoot veggies to one side of the pan, and pour whisked egg in the pan. Allow the egg to set a bit, then break apart and mix in with vegetables. Add the noodles, then the sauce. Toss with tongs and garnish with scallions
Taco Tuesday | Makes 4 servings
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. ground beef
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 red pepper (diced)
Small onion (diced)
1-15 oz. can corn (drained)
1-15 oz. fire roasted tomatoes
1-15 oz. can black beans (drained)
1-15 oz. can chicken broth
1 c. cooked white rice
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 c. Colby Jack cheese (grated)
2 scallions (garnish)
1 Tbsp. cilantro (garnish)
Add oil to a deep-dish skillet with lid over medium high heat and brown the beef. Scoot the beef to one side of the pan and sauté garlic, peppers, and onion, until onion is translucent. Drain corn and beans and add to the skillet along with rice,
tomatoes, broth, and seasonings. Turn heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Lift the lid and cover with grated cheese, then replace the lid for two minutes to allow the cheese to melt. Layer with scallions and cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips. May substitute seasonings for one package of taco seasoning.
Purchase storage containers for leftovers to be heated up for a quick meal. — Tip from Laura