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Quick, Easy Dinner Ideas for Busy Collegiettes

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

Whenever we start a new semester, we all may say, “My goal is to eat out less and cook more at home” or “I want to make healthy food choices.” However, once the workload of college starts to pile up, we don’t have time to cook and stray away from semester goals. Well collegiettes, here are some very quick and easy dinner ideas that won’t take much of your time and allow you to eat a healthy, homemade meal so you spend less on take-out.


1.  One Pot Pasta

This is a very quick dinner to make especially if you only have 30 minutes to make dinner. Recipe courtesy from Damn Delicious.

INGREDIENTS: 1 pound spaghetti, 1 (12.8-ounce) package smoked andouille sausage thinly sliced, 1 large onion thinly sliced, 3 cups halved grape tomatoes, 2 cups fresh basil leaves loosely packed, 4 cloves garlic thinly sliced, Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, 1 cup grated Parmesan  

DIRECTIONS: In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, combine the spaghetti, sausage, onion, tomatoes, basil, garlic and 4 1/2 cups water; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until pasta is cooked through and liquid has reduced for about 8-10 minutes. Stir in Parmesan.

Serve immediately.


2. Korean Ground Beef with Rice

This is the dinner that my roommate and I always cook when we want a homecooked meal, but don’t have a lot of time to prepare.

Recipe courtesy of The Recipe Critic.

INGREDIENTS 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean), 3 garlic cloves minced, ¼ cup packed brown sugar, ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, ¼ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, ¼ teaspoon pepper, 2 cups hot cooked white or brown rice, sliced green onions and sesame seeds for garnish  

DIRECTIONS: In a large skillet, cook the ground beef and garlic, breaking it into crumbles over medium heat until no longer pink.

In a small bowl, whisk brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, red pepper flakes and pepper. Pour over the ground beef and let simmer for another minute or two.

Serve over hot rice and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.


3. Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas

This is a very easy dinner and one of my favorite things to make. All you have to do is pop it into the oven and wait for it to cook. You can eat it with guacamole, salsa or anything you want.

Recipe courtesy of Tip Buzz

INGREDIENTS: 1 1/2 lbs boneless/skinless chicken breasts, 3 bell peppers (one red, one yellow, one green), 1 medium onion, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp garlic powder or minced garlic, 2 tsp paprika, salt and pepper to taste, 1 tbsp vegetable oil, 8 flour tortillas (8-inch size)  

Garnishes – Lime wedges, Fresh chopped cilantro, Sour cream, Avocado


DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 400°F. Set aside a large baking sheet.

On a work surface, cut chicken breasts, onions and peppers into less than 1/2 inch strips.

Place the chicken, peppers and onions on the baking sheet. Sprinkle cumin, chili powder, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper on top and drizzle with oil.

Using tongs or two spoons, toss all ingredients on the pan to coat evenly.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and use tongs stir chicken and vegetables. Then slide them one-quarter of the way over, to make space for tortillas.

Mop up excess juices with a paper towel, and then add the tortillas to the pan. Return to the oven and bake for 5 more minutes.

Remove from oven and squeeze optional fresh lime on top. Serve in tortillas with optional cilantro, sour cream and avocado. Enjoy!


4. Easy Beef and Broccoli

Here is a quick dinner that takes less than 15 minutes to make.

Recipe courtesy of Damn Delicious.


INGREDIENTS: 2/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce, 1/2 cup chicken stock, 1/4 cup honey, 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar, 3 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 teaspoon Sriracha (or more to taste), 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 pound flank steak (thinly sliced across the grain), 1 head broccoli cut into florets


DIRECTIONS: In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, chicken stock, honey, vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, sesame oil, cornstarch, Sriracha, ginger, red pepper flakes and 1/4 cup water; set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add steak and cook, flipping once, until browned, for about 3-4 minutes.

Stir in the broccoli and soy sauce mixture until tender and slightly thickened for about 3-4 minutes.

Serve immediately.


Hopefully, you plan on trying out these recipes. I can promise you these recipes don’t take more than 30 minutes to make. Happy cooking!

Cynthia Ubah grew up in Maryland. She is attending University of Wisconsin-Madison pursuing International Studies with a certificate in Global Health and East Asian Studies. She hopes to work and live in South Korea for a few years. If you are looking for someone to watch Korean drama with or listen to Kpop, she is your girl. Her interests are God, cooking, hangout with friends, reading books, learning Korean, and fashion. Check out her blog at https://mylifeinthemoments.wixsite.com/mysite .