Getting creative at Crossroads

Cal Dining, which operates the Crossroads facility shown above, is among the auxiliary organizations that will be affected by the new regulations.
Anna Vignet/Senior Staff

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With school just starting, you are likely still in the honeymoon phase of your relationship with the campus dining commons (assuming you are lucky enough to be equipped with a meal plan). There will come a time, however, when that honeymoon period ends. Vivid dreams about home-cooked food will become a reality, and you may find yourself oddly resenting younger siblings who still live at home.

When that time comes, however, fear not. We at The Daily Clog have your back. Hopefully, you will have explored the myriad of food options covered by your meal plan, such as the wraps at Qualcomm Cafe. (Our favorite.) If you have exhausted your options, it is time to get creative and unleash your inner chef. Here are some suggestions for recipes you can easily create at your average dining hall:

1. Grilled cheese

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We know you are probably starving for some carb-heavy comfort foods to help you gain back some of the weight you’ve lost in college (it’s the freshman -15, right?). You can try this simple recipe for a grilled cheese — all you need is bread, cheese, butter and a panini press or toaster.

Go to the make-your-own-sandwich station of the cafeteria and pick out two slices of your favorite sliced bread and two slices of cheese. Assemble the sandwich and butter the outside faces of your bread. Put your buttered sandwich on the panini press until the cheese melts. Can you say master chef?

2. Fancy sandwiches

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This is your chance to get crafty. Are they serving grilled chicken at Crossroads? Slice up a piece and add it to a sandwich. Try filling your bread with a combination of chicken, red onion slices, cheddar cheese and barbecue sauce. If the cafeteria is serving some type of roasted or sauteed vegetables, melt a slice of cheese over the vegetables and make a simple veggie sandwich.

If you are favoring something sweet, you can also try the classic that Elvis made famous: a peanut butter and banana sandwich.

3. Parfait

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Parfaits are easy and uncomplicated but can be dressed up using the options available in the cafeteria. You can mix yogurts or add multiple types of cereal to your parfait. Slice up a banana or whatever fruits are available. Don’t forget to add dried fruit, seeds (usually found by the salad bar) and a drizzle of honey on top.

4. Rice pilaf

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If the cafeteria is serving Asian food and you aren’t feeling it, you can make a few easy additions to class humdrum rice up and make it into a fancy pilaf. Add whatever ingredients you’d like from the salad bar. You can try adding finely chopped spinach, halved cherry tomatoes, craisins, raisins, seeds, edamame, garbanzo beans, peas or corn. Add olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy your pilaf as a side dish!

Images: thethrillstheyyieldtrupastillaMikelo and Zayabibu under Creative Commons. 

Shannon Najamabadi is the assistant blog editor. Contact her at [email protected]