Avoid Gross Cafeteria Fare With These Simple, Healthy Dorm Room Alternatives

Cafeteria food: one of the most revolting combinations of words in the English language. Sure, there have been some improvements in recent years but, for the most part, the staples remain the same: pizza, burgers, maybe enchiladas on Wednesdays, and an assortment of other equally artery-clogging entrees. For many hoping to maintain a balanced diet, the salad bar is the only salvation in sight. Enough is enough; it’s time to take matters into your own hands and begin crafting delicious meals yourself. While this may seem difficult in the confines of a dorm, all you really need is a blender, a hot plate, a pot, a skillet and a microwave to create a bounty of recipes. Here’s three recipes to get you on your way, no matter what time of day.

Razzle Dazzle Morning Smoothie

Yields: 2 servings

1 can frozen orange or orange-pineapple juice
1 banana
1 cup raspberries
1 handful spinach (optional)

• Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
• Pour half into a tall glass and refrigerate the rest for that late-afternoon crash.

Fra-Tuna-Ty Melt

Yields: 1 large serving

2 slices sourdough or whole wheat bread
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 slice cheddar
tuna salad (see below)
1-2 leaves Romaine lettuce
2 slices tomato
2 slices onion

Tuna salad:

1 six-ounce can tuna
1/8 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon celery, chopped
1 tablespoon red onion, minced 
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
Lemon juice, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

• Combine the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

For sandwich:
• Place a nonstick skillet on top of a hot plate set to medium heat. Melt the butter and.add both slices of bread, heating until golden on the bottom—about 1-2 minutes. 
• Flip the slices, adding more butter if necessary, and place the cheddar on top of ..one slice of bread, heating another minute, or until the cheese begins to melt.
• Remove the bread slices from skillet and scoop the tuna salad on top of the slice ..with cheese on it.
• Layer the tomato and lettuce on top of the tuna salad and place the other bread ..slice on top. Serve with potato chips and pickle spears.

Easy Peasy Ratatouille with Microwaveable Rice

Yields: 2 servings

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup sweet onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, diced
1 cup ground meat/meatless crumbles (optional)
1 large zucchini or yellow squash, chopped
Salt and pepper
1/2 25-ounce jar of marinara sauce
1 pack microwavable rice

• Place a nonstick skillet on top of a hot plate set to medium heat. Add the oil, garlic, ..onion and ground meat (if using) and heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently ..and reducing heat if necessary.
• Add the chopped zucchini or squash. Season with salt and pepper and cook over ..medium heat for about 5 minutes.
• Stir in the marinara sauce and cook 3-5 more minutes (until vegetables are tender).
• Heat the microwaveable rice according to the instructions on the packet.
• Add the rice to a bowl and pour half the ratatouille on top. Save the rest for leftovers ..or serve it to your roomie if you’re being generous. Feel like a fancy French chef.

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