Dining Hall Hacks

You know there are tons of options in your dining hall. But what if nothing’s catching your eye? Do you miss cooking for yourself? Don’t despair – just look around an all-you-care-to-eat environment - there are tons of ingredients to spark your culinary creativity.

Have fun with potatoes!  Grab a baked potato and double-stuff it with plain yogurt or sour cream, beans, onions, scallions, a pinch of bacon, celery, peppers, top with grated cheese and microwave.  Add roasted potatoes to soups for a heartier meal.  Top a green salad with a scoop of roasted potatoes and a sprinkle of cheese for a filling and healthy entrée.  Check out the vegetarian station for bean and lentil stews that taste great in a baked potato.

Sweet potatoes are fun too!  Get over to the ice cream toppings for nuts, maple syrup, and other toppings to make a great dessert! 

Looking for more sweet treats? A little vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt in a glass of root beer makes a fantastic float. Don’t want to go old school?  Experiment with different flavor combinations.  Make your own fruit crisps.  Cut up a fresh apple, or canned peaches from the salad bar.  Top with granola, honey, nuts and a touch of butter.  Microwave and enjoy.

Turn a soup into a stew with beans, greens, and grains from the salad bar. Add a chicken breast for a complete entrée.   Do the same with pasta.  Toss plain spaghetti or ziti with fresh spinach, diced tomatoes, red onion, green pepper, garbanzo beans and some fresh parmesan.  Add a bit of Alfredo sauce for pasta primavera. 

Make your own quesadillas.  Grap a wrap or tortilla from the deli station along with a slice or two of cheese, and perhaps add some chicken or roasted vegetables.  Add spinach, onion, tomato, and whatever catches your eye at the salad bar.  Microwave or place in a panini press if available. 

Feel like a home-made pizza bagel?  Grab a bagel (or wrap or crusty roll), top with marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella from the salad bar.  Microwave and enjoy!  Feel free to make a veggie pizza too!

Looking for a different hot vegetable than what’s being served?  Check out the salad bar.  Steam those veggies in the microwave with a little bit of hot water or broth. 

My personal favorite?  DIY deviled eggs.  Take a hard boiled egg and peel it if necessary.  Cut in half, mash the yolks with mustard and hot sauce and a touch of mayo. 

Share your dining hall hack ideas and photos on Instagram and be sure to tag mindful_by_sodexo.  Now relax a little and let the chef do the cooking for you.

 

Beth Winthrop, MS, RD, CNSC; National Director for Wellness, Sodexo Campus Services.

 

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