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Thursday, September 28, 2023

As a freshman living in Jennings, I missed home cooked meals.

Even though I was in a sorority and had lunch and dinner given to me during the school week, I was limited on the weekends. I didn’t have a car and neither did many of my friends. The Reitz fast food options were limited and the options at midtown got old quickly, too. One day my friends on my floor decided to start Sunday night dinners. A few of us got together Sunday night in the Jennings ground floor lounge and rotated making dinner for each other.

The rule was you paid for all of the food the time you cooked and enjoyed every other time. When it was your turn to cook, you made up the menu and told everyone what time dinner would be served. Here are a couple of my favorite meals that were served:

Three cheese grilled cheese with tomato rice soup

You don’t have to be a professional chef to whip up something that tastes good. When it gets cold, people enjoy comfort food. Spice up normal grilled cheese by adding more cheese. It is an easy meal to produce for a larger group of people. Feel free to use any cheeses you want.

What you will need:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

8 slices sourdough bread

4 slices cheddar cheese

4 slices Swiss cheese

4 slices American cheese

Tomato rice soup

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What to do:

Spread the butter on one side of each bread slice. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Put two bread slices in the skillet, buttered-side down. Layer a slice of each cheese on a piece of bread then place the other slice of bread on top.

Cook, pressing the sandwiches occasionally with a spatula, until the cheese melts and the bread is golden, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Slice each sandwich diagonally in half.

For the soup, follow the directions on the can. Usually it calls for a can full of water. Put it on the stove and cook until hot.

Spaghetti and garlic bread

Buy your favorite pasta whether it is angel hair or penne, boil a pot of water and let the noodles soak. You can choose al dente or not. Buy any type of sauce from traditional tomato to pesto or just use oil and some garlic for flavor. If you like fresh vegetables, sauté some in a pan and add them into the pasta. There are endless combinations of pasta dishes so you won’t get bored of the carb.

Pair the dish with garlic bread, which is quick to make.


4 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 loaf crusty bread, split

3 tablespoons grated cheese, Parmigiano or Romano, optional

Chopped fresh parsley


Combine garlic, butter, and oil in a microwave safe dish or in a small saucepan. Heat garlic and butter and oil in microwave for 1 minute or in a small pot over moderate-low heat for 3 minutes.

Toast split bread under broiler. Remove bread when it is toasted golden brown in color. Brush bread liberally with garlic oil. Sprinkle with cheese, if using, and parsley. If you added cheese, return to broiler and brown 30 seconds. Cut into chunks and serve.

Breakfast for dinner

It is hard to mess up scrambled eggs and instant pancake mix. It is also a classic meal that most college kids miss because the alarm clock goes off way after breakfast hours. There are plenty of combinations of breakfast for dinner to please any guest.

Cereal and milk bar

Buy a couple different cereals and milks and allow everyone to create their own bowl.

Scrambled eggs

Buy enough eggs so everyone can enjoy two each.

It is as easy as cracking the eggs in a bowl, beating them and cooking them in a frying pan.

If you are feeling more advanced in your cooking skills, up the ante to omelets and put out an assortment of chopped vegetables and cheeses for your guests to build their own.


Buy any brand of just add water mix and follow the instructions on the box. Make sure to buy syrup. You can get creative and buy whipped cream, chocolate chips and bananas to add into the batter or to decorate the pancakes after they are made.

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