Mastering Dishes After College

Mastering Dishes After College

Cheryl Nuzum

Post-grad is officially the time in your life you have to consider yourself an adult. It’s scary, a little terrifying, and more than a bit annoying. While it might be a relief, you can finally afford to eat something other than Ramen noodles three nights a week (hopefully), that means you actually have to learn to cook something other than Ramen. Most people in college know the basics: spaghetti, tacos, mac and cheese, grilled cheese, etc.
What about the dishes our parents cook? The classics you forward to every visit home. At some point, we all have to grow up and start thinking of a nice meal as something other than eating out. If that point hasn’t come yet, by graduation it should.
These are a few simple, time-honored recipes that everyone will love and you’ll be proud of yourself for mastering.

Vegetable Soup

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Healthy and flavorful. Perfect for a cold night in, a veggie fix, or just something hot to hit the spot. Plus, you can mix and match the vegetables added to fit your own taste buds.
“I’m not really a big fan of vegetables so it’s kind of weird, but I love eating vegetable soup. My mom has a homemade recipe for it.” Dylan Royal, junior English major
[accordion title=”Ingredients ” close=”1″]1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups of vegetable stock
14 oz diced tomatoes
4 red potatoes
½ cup of chopped baby carrots
½ cup of corn
½ cup of green beans
½ cup of onions
½ cups of peas
Suggested Seasonings: salt, black pepper, basil
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[accordion title=”Directions ” close=”1″]1. Boil potatoes
2. Heat olive oil, adding in chopped carrots and onions. Stir about 3 minutes
3. Dice potatoes
4. Add carrots, onions, and potatoes to large pot along with canned tomatoes. Bring to simmer.
5. Pour in vegetable stock. Bring to simmer. Cook about 8 minutes.
6. Add corn, peas, and green beans. Cook until tender, approximately 5 minutes.
Serves 8[/accordion]

Chicken Salad

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Chicken salad is the staple in any backyard barbecue. Every family has a homemade recipe and if you don’t, take ours. Pair a scoop of it with a side of potato chips or sandwich between two slices of bread for the perfect summertime lunch.
“My mom makes the best chicken salad. She makes it all from scratch. It’s usually just to have during the summer when she’s not home and I’m there by myself or something, it’s just easier to make a chicken salad sandwich.” Brandi Burnsed, sophomore nursing major.
[accordion title=”Ingredients ” close=”1″]2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
⅔ cup of mayonnaise
½ cup of heavy whipping cream
½ cup of shaved almonds
⅓ cup of chopped grapes[/accordion]
[accordion title=”Directions” close=”1″]1. Boil chicken breasts
2. Once done, allow to cool then shred
3. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stirring. Refrigerate 30 minutes before serving.
Serves 6[/accordion]

Homemade Brownies

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Has anything ever hit the spot as well as one of Mom’s homemade brownies? Family gathering, holiday party, hard-earned treat. Boxed mix has nothing on the handcrafted stuff.
“I’m not going to lie, one of the best things if you’re coming home from school is the smell when you walk in that kitchen. You know Mom’s good brownies when you smell that.” David Wade, junior general studies major.
[accordion title=”Ingredients” close=”1″]1 cup of butter, melted
½ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup of chocolate chips
2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 cups of granulated sugar
4 eggs
4 tsp of vanilla extract[/accordion]
[accordion title=”Directions” close=”1″]1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Line pan with foil and spray
2. Mix butter and cocoa powder until smooth
3. Add flour and sugar. Beat. Add eggs and vanilla extract.
4. Add chocolate chips. Bake 25-30 minutes, until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let stand for 15 minutes.
Makes 12 brownies
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Loaded Mashed Potatoes:

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Loaded baked potatoes are yummy, delicious, and a hassle to fix. They have all the flavor and none of the struggle. The perfect side dish to complete any meal.
“My mom makes some really good loaded mashed potatoes whenever we have steak, that’s what she makes….I prefer the mashed potatoes because when my mom makes them, everything is mixed in there so it melts better. Like a baked potato everything just kind of sits there on top.” Kristin O’Leary, sophomore child and family development major.
[accordion title=”Ingredients” close=”1″]
8 red potatoes
½ cup of heavy whipping cream
¼ cup of sour cream
1 tbsp of bacon bits
¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Suggested seasoning: chives, onion powder, garlic powder
[/accordion]
[accordion title=”Directions” close=”1″]
1. Chop and boil potatoes until done. Mash well.
2. Add all other ingredients. Mix well. Season to taste.
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Kitchen basics

Pots and pans: 4-quart saucepan, 2-quart saucepan, small omelet pan, large omelet, saute pan, muffin pan and baking sheet.
Utensils: serving spoon, slotted spoon, spatula, tongs, whisk and turner
Miscellaneous: colander, measuring cups, can opener and bottle opener
All of these recipes are quick and easy to make. While they require a little more effort than Ramen noodles, they also offer a much bigger pay off. Not only will you feel a little more accomplished with yourself after a decent meal, you can also show off a little bit. You can finally show your mother you can cook yourself a decent meal, even if you still might prefer hers from time to time.
This was previously published in the Spring 2016 Reflector. Visit our Issuu page to view the digital copy of the magazine.
Photos by Kelly Lowery