14 Easy Meals for Peter and Other College Students

Easy Meals

Readers, this post is for my brother Peter but I’m going to let you listen in. First I have to tell you about this awesome guy. He’s got looks going for him–tall and handsome. He possesses an incredible memory, and likes to go on adventures (he’s currently planning a trip to Germany, plus a year-long backpacking tour of New Zealand). He has a hilarious, dry sense of humor; is artistic with paints, sketches, and interior design; and is much more hip than I ever was at his age.

Peter’s also a college student with his own apartment, and I can’t help but offer my sisterly advice now and again and again. He’s a good sport about it, though, and gives me advice in turn about new music and how to be cool and awesome.

Dear Peter,

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while: share ideas for tasty dishes that you can make in your apartment and that don’t take too much work. These recipes don’t require a full-sized oven, either, just a stove top or toaster oven. I can’t remember if your utilities are included in your rent, but a toaster oven is simpler anyway for one or two people, in addition to using less electricity. None of these recipes involve “processed” or pre-made food, but many are just as quick to throw together as boxed mac & cheese would be. Let me know if any of this is helpful to ya, or what other quick meal ideas you’ve come up with since you got your own place!

Don’t underestimate the role that good, real food plays in your well-being. When you eat right consistently, you will totally notice. You will sleep better, focus more effectively, have more energy, and feel happier. I know all this from experience. Controlling when and what you eat is a HUGE benefit to living in an apartment instead of being in a dorm, but it definitely requires some conscious planning and discipline. Mmmk, so here’s a few of our oft-revisited quick dishes:

1. Omelets

2. Wraps

3. Tuna sandwiches or tuna pasta

4. Green smoothie

This is a great way to get your greens in when you don’t feel like making salad. Eric and I just throw a handful of fresh spinach or other leafy greens into the blender along with yogurt, fruit, and honey.

5. Quiche

You can make quiche without a crust, and just bake it in any baking dish you have on hand.

6. Oatmeal

It’s much more satisfying if topped with honey, berries, chocolate, butter, cinnamon, fruit, nuts, etc.

7. Shrimp & grits

Saute shrimp with butter and spices (like fresh or powdered garlic, ginger, paprika, etc,). Add the shrimp to cooked grits and stir in optional toppings like cheese, green onions, minced garlic, bell peppers, beaten egg (it will cook in the hot grits). Also try this recipe.

8. Split pea soup

Boil half a bag of dry split peas in about 6 cups of water. Skim off the foam that rises to the surface; turn down the heat and let simmer util the peas are soft (an hour or so). To speed up the process, let the peas cook over higher heat, but not so high that the water boils away. When the peas begin to soften, add chopped carrot, chopped kielbasa sausage, chopped or minced garlic, and salt and pepper.

9. Quinoa

A nutritious, versatile “grain.” Serves as a good filler to round out a meal, like rice does. Follow the package instructions to make it on your stovetop, and stir in olive oil, chopped nuts, chopped asparagus, cheese–whatever floats your boat.

10. Fish

Cook in the toaster oven or on the stove top with butter, sea salt, and herbs. It’s ready when the fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.

11. Marinated meat

In a covered glass bowl or dish, marinate chopped chicken, fish, or pork chops in the fridge in soy sauce, honey, garlic, and ginger  for a few hours. Cook in a pan or in the toaster oven.

12. Fish tacos

Put cooked white fish on a flour or corn tortilla and top with shredded lettuce, sour cream, avocado, cheese, etc.

13. Guacamole

Mix a ripe (soft) avocado with salsa, lime juice, and a bit of sour cream. Eat with corn chips or use in a breakfast burrito or on an omelet.

14. Fried rice

Make an over-sized batch with any vegetables or meat you like, and enjoy the leftovers all week!

Hope some of this whets your appetite! I’m so glad we got to visit your home, and we can’t WAIT to have you up to Michigan to stay in ours! Happy eating,

– Elsie

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