Even during these uncertain times, college students are busy studying and taking exams. The difference is that they are forced to do so from their homes instead of a lecture hall and library. I know first hand how trying these times are for college students as my husband attends chiropractic school online while trying to work and help take care of our three-year-old. It’s not easy, that’s for sure. So what are some easy dishes for students to make that won’t take up too much time but also won’t pack on the pounds?
Easy Dinner Ideas for college students: Roasted Vegetable Pasta
- 4 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces*
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ teaspoon herbes de Provence
- Leaves from 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 16 ounces penne pasta
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ½ cup fresh basil, more for garnish
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Pinches of red pepper flakes
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Place the carrots and onions on the first sheet and the zucchini and tomatoes on the other. Drizzle both sheets of vegetables with olive oil and generous pinches of salt and pepper. Place the sheet with the carrots and onions in the oven first and roast for 20 to 30 minutes or until the onions are tender and lightly charred, and the carrots are tender and browned. Place the second sheet in and roast for 20 minutes, or until the squash and zucchini are golden brown around the edges, and the tomatoes are lightly bursting. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- In the bottom of a large bowl, combine the 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the sherry vinegar, garlic, herbes de Provence, thyme, ¼ teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Stir in the roasted vegetables.
- Prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the package, cooking until al dente. Drain and transfer the warm pasta to the large bowl with the roasted vegetables and toss to coat.
- Add the feta, basil, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes and gently toss. Season (generously!) to taste with more salt, pepper, and lemon juice, as desired.
- Garnish with more fresh basil and generous drizzles of olive oil.
Honey Garlic Shrimp
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (I use reduced sodium)
- 1 Tablespoon jarred minced garlic or 2 teaspoons fresh*
- optional: 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 lb medium uncooked shrimp, peeled & deveined
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- optional: chopped green onion for garnish
- Whisk the honey, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger (if using) together in a medium bowl.
- Place shrimp in a large zipped-top bag or Tupperware. Pour 1/2 of the marinade mixture on top, give it all a shake or stir, then allow shrimp to marinate in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or for up to 8-12 hours. Cover and refrigerate the rest of the marinade for step 3. (Time-saving tip: while the shrimp is marinating, I steamed broccoli and microwaved some quick brown rice.)
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place shrimp in the skillet. (Discard used marinade.) Cook shrimp on one side until pink– about 45 seconds– then flip shrimp over. Pour in remaining marinade and cook it all until shrimp is cooked through, about 1 minute more.
- Serve shrimp with cooked marinade sauce and a garnish of green onion. The sauce is excellent on brown rice and steamed veggies on the side.