You know there are tons of options in your dining hall. But what if nothing’s catching your eye? Don’t despair! 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.