How To: Cook For a Crazy Week

There are three more weeks left before Thanksgiving break, you’re trying to catch up on reading that you neglected in order to study for mid terms, and still trying to finish that take home you were given a week ago. Class time is actually beginning to get in the way of completing your assignments and you’ve got meetings sprinkled throughout the week. Cooking for yourself is the last thing that you want to add to your to-do list.

Students living in the dorm don’t have to worry because the dining hall will feed them. Once you’ve moved off campus and into your own kitchen, however, you’re on your own. And midterms or not, a student’s gotta eat. Here are some tips for feeding yourself during the craziest week ever.

Plan ahead. You know how our parents always tell us to look at our syllabi and get a head start on work before it all piles up? Well, sure. You should do that, but should doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen. Instead, when you look at all of your syllabi, take note of the weeks that have a high concentration of work. Mark your calendar so you’re well aware of when a crazy week is headed your way. If you know a whirlwind of a week is just ahead, you can use the weekend to stock your kitchen and cook up a bunch of wholesome meals that will last through the week. Seriously, you should do this; then you can tell your parents you did something in advance.

Eat Eggs. Is there anything as simple and wonderful as an egg? They’re one of those things that can be made so many different ways, tailored to any one’s taste, and take very little time. For more of a “dinner-style” egg dish, try making a frittata or an omelet. Don’t know how to make an omelet? Scramble some eggs, toss in some veggies in the pan and sprinkle on some grated cheese once plated. It might not be as pretty or neat, but it sure is yummy.

Stir Fry. It’s delicious, nutritious, and takes about five minutes to make. No joke, this should be a staple in every college kitchen. All it takes is chopping up some veggies (and chicken or tofu or whatever else you like), throwing them into a little olive oil and some soy sauce in a pan, and you’ve got yourself a tasty meal in no time at all. If you need to bulk it up, add some rice noodles or scramble in an egg and leftover rice to make fried rice.

One Pot Wonders. The one-pot meal seems to be this sort of mythic entity among mothers. Not only do these recipes require little attention, but they mean less clean up afterwards. We’re talking about foods like soup, stews, and chili: the kind of stuff that you can just, more or less, throw all the ingredients in a pot and let it simmer. After enjoying a comforting bowl you can either scoop the leftovers into some tupperware or (the more efficient route) just place the whole pot into your fridge – given that it fits of course. These are the kinds of meals that you’ll want to make when you’re procrastinating, before doing studying or doing whatever ridiculous amounts of work you have. That way you can let your dinner cook for a while as you get work done and take a quick study break to eat it. These foods are also spectacular in that you can a lot of it all at once if you so choose and then freeze the leftovers for future busy times.

Chrysanthe is a senior at Smith College who shares an off-campus apartment with her best friend. To unwind, she enjoys long walks, bad television, good beer, and most of all a gin and tonic.

Originally posted on Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

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