Between back-to-back courses, homework and studying marathons, and sleeping, there isn’t a lot of time in a student’s day to prepare food. The only option may seem to be to order takeaway or buy frozen and unhealthy foods, but that gets expensive quickly. Not to mention the obvious negative consequences of an unhealthy diet.
Even though fast food is definitely a time-saver, it comes at a cost. WIth quick dishes you can make at home, you get the best of both worlds: a meal quickly, for less money. With the added bonus of even more vitamins and nutrients than you would find in any fast food!
So, what is a student to do? The answer is simple: learn a handful of tasty, healthy, easy-to-cook recipes that can be made in the spare moments, and can even be stored to eat on another day.
Here are some delicious, simple recipes that can answer the question, “What should I make for dinner tonight?”
Make Some Lemon Rice
Lemon rice is approachable since it takes one of the most basic dishes - rice - and zests it up with flavor. You can even take leftover plain rice you cooked for a different meal and reuse it to make lemon rice! It’s a great technique to keep in your back pocket of cooking knowledge to prevent the rice from spoiling or being wasted.
You will need:
- 2 cups pre-cooked rice
- 1 tsp coriander seeds (ground)
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 3 curry leaves
- 2 green chilis, slit
- 1 inch fresh ginger, chopped or grated
- ½ cup roasted unsalted peanuts
- 1 tsp turmeric
- Lemon juice from 2 lemons
Toast the mustard seeds, curry leaves, and chili in oil. Then, add the ginger and peanuts, and toast it all together. Add the turmeric and turn the burner off. Add the lemon juice, and stir. Then add the rice, coriander powder, and salt to taste. Mix well and serve or save for later.
For an added depth of flavor, roast the coriander seeds before grinding in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
Keep leftover lemon rice in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and enjoy having a ready-made meal. You can even make this rice in bulk and freeze it in a well-sealed container for up to 6 months! This dish tends to taste better as it ages since the spices and lemon juice combine better over time.
Protein Rich: Moong Dal
Though this dish takes about 30 minutes to make, you can spend the time that the dal simmers doing work or other tasks. You can maximize your productivity during the day by using these snippets of time to do things that only take a short time to finish, but never seem to get done. Try stacking household chores together to get all the home economics done at once. Maybe you can do laundry, wash vessels, sweep, or scrub the bath while your food is cooking!
You will need:
- 1 cup mung dal
- 2 cups water or veg broth
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion (diced)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 whole cloves
- Black pepper and chili powder to taste
In a pot, simmer the dal, broth/water, turmeric, chili powder, and salt. Partially cover the pot, and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes or more (to preference). You can add more liquid if needed. While the dal simmers, sautee the onion, cumin seeds, and clove in oil, until the onions become soft. In the last 10 or so minutes of simmering, add this onion mixture and remaining spices to the dal. Adjust spices to taste. Serve alone or with rice.
This dish can also be stored in the refrigerator for a few days and reheated.
When in doubt, make a stir-fry. Stir-fry is perfect because you can use whatever ingredients you like or have and make a delicious meal. The secret is the sauce. Making this dish only uses one pan, which is great when you’re cooking in a student kitchen.
- Red and/or green capsicum
- Protein (ex: tofu or chicken)
- Soya sauce or coconut aminos
- Your choice of spices (ex: garam masala, turmeric, fenugreek, chili powder, black pepper, etc)
Add What You Like! Examples:
Simply heat the oil and the aromatics, and add the onions. When the onions begin to get soft, add other ingredients (starting with the things that take the longest to cook, like potatoes, carrots, and beetroot). Add all ingredients over time, including the spices, and when it is all sauteed then remove from heat. Serve with rice.
Mix it Up With A Samosa Potato Salad
Save time and still find that delicious samosa flavor by skipping the dough and making only the filling! You can serve this aloo samosa filling with a bread of your choice to make it taste a little bit more like a traditional samosa. Enjoy this dish hot or cold, fresh or as leftovers.
You Will Need:
- 2 large potatoes, diced
- 1 onion, chopped
- ½ cup peas
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp crushed chillies
- 1 green chili
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
Add water and potatoes to a pan and bring to a boil for 5-7 minutes, until potatoes are tender. While potatoes are boiling, sautee cumin seeds in oil, followed by onions, then peas, then the remaining dry spices. Add water as needed if the mixture becomes too dry. Drain the potatoes and add to the sautee, followed by the fresh chilies. Mix all together well, ensuring the potatoes become a little bit toasted, before removing from heat. Serve topped with coriander.
Healthy Easy Oven Roasted Veggies & More
One of the easiest things to do is roast vegetables: you simply chop the veggies into pieces, coat them with oil and spice, and bake! The makes a great and easy side or main dish. And the best part is that, like stir-fry, you get to choose what you like and leave out what you don’t like. And you can mix it up as you see fit for your tastes!
You Will Need:
- 2-3 tbsp oil
- Spices (You choose! Good options are turmeric, black pepper, cumin, ground coriander, fenugreek, paprika, chili powder, and ginger powder)
- Veggies & more (You choose again! Good options are potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, green beans, chickpeas, onions, capsicum, beetroot, and eggplant)
Preheat the oven to 210 degrees C. Chop the veggies into shapes you like (ex: diced, slices, fries). Toss them in a bowl with your oil and spices, stir and toss well to make sure every piece is coated with the oil and spices. Lay the veggies & more on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, foil, or silicone baking sheet. Bake for 30-60 minutes, depending on how much you are baking! Check at 30 minutes and then every 15 minutes afterward to make sure the veggies do not burn. Take them out when everything is tender to your liking. Serve alone, over rice, or with a bread of your choice.
Learn Even More with Cooking Classes Near You
You’ve learned a bit about cooking here, but did you know you can learn even more with a personal online teacher? With online cooking lessons for students, you can arm yourself with even more knowledge about the best recipes for busy students.
Find a teacher who is right for you and learn exciting new recipes in the comfort of your own kitchen. Develop culinary skills, valuable life skills, and more that you can use in all areas of your life, not just cooking!
With an increase in the number of online teaching platforms in India, it has become extremely easy for students to find cooking classes online. These platforms not only help in finding the ideal teacher for you, but also help you in decide which teacher would help you understand the recipes. Eating healthy has become an essential aspect of our lifestyle, therefore it is extremely essential that you utilize the services of these teaching platforms to find your perfect teacher. One such platform is Superprof India, the platform has more than 10,000 teachers teaching cooking, from continental to Italian, anything and everything can be learned using this platform for learners.
Enjoy your cooking and know you are helping yourself stay healthy and foster self-confidence. Bon appetit!
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