When I was in college, I really wanted to write a cookbook for college students that was actually full of easy, yet healthy and budget-friendly meals. I still haven't done this, but it is on my long list of random goals that I have. Today I will do the short-form of that and share some easy meals and snacks you can throw together that aren't fast food or overly processed. These are my go-to meals that I throw together frequently.
1. Tater-Tot casserole - OK, this isn't the healthiest thing ever, but when I was college I made it all the time because it was quick, fed a lot of people, and was a crowd-pleaser. Sometimes people would comment that it looks gross, but tastes delicious! All you do is brown a pound of ground beef, add a couple cans of cream of mushroom soup, throw some fresh green beans and corn in the mix, and spread it in a casserole dish. Layer frozen taters on top then bake at 350F for 35 minutes. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top and bake for another 5 min. Quick and easy. The leftovers taste great, too!
2. Avocado-Salsa or "Lazy Guacamole" - This is a great snack to pair with some tortilla chips when you need a little something to munch on between meals. All I do is mash up an avocado and add some salsa. Any salsa you like! The ratio of one ingredient to the other is entirely up to you. It's a truly delicious way to jazz up regular salsa. If you're feeling especially motivated, add some lime and cilantro!
3. Rice, Vegetables, and Meat - I know that doesn't sound fancy, but if you're not in the mood to create a Pinterest-inspired, photo-worthy meal, then this is perfect. I even took a break from writing this post to whip up some rice and roasted asparagus with garlic. I was going to add some grilled chicken, but noticed we didn't have any left. Contrary to popular belief, rice is actually really easy to make without a rice cooker. Just make sure you use a 2:1 ratio of water to rice and add oil or butter to keep it from sticking. I bring the water to a boil, add rice and boil for 5 minutes, then let simmer until water is absorbed. It usually only takes around 20 minutes total. No pictures for this one. We gobbled it up too fast!
4. Chicken-Avocado Wraps - I could eat these all day long. I actually found this simple recipe at Gimme Delicious Food blog. Basically, you grill up your sliced or diced chicken in a pan, add it to a bowl and throw in avocado, cilantro, Mexican-style cheese, and your favorite dressing. I suggest either the roasted garlic or roasted red pepper greek yogurt dressings from Opa brand. So good! Wrap up the mixture in a tortilla and you're good to go. Refrigerate any leftovers for the next day's lunch. It's great hot or cold! You can get creative by adding extras like diced bell pepper or mushrooms.
5. Breakfast for Dinner or "Brinner" - Something we love to make often in our household is a hash brown scramble. We actually make it for dinner more often than breakfast. Grab some dehydrated hash browns in a carton and add boiling water. While that is sitting, brown some ground beef or any other favorite breakfast meat and add bell pepper, mushrooms, onions, etc. Fry up the hash browns and mix with the meat. Scramble or fry up some eggs to mix in or serve on the side. I like to top mine with avocado and salsa (can you tell I love avocado??) while my boyfriend usually adds maple syrup to his. You can find these dehydrated hash browns in the instant potato aisle at the grocery store. Costco also sells them in packs of 8!
Do you have any quick "go-to" recipes you find yourself making again and again? Let me know in the comments!