Tips for Simple Summer Meals

For the dozens of students who will be living on Pomona’s campus this summer, a major concern is finding food to sustain them through hours of research and other academic activities. Even if you are on the summer meal plan, you still have to survive the weekends without prepared food, so you might already be dreading fumbling around in the kitchen trying to feed yourself. To help you out, we’ve compiled a few simple ideas that won’t take hours in the kitchen, but taste great and will keep you well-nourished.

Eggs

The “incredible edible egg” really is just that amazing. It’s a super cheap-to-make breakfast (lunch and dinner, too) that’s full of protein. Even if you splurge on the organic eggs from the farmers market, it’s only about 50 cents per serving. The other great aspect is that since you can prepare eggs in so many different ways, you won’t get tired of eating them too quickly. My personal favorite is sunny-side-up, but scrambled or over-easy are probably the easier choices. Invest in some kind of skillet or shallow saucepan; it’ll be useful for this and a ton of other recipes you might want to make.

If you want to get really fancy, go for an omelet: throw in some chopped veggies (you can pick them up at the farmers market with your eggs), a few eggs, some milk if you want and stir the whole thing around, stopping to let the eggs set. Come on, you’ve seen the guy at Frank do it a thousand times!

Sandwiches

The last thing I want you to do is get lazy with your sandwiches. Peanut butter and jelly is for OTL trips. Slapping some turkey and American cheese between two pieces of bread is only slightly more acceptable.

Instead, try making a great grilled cheese sandwich. Instead of American, try some sharp cheddar or pepper jack, and don’t forget to include some other ingredients to spice it up. Honey mustard, tomatoes, mushrooms, maybe even Worcestershire sauce—pick some basic ingredients that you won’t get sick of, so you can reuse them in other meals. The only thing left is to butter the outside of the sandwich and grill it (using that skillet you invested in), remembering to flip it at least once.

A cold, lunch meat sandwich is another way to put together a cheap meal. The ingredients are really up to your personal tastes, but just remember: pesto goes well with everything.

Pasta

Speaking of pesto, you had better invest in a really big jar, because cooking pasta and pouring some pesto sauce on it is about the easiest tasty dinner you can make. Another option is to make a cheese sauce—a little more time consuming, but watching gorgonzola melt into liquid in a saucepan can be an amusing pastime.

You could also whip up some kind of stir-fry to go with your pasta. Pour a little vegetable or peanut oil into your pan and toss in some vegetables. You can add salt, pepper, and other spices or oils into the pan to get different tastes, and pour the whole thing over your pasta when it’s cooked enough. Incredibly easy, and incredibly delicious.

Pizza

If you’re willing to put a little extra time and effort into your meal, making a pizza is definitely a rewarding experience. For this, you’re going to need flour, yeast, and a little bit of sugar and salt for the dough. You can look up instructions on how to activate the yeast online; it will take a good amount of time for the dough to rise before you can shape it into a circle or a square (or whatever shape you want, if you’re feeling creative). The fun part, however, is the toppings. Tomato sauce is always a good staple, but if you took my suggestion about the pesto sauce, this would be another great place to use it. The cheese is up to you: mozzarella is the pizza-kitchen standard, but goat cheese can also be delicious. The vegetables, meats, nuts, and fungi that you include on top are most important, so choose wisely. Even better, make a big batch of dough and throw the unused portion in the freezer. Mix up the toppings next time, and you’ll have an even quicker, yet slightly varied meal plan.

Salad

Don’t underestimate the leafy salad, and don’t brush it off because you don’t think it’s worth it to make a “side dish.” With a few chicken strips, a salad can become a meal with a healthy dose of protein. Another delicious alternative is salad with goat cheese, dried cranberries, and balsamic vinaigrette. Invest in a great dressing, and salad can become a great companion to any of these other dishes, as well as a satisfying meal in itself.

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