Foods for the future

Lindsay Lillig

Midterms are approaching, and students may find it is easy to fall into poor eating habits when constantly crunched for time. Rather than trying to survive on bagels and vending machine pretzels, take a night to plan at least three reliable meals for the week—and leftovers are always your friend. Here are some delicious and easy-to-make starters:

Bacon and Cheese Quickbread—Snack on this bread for days until it’s gone, and then bake more to get through future weeks.

• 3 tbsp. butter, plus more for greasing
• 2 medium onions, chopped
• 1/2 pound (about 10 slices) bacon
• 2 cups flour
• 1 tbsp. baking powder
• 2 tsp. kosher salt
• 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
• 1 cup whole milk
• 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 egg
• 1/2 pound (about 2 cups) Gruyère cheese, shredded (or preferred cheese)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan (or four 6×2 1/2-inch mini pans). In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook for approximately 30 min., stirring occasionally until deep golden brown and caramelized. Set aside to let cool. Meanwhile, in a second large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat for approximately 10 min., turning occasionally until crisp. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate, let cool and then chop.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, oil and egg. Slowly pour milk mixture into flour mixture, stirring until combined. Gently fold in cheese, onions and bacon until combined, then transfer to prepared pan. Bake for approximately 45 min. (25 min. for smaller loaves) until golden brown, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean when removed. Let cool 15 minutes, then remove from pan to cool completely.

Tortilla Casserole—Perfect for lunch or dinner any day of the week for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, and makes enough for five meals. Delicious served hot or cold.
• 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
• 3/4 pound button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
• 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
• 8 corn tortillas, warmed and halved
• 2 cups salsa
• 1 1/4 cups (4 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, stirring until browned – about 7 minutes. Add garlic, cayenne, salt and pepper. Add black beans and stir to combine. Cook for approximately 2 min. or until beans are warmed through. Remove from heat.
2. Arrange 5 tortilla halves in a 2-quart baking dish. Top with half of bean mixture, then add 1/2 cup salsa and sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat with another layer of tortilla halves, bean mixture, salsa and cheese. Top with remaining tortilla halves, salsa and cheese. Cover with foil and bake for about 10 min. or until center is hot and cheese is melted. Uncover and bake for an additional 5 min., or until cheese is bubbling.

Corn Pudding—Everybody wants an excuse to eat pudding for dinner – especially more than once.
• 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
• 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
• 2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
• 1 can cream-style corn
• 1 cup milk
• 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
• 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
• 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
2. Melt butter a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, salt, pepper and cayenne, then sauté for 5 minutes until onions have softened. Turn off heat.
3. Add corn kernels, cream-style corn, milk, cream cheese and sugar, stirring until well combined. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by muffin mix, stirring until batter is smooth. Add shredded cheese.
4. Pour mixture into the baking dish and bake for 50-60 minutes until the center is firm. Let cool.
Peanut butter Soba Noodles—Sweet, salty and spicy pasta. Eat it hot or cold for lunch or for dinner.
• 8 oz Soba (buckwheat) noodles
• 1/4 cup peanut butter
• 1/4 cup rice vinegar
• 1 tbsp. soy sauce
• 2-3 tbsp. Sriracha (or preferred hot sauce)
• 1 tsp. kosher salt
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt and stir in noodles. Cook according to package instructions; drain and rinse well under cold running water.

2. Whisk peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce and chili sauce in a large bowl until smooth. Add drained noodles to sauce mixture and toss with tongs until coated. Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator.
Note: If chilling noodles, toss with 1-2 tbsp. water to loosen when serving.