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Five Delicious & Easy Meals to Get You Through The Mid-Semester Slump

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Queen's U chapter.

***Disclaimer: this article was written with the sole purpose of inspiring you if you need some new ideas in your cooking rotation. In no way is this article trying to influence or advise you on what you “should” eat—you know yourself best so please stick to what you feel is best for you and your situation!***

I don’t know about you, but going into the last four weeks of the semester, I am often in desperate need of new ideas for meals.

While buying my staple items in my weekly grocery haul has served me well (pun intended), I sometimes find myself craving a change or relying a little too much on ordering in. Especially in the third week back from reading week, I find myself really missing my family’s delicious home-cooked meals: my mom’s soup, my dad’s barbecue skills, and our seemingly-endless supply of earl grey tea (my favourite). 

Although I find cooking therapeutic and a form of self-care, sometimes I am too tired to even think about chopping an onion—besides the effort and my questionable knife skills, I can’t do it without crying my eyes out. Other times, I’m a little tired of having eggs and toast for dinner for the third (or fifth) night in a row. Especially as a vegetarian, I want to make sure that I’m getting enough nutrients to keep me feeling satisfied while not breaking my grocery budget. However, with a few basics in your pantry and fridge, you can take many meals from dull to delectable. With this in mind, here are five of my absolute favourite “tastebreaker” recipes that are just as easy as they are delicious: 

Shun Matsuhashi / Spoon
  1. Coconut and Chickpea Curry

I am a firm believer that there are few things better in life than a delicious vegetarian curry, especially one that is as easy as this! While curry sounds like it’s a process to make, in reality you can use a few shortcuts that save you time, stress and money. One of my favourite ways to make recipes easier is to buy pre-diced onions.

This curry takes 30 minutes to make and the best part is that leftovers can be frozen for a few months, making your future cooking-inspiration-less nights quick and easy. Check out this recipe from modernhoney.com: https://www.modernhoney.com/coconut-chickpea-curry/ 

  1. Fried Rice

Fried rice is another easy meal and a great way to use up that leftover cooked rice you have sitting in your fridge. You can use frozen pre-diced onions and frozen veggies to make this quicker and easier. Over medium-high heat, warm up some vegetable oil in a saucepan before adding the defrosted onions and cook until they are golden. Then, add your defrosted veggies and any spices or condiments you’d like, including chilli powder, soy sauce, garlic salt, red pepper flakes, or ginger. You can add a few teaspoons of water and cover the pan with a lid to make the veggies cook faster—just be sure you keep stirring so the veggies don’t burn. Finally, add your rice and stir until combined. Add more soy sauce and spices or scramble an egg in your rice to really take it up a notch. 

  1. Sweet Potato Fries

I recently found out what an air fryer is when my housemate brought one from home. Let me just say, my life has changed. Luckily, you can also make these delicious fries in the oven.

Although these are more of a side dish than a full meal, they go with nearly everything and are very versatile. After poking a sweet potato with a fork multiple times and peeling most of the skin off, cut it into thin wedges that look generally fry-shaped (this is very open to interpretation). Then, add all the wedges to a large bowl and toss them with olive oil, garlic salt, and red pepper flakes. Finally, air-fry them for 10-12 minutes (or bake them for 12-14 minutes) to get them nice and crispy. Bonus: they’re even better with some accompanying sriracha mayo or Frank’s Hot Sauce. 

  1. Frozen spinach pizza with tomatoes

A staple of university life, frozen pizza works for the nights that you just don’t feel like cooking. My boyfriend recently introduced me to the Irresistables-brand spinach pizza, which takes less than 20 minutes to bake in the oven. To spice it up, you can pop a few slices of tomato on the pizza and drizzle some olive oil over top before putting it in the oven.

  1. Frozen perogies with onions and peppers

Similarly, perogies are the backbone of my university cooking career. With so many different varieties from garlic to spinach to cheddar, you can’t go wrong with this quick meal. There are two methods I alternate between when cooking perogies: after they rise to the top of a boiling pot of water, I pan-fry them with onions (pre-diced) and red peppers (though nearly any veggie works!). Caramelizing the onions with plum sauce and ensuring the perogies are golden-brown on each side makes for a dinner full of flavour and comfort – perfect for these last few days of winter.

While these recipes are far from gourmet, they are quick, easy and delicious. Also, they can all be either frozen or work really well as leftovers. Hope you enjoy!

Molly Robertson

Queen's U '25

Molly is a second-year psychology student studying at Queen's University. When she's not at CoGro, you can find Molly listening to the Lumineers, trying to decide on her next tattoo, or spending all her money on coffee.