Everyone knows when it’s that time of the year – finals season. You can taste the tension, the stress, the late nights, and the panic in the air. While everyone is slaving away in the libraries or holed up in their bedrooms, most students might be tempted to just live off of instant noodles, toast, and Kraft Dinner. I’m here to tell you that just because you’re low on time doesn’t mean you can’t have good food that is quick, easy to make, and composed of just a few ingredients.
I like adding some pesto and hot sauce to spruce up a classic grilled cheese sandwich. To try something different, replace the cheese with slices of avocado. It makes the sandwich clean and refreshing, with all the beneficial oils from the avocado to boot! A side of tomato soup is the perfect companion for your gooey masterpiece.
Miso soup with rice is a meal that literally requires only two pots and five ingredients. Miso, tofu, green onions, and rice are all easily obtainable from Chinatown or Epicerie Eden on Avenue du Parc. The quick method is to just throw water, miso, and tofu in a pot and bring it to a boil. Adjust seasoning to taste and if you like, sprinkle some sliced green onions on top of the soup and serve with steaming, fluffy rice.
Couscous is a fine grain that doesn’t need to be pre-boiled, which makes it an ideal quick meal. Add some halved cherry tomatoes, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, chopped spinach, and couscous in a bowl with hot water from a kettle; the ratio is 1:1 for water to couscous. Cover the bowl with some saran wrap, wait until all the water is absorbed, and it will be ready to eat. To make it extra fancy, sprinkle on some feta cheese and squeeze over some lemon juice.
Quick pasta doesn’t always have to be eaten with canned tomato sauce. Simply sauté some chopped bacon with butter, pepper, and dried herbs. My personal favourites are thyme and oregano. Toss in the cooked pasta and top with parmesan cheese; the smokiness and saltiness of the bacon gives the pasta a great aroma. To go the extra mile, add either some maple syrup or white wine before adding in the pasta and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Perfect every time.
You can add pretty much any fruit of your choice to spinach or lettuce leaves to make a refreshing salad. Some tasty combos are raspberry and spinach, watermelon and spinach, apple and lettuce, and orange and lettuce. A light vinaigrette made from 1 part lemon juice, 3 part olive oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper goes hand-in-hand with any salad.
Fish tends to cook much faster than chicken, beef, or pork. My fish of choice is salmon because of it’s delicious, easy to cook, and contains high protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D – exactly what a sleep and nutrition-deprived student needs in the middle of exams. Put a filet on a baking sheet (remember to use aluminum foil for easy clean up!) and drizzle some honey, salt and pepper over the filet. If you don’t have honey, use maple syrup, or simply some brown sugar. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes or until the filet flakes apart when you take a fork to it. Add or subtract baking time for a couple minutes depending on how thick your slice of fish is.
If you’re ever in need for a quick sweet treat, these Nutella cookies should be your go-to recipe. All you need is one egg, one cup of Nutella, and a half cup of flour. Just mix the three ingredients in a bowl, spoon balls of it on a baking sheet, and bake in a preheated at 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 10 minutes. Voila! The best chewy, moist, chocolate cookies you’ve ever had. It’s the best treat for your well-deserved study break.
Study well and eat well during exams everybody!