For college students, making food at home always seems to be an arduous task. There’s also usually some form of justification to get out of cooking like too much school work, stress, too little time or seemingly being too exhausted.
On top of this, the young adult population seems to not have had as much experience cooking growing up and are trying to put the pieces together now. Specifically for Gen Z, approximately 45 percent said they don’t know how to cook many foods, but 71 percent said they’d like to learn how to cook more, according to a 2018 report from The Hartman Group.
We’re expected to be able to make healthy meals, which usually take a good portion of time, while also trying to complete all our assignments, papers, projects and extracurricular activities.
However, it is possible to make a pretty healthy meal, and not have it take too much time or be overly complicated. The three recipes below might make deciding what you want for dinner a bit easier.
Recipe 1: Tiktok’s Baked Feta Pasta
If you’re on TikTok or Instagram Reels, you’ve probably already heard of this recipe that was popular a couple years ago. Putting a twist on the original, you can have a delicious and nutritious meal in 45 minutes, with little effort.
You’ll need a pot to boil the pasta in, but besides that, you’ll just need a small baking dish for everything else. This recipe yields two servings.
- 1 ½ – 2 Cups whole grain pasta
- 1 Pint cherry or grape tomatoes
- ½ block feta, 4 ounces
- 2 Cups spinach
- 1 shallot, roughly chopped
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 Tablespoon thyme
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- Pinch of salt, pepper and red pepper flakes
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Take your small baking dish and place the tomatoes, shallot and garlic in with one tablespoon of the oil, along with a dash of salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Mix these ingredients together.
- Add in your half a block of feta into the center of the baking dish with the tomatoes. Drizzle the other tablespoon of oil on top of the feta and sprinkle the thyme over all the ingredients.
- Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. However, depending on your oven, the cook time may vary. As long as the feta is golden brown on the top and the tomatoes are bursting, it’s ready.
- While that is in the oven, cook your whole grain pasta to al dente and right before it’s done cooking, submerge your spinach into the water with the pasta. Drain the pasta and spinach, but make sure to reserve half a cup of the pasta water before doing so.
- Lastly, mash the tomatoes and feta together to your liking and mix in the pasta and spinach.
Recipe 2: Sheet Pan Pizza
A staple dish for college students, take-out pizza is great once in a while, but if you’re craving it more often, here’s the recipe for you. This sheet pan pizza packs a lot more nutrients than the average slice and provides an enjoyable cooking experience. This recipe yields six servings, so you may have some leftovers.
- ½ Pound whole wheat pizza dough
- ½ Cup tomato sauce of your choice, low in sodium
- 1 Cup mozzarella cheese, low fat
- 1-2 Cups of veggies of your choosing on top
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Take dough out of the fridge and let sit until it comes up to room temperature. Also, preheat the oven to 500°F. Once the dough is at room temperature, roll it out to approximately 9 inches by 13 inches.
- Next spread two tablespoons of the olive oil onto the pan, and place the dough on top. Drizzle the remaining one tablespoon of oil onto the dough. Then spread the sauce over the dough and place the mozzarella cheese on top. If you have any other veggies you’d like to add, place those on top as well.
- Place the pizza in the oven for 10-12 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when the cheese is gooey and the crust is golden brown.
Recipe #3: Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Chicken and Veggies
If you’re a student athlete, this is the ideal meal to fuel you after practice. However, you certainly don’t need to be a jock to enjoy this meal. Follow along with the video below! In the video I had made three servings, but the recipe below yields two servings.
- 2 chicken breasts, 3-4 ounces each
- ½ Pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 12 medium sized spears of asparagus
- 10 baby gold potatoes, halved
- 2 Tablespoons honey dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 Teaspoon minced garlic
- ⅛ Teaspoon garlic powder and onion powder
- Pinch of cayenne pepper and black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375°F, and cover the sheet pan in aluminum foil.
- Toss halved baby potatoes with one tablespoon of the oil, the minced garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Once the oven is preheated, place potatoes on about a third of the sheet pan and cook for ten minutes.
- Spread two tablespoons of honey dijon mustard over both sides of the two pieces of chicken. After the potatoes have been going for ten minutes, lower the oven temperature to 350°F and place asparagus and chicken onto the pan. Drizzle the asparagus with the other tablespoon of olive oil and top with a pinch of black pepper. Cook for 30 minutes flipping halfway through.
- When you flip the chicken, add the halved tomatoes in. At this point you can also spread one more tablespoon of the honey dijon mustard over the chicken, but this is optional.
- Take out of the oven and enjoy.