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Dining Hall Dish

Observer Scene | Wednesday, October 29, 2008

We’re back and the doors to the dining hall are flung open once again, so it’s time to get back to work finding good things to eat. Hopefully a week off has put a shine back on the offerings of North and South, but if not here are some ideas to keep you going, so dig in!

This week’s recipes:

Pitas with Garbanzo Beans and Spinach

There is something about pitas that just makes them fun, so stuff away! Spinach has gotten a bad name, probably because it is often served over-cooked, but don’t give in to the association. It has a great flavor and is a good shake up from the usual lettuce. Garbanzo beans (the stars of many Middle Eastern foods such as hummus and falafels) with their nutty flavor are a good source of protein.

Fill a bowl with spinach, garbanzo beans, mushrooms, feta cheese (Not a feta fan? Try blue cheese, or even sprinkle on a bunch of the parmesan from the pizza area.) and red onion.

Mix a dab of Dijon mustard into red wine vinegar and pour over the contents of the bowl. You can squeeze some lemon on top as well, if that is to your taste. (Too much work? You can actually just toss a dab of Dijon mustard on the top, pour over the vinegar and mix it later.)

If you want a hot pita, stop by the microwave and zap it for about 1 minute. If you’re in more of a crunchy and fresh mood, just leave it as is.

Make sure everything is well mixed and cut into bite sized pieces. Sprinkle with pepper.

Stuff the mixture into the pitas.

Black Bean and Bacon Salad

Lettuce is hardly a requirement for a salad. This one is based around black beans, a bunch of other yummy vegetables and of course, bacon. There isn’t much that beats bacon, is there?

Fill a bowl with black beans, shredded carrot (or dice up a couple of carrot sticks), diced tomatoes, red onion and corn.

Add a little red wine vinegar, but not too much, you don’t want to overwhelm this one.

Pick up a couple slices of bacon from the sandwich area (or hot from the breakfast area if it is early enough in the day). Shred and mix into the other ingredients.

Warm up the bowl in the microwave for about a minute. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. You can try adding in some ranch dressing for another taste.

Quick Tip

Have a favorite sandwich you always make? Try transferring the same ingredients to a wrap, a pita, or even just some of the nicer breads you have to slice yourself. It will make a tried and true dish a little more special. Don’t forget the pickle!

Have your own dining hall recipe? We would love to feature it! E-mail mfordice@nd.edu.

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The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.

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Dining Hall Dish

Observer Scene | Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fall break is coming! And that means it’s time to take a break from the dining hall. Go home, give your mom a big hug, and beg for your favorite comfort foods. Hit the road and find some excellent restaurants to give a try. Or shake the dust from your recipes, open up the kitchen and get cooking. The last one is my plan. I can’t wait to try out some of the dishes I haven’t had time for since I’ve been bogged down with school. But until then, here are some new dining hall recipes to get you through the rest of the week.

This week’s recipes:

Spanish Rice and Salami

So if you were really going for the Spanish flair, this dish would be called Spanish Rice and Chorizo, but good luck finding chorizo (Spanish pork sausage, spiced with different flavors such as paprika, red chilis and garlic) in the dining hall. Instead we hearken back to those old Italian peasants and their own version of cured sausage – salami – which is tasty too. It gives the dish much the same effect.

1. Fill a bowl with the Spanish rice from the Mexican Bar.

2. If the rice does not include beans already, add in black beans.

3. Add in cheddar cheese, cubed salami (Every few days they do not have salami, but the seasoned chicken from the Mexican bar is a good substitute), diced tomatoes, diced onion and bell peppers (diced is best, but they will be heated up and made soft enough to use the sliced kind if that is all that is available).

4. Dash on some red pepper flakes from the pizza area.

5. Mix together.

6. Heat in the microwave for at least a minute. Serve with a tortilla you have warmed in the Panini press until it starts to brown and bubble.

Root Beer Floats

Root beer floats, or Black Cows as my Grandma always called them, are a deliciously sweet and crisp dessert. And so easy. Not big on root beer floats, per se? Try orange fanta and vanilla ice cream for an orangesicle like taste.

1. Fill a cup with either vanilla fro-yo or ice cream.

2. Add in root beer. You may have to let the foam go down a couple of times before you can fill the cup to the top. Tada!

Quick Tip

Want something sweet but are tired of fro-yo and not ecstatic about the other dessert selections? Try taking the corn bread from the home-style bar and dribbling honey over it to make the perfect blend of sweet and savory.

Thanks to Katie Valko for reminding me about Root Beer Floats…how could I forget? Have your own dining hall recipe? We would love to feature it! E-mail mfordice@nd.edu.

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The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.

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Dining Hall Dish

Observer Scene | Wednesday, October 8, 2008

This week, we’re aiming for a healthy bent. Sometimes it’s hard to stick to the food pyramid when you’re surrounded by some of the less-than-optimal-but-so-addicting foods you can find in the dining hall, whether it’s the French fries, the oh-so-buttery grilled cheese or the s’mores (just to name some of my weaknesses). These recipes at least send you in the right direction, without loosing any taste, of course. We can’t have that.

This week’s recipes:

Pasta with Feta, Wine Vinegar and Broccoli

This dish is a lighter and healthier alternative to the cream pasta sauces provided by the dining hall, using lemon and wine vinegar to flavor instead of a thick pasta sauce. But don’t think that means the flavors have to be any less strong, the feta, vinegar and lemon give this pasta a good zing.

1. Fill a bowl with whole grain pasta (or any short pasta if that is not available).

2. Add feta, red onion and broccoli to the pasta.

3. Drizzle with a good dosage of red wine vinegar and spritz with a lemon wedge.

4. Mix and make sure the feta is crumbled and the ingredients are evenly distributed.

5. Heat in the microwave for about 45 seconds.

6. Top with lots of pepper and take a bite. Feel free to experiment with other vegetables; both edamame and bell peppers would pair nicely with this dish as well.

Hummus Nosh

I love that the dining hall always has hummus. If I am completely at a loss for what to eat, it is usually what I turn to. Not only is it delicious, but it also ensures that I eat some of those pesky vegetables, and the hummus itself is pretty good for you. Even better, this is beyond easy.

1. Fill a bowl with hummus.

2. Gather up your favorite things to dip into hummus. Some of my favorites include: pita bread, olives, and bell peppers of any color. Other popular options are carrots, celery, and cucumber. Also pick up a lemon.

3. Squeeze the lemon into your hummus and give a good dash of pepper. Mix.

4. Dip away! Didn’t I tell you that was easy?

Quick Tip

Try this challenge: make a salad without using dressing. Dressing is usually the least healthy part of the salad, and the best thing about a dining hall is that there are so many options that would normally take considerable effort to slice and dice. And don’t limit yourself to the salad bar. Explore the dining hall for fruits, vegetables, beans, cheeses and meats (got to have that protein) to make your salad explode with flavor without drowning in dressing.

Have your own dining hall recipe? We would love to feature it! E-mail mfordice@nd.edu.

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The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.

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Dining Hall Dish

Observer Scene | Thursday, October 2, 2008

Breakfast. That meal they always told us was the most important of the day, which we have since learned through experience is really helpful for getting through (and out of bed on time for) those early morning exams. It’s the fuel that gets you through the day (or at least through lunch) and the focus of this week’s column. Scarf it down, my friends.  

This week’s recipes:

Morning Parfait

Parfait. Probably the best when it is of the ice cream and hot fudge variety, but excellent for breakfast as well.   

1. This dish is probably best assembled once you’re sitting down so the first step is all about gathering ingredients. First, get one of the tall, clear glasses used for drinks. Then fill bowls with yogurt (Plain yogurt is the easiest to match things with, but the flavored ones work too.), granola and couple dabs of honey.

2. Fill another bowl with whatever fruit is available. Here you might need to put in a little effort. Easiest: Fresh grapes and sliced apples, some of the canned fruit offered at the salad bar, such as the mixed fruit, mandarin oranges or the pears. Middling: Fresh bananas, cantaloupe and strawberries (they are easy to slice with a dinner knife) and oranges (just have to peel and separate). Harder: Fresh whole apples, pears, peaches and plums (harder to slice with a dinner knife).

3. Once you are seated, begin layering your parfait inside the glass. Start with yogurt, and then top with granola and fruit. Drizzle honey over it all. Then repeat.

Apple and Cheese Bagel

I found this breakfast when I was a kid in some long forgotten kid’s cookbook, and it has been one of my favorites ever since. A great combination of sweet and savory, it’s a good and filling breakfast.  Usually it’s baked, but you can pull it off in the dining hall.

1. Toast a bagel.

2. Spread bagel with a little butter.

3. Top one half of the bagel with apple slices (If you’re lucky the dining hall will have sliced apples, if not you can try grabbing a whole apple and slicing it yourself.) and cheddar cheese (Slices of cheese are the easiest to use, but if it is still too early in the dining hall to find them, shredded works just as well.). Close it up with the other side of the bagel.

4. Take your bagel to either the microwave or the Panini press and heat it up until the cheese melts.

Quick Tip

Head over to North and check out the make your own eggs station. Crack some fresh eggs into the pan (thereby escaping the frozen eggs the dining hall needs to use to meet demand) and fry, scramble, or omelet-ize. They have a great selection of ingredients to add too, from mushrooms, to bacon, to cheese. 

Have your own dining hall recipe? We would love to feature it! E-mail mfordice@nd.edu.