Let’s get creative: How to upcycle your typical dining hall meals

By Kaitlin Dunn
Lifestyle Editor

As much as we all love the Dining Hall, it is easy to get tired of the same general meals day in and day out.

Outside of the rotating main meal, the dining hall offers the same options for the most part — burgers, omelets, pasta, pizza, and sandwiches.

While these options are solid, if you get into a routine with what you eat, you can quickly become bored of your food.

Here are some ways to spice up dining hall food and get out of that rut.

Tortillas Galore

Tortillas are a versatile carb that can transform any semblance of ingredients into an ingenious and inventive meal.

By wrapping your typical breakfast into a tortilla, you can have a breakfast burrito that’s not only portable (for when you’re running late to class) but is also a new take on something old.

Despite being composed of mostly the same ingredients, the tortilla helps wrap them into a new format and a new dynamic that brightens up the old. Or you can take it to-go and spice it up even more in your dorm with outside additions like avocado and beans.

The same applies to just about anything: you can put anything into a tortilla and turn it into some kind of fusion burrito.

But burritos are not the only alternative meal made possible by the ever-versatile tortilla. Heating up two tortillas with cheese and chicken, you can craft an easy-make quesadilla for when your Dining Dollars or schedule prevents you from indulging at Martha’s Kitchen.

Make a Breakfast Hash

Breakfast hash is incredibly easy to make, just combine a cooked meat and a starch and you’re ready to eat. So, along the same vein as turning your typical breakfast into a breakfast burrito, by adding additional carbs to your breakfast, you can make a pretty tasty breakfast hash.

Breakfast time at the Dining Hall typically includes potatoes of some form, so making this hash is relatively easy to do and comes in a myriad of iterations.

Mix your meat with tater tots, french fries, hash brown, sweet potato, if it’s out on the main line and starchy, it’ll make the perfect breakfast hash.

Get Creative With Your Salads

While the salad bar is always a great option for diversifying your meal, it’s easy to get into a routine of putting the same ingredients on your salad and getting bored.

For extra protein and flavor, try adding one of the patties from the grill station to your typical salad.

You can choose from regular beef patties, veggie burgers, and turkey burgers. Any of them would make a great addition to your standard salad.

If you prefer fish over meat, the occasional salmon or cod fillet served on the hot station is another great way to diversify your salad and add some extra protein.

Anything is a Dessert If You Try Hard Enough

While we are all mourning the loss of the ice cream machine (and anxiously awaiting its return), this doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with ice cream-based desserts.

Java George carries ice cream as one item you can buy with your Dining Dollars. By mixing one of the many desserts that the Dining Hall offers with ice cream, you can elevate that plain vanilla into something amazing.

You could get even more creative and take the cereal the Dining Hall has in stock and make an ice cream dessert bowl.

It may take a bit of creativity and thinking, but eating at the Dining Hall doesn’t have to be boring.

You can upcycle and reinvent the same meals you eat in order to make something new. Who knows? Maybe you’ll create something delicious.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Featured Photo Caption: While the Dining Hall switches its daily selections, students can grow tired for the monthly rotation. Learning how to navigate and make your own meals is key to thriving in collegiate dining.

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