Kitchen Hacks to Make College Easier

College is a place where time is of the essence. Going from class to class, balancing school, a job, and making time for a social life, can be crazy. It’s during those times when finding ways to make life easier, especially in the kitchen, is useful. Hopefully these tips will enhance your time in the kitchen or dorm room!

Cool Down Coffee Without Diluting it

Hot or iced, frozen or not, decaf or regular, coffee is a sensitive subject. It may sound like a first world problem, but watered down coffee is the worst. Now there is a solution.

Use an ice tray, pour coffee (or creamer) in it and freeze! No more burnt tongues when you need your coffee cooled down or watery iced coffee when you take an hour to drink it.

Reheat Your Food Without Drying it Out

Attention: don’t throw leftovers away. It’s never as good as the first time you eat it, but your meal can be less dried out if you just put a glass of water in the microwave while you reheat it. The cup of water inside the microwave provides some moisture in the air for the food.

Seal a Chip Bag Without a Clip

Chip clips are one of those things that never seem to make the grocery list and are easily forgotten until you actually need one. A quick and easy solution is not using them at all. Just use the bag itself! Check it out below.

Revive Stale Cereal

We’ve all done it before. You forget to seal the plastic bag before putting your cereal away and a week later you grab the Frosted Flakes only to find they’re stale. Well, there is a hack to help your forgetfulness!

Simply spread the cereal out on a sheet pan, pop it into a 375 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes, let it cool, and enjoy some revived, crunchy cereal.

Frozen Capri Suns

There’s a twist for an alternative popsicle and it involves the beloved Capri Sun pouches. It’s not hard to reminisce on how great a Capri Sun tasted on a summer day when you were a kid. First freeze the Capri Sun, take it out, cut the top and enjoy. Easy and tasty nostalgia.


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QR Codes for Campus Dining

QR codes are placed at campus dining locations for those who might want to check the menu before going in and using a swipe. These codes can be useful if you’re allergic to something or just not in the mood for a certain menu item that’s being served.

How can you use QR codes?

According to the most recent reports from Apple, a QR code scanner will be integrated into the iPhone camera with the new iOS 11 update this Fall. Until then, downloading a free QR code reader in the App Store or Google Play store will have to do. Once you have download the app, you can scan any QR code you see at dining locations on campus and it will immediately direct you to that location’s menu online (which is updated daily with the newest menu).

The QR codes provide an alternative and efficient way to get the menu in your hand before entering a location. Download a QR code reader app today and get scanning!


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Freezer Smoothies

“Fresh, healthy, easy-to-prep, and cheap” – four things that college students love to hear. Freezer smoothies start your day off right and are the perfect snack to cool off from the heat. To make it a “freezer smoothie”, divide or mix fruits in plastic bags, seal the bags and place them in the freezer for up to 6 months. When you’re ready, mix the ingredients plus some milk or water in a blender until the consistency is smooth.

Here are just a few simple suggestions and recipes to help your freezer smoothies go to the next level.

Buy Frozen

According to ABC News, the minute fruits or veggies are picked, they begin to lose nutrients, so exactly when it’s plucked, and how long after harvesting you eat them impacts there nutritional value. Most frozen fruits and veggies are frozen shortly after they’re harvested, which means a lot of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are locked in. Buy frozen fruits and veggies when prepping smoothies because it’s healthy and makes your prepping a lot easier.

Look at the Label

When you buy frozen, look at the label. A lot of companies like to sneak in extra sugars or substitutes to freeze their products. The ingredients should be whatever fruit or veggie you are buying. Fruits already carry natural sugars and your smoothie will be sweet enough without extra sugars.

Buy a Blender

If you don’t have some sort of blender already, purchasing a decent blender isn’t going to break the bank! Check Target or Amazon for some affordable options. This Oster Classic Blender will do the job. Whatever you decide, shop smart. You don’t have to drop $200+ for a good blender!

Recipes 

Smoothies are highly customizable and you can replace ingredients easily.  You would be surprised with how many combinations people come up with once you do your research. A great site to research smoothies (and other recipes), is Yummly. It has tons of filters so you can narrow down what you are looking for. For example, if you are allergic or don’t like bananas in your smoothies, you can filter that out of your searches. Check it out!

Here are few recipes to get you started with your smoothie game.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie – This three ingredient recipe is easier than trying to spell “b-a-n-a-n-a-s” (it’s tough without a little help from Gwen Stefani).

Pineapple Mango Banana – If you can’t go to a tropical island this summer, replicate it in your kitchen. This video includes the Pineapple Mango Banana smoothie recipe and a few others! 

25 Quick and Easy 3-Ingredient Smoothies – A creative chart of some ambitious and unique combinations.


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5 Foods to Help You Stay Hydrated

Summer is in full swing and staying hydrated is the most important thing you can do to beat the heat. While drinking water and other hydrating liquids is crucial, foods can also play a part in helping you stay hydrated. Here is a list of five hydrating foods to help you out this summer:

Cucumbers

Fun fact: Cucumbers have the highest water content of any solid food. (96.7% to be exact). They are a great snack for a hot summer day and are available on salad bars throughout campus. Include some cucumbers in your next meal to help keep you hydrated!

Iceberg Lettuce

Iceberg lettuce tends to get pushed aside for options such as spinach or romaine lettuces, which both contain more vitamins and nutrients, but with 95.6% of water, Iceberg Lettuce is a great supplement and addition to your next meal. Use iceberg lettuce instead of bread for burgers and sandwiches, or instead of tortillas to make a lettuce wrap.

Celery

It may not have negative calories like many people believe, but with just 6 calories per stalk and 95.4% water, celery is a hydrating snack that helps curb your appetite due to it also being high in fiber. Add a little peanut butter or ranch, snack bliss without the dehydration.

Watermelon

Watermelon is 92% water. I mean, it has “water” in the name…

Various fruits (Grapes, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)

All of these fruits are made up of 80-91% water. Having a sweet treat is needed on a warm day. Any of these will be good for you when you are outside and hangry from the sun. Pro-tip: Freeze some grapes (the best way to eat grapes) for a portable, nutritious and easy to eat to snack.

For more hydrating foods, click here!


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Gourmet Popsicle Recipes

If you can’t fully enjoy a beautiful summer day without  a refreshing popsicle, look no further for inspiration. Tired of the same old, same old generic fruit flavors? Try these gourmet twists on some of our favorite summer classics.

Cake Batter

For that birthday party vibe, try these cake batter flavored popsicles. These are a great way to get an ice cream-like thickness, but in the portable form of a popsicle. You can add whatever sprinkles you’d like for a colorful surprise. While they do take a bit of time to freeze, the outcome is worth it when you’re basically licking cake batter off of a stick (as opposed to the usual spoon).

Bomb Pops

If you remember those red, white and blue delicacies fondly, you’re sure to enjoy this more adult version. Using real fruit, this recipe certainly makes the ice cream truck classic a bit healthier. Basically, you make three different smoothies and freeze them together in bright, colorful layers for a delicious summer snack.

Key Lime Pie

If you’re anything like me, you know that a staple to any summer diet is key lime pie. The tangy sweetness of a key lime pie is the perfect complement to warm sunshine and the smell of saltwater in the air (if you’re by a beach that is). A good graham cracker crust is hard to pass up as well. Finally, you can bring the delicious tastes of Key Lime Pie to your popsicles with this easy recipe.

Peaches and Cream with a Twist!

Peaches and cream is a classic summer flavor combination. Put them together in a popsicle form and you can’t lose. But what if you want something with a little more pop? Just add basil and honey to really bring out the sweet flavors in this recipe.

Fudgsicles

Fudge pops were a lunch room classic growing up. Now you can use everyone’s favorite (Nutella) as one of two ingredients in these super easy fudgesicles. They will satisfy all of your chocolate cravings while keeping you cool all summer long.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

Mint Chocolate Chip is a totally refreshing flavor while cheesecake is rich and filling and deliciously creamy. Mix them together for this winning recipe. The instructions call for Magic Shell which gives this popsicle an added crunch.

Have a favorite new popsicle? Share your new love with us!


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Calorie Conscious Copycat Recipes

Eating out can be more expensive and, often, less healthy than whipping up something at home and with summer in full-swing, now is a great time to get in the kitchen! If you want the tastes of your favorite fast foods without the health risks — and wallet risks — you may want to try the copycat recipes curated below.

Chipotle

This copycat recipe for Chipotle chicken makes enough marinade for 10 pounds of chicken! Meggan, who writes the blog Culinary Hill, has fine-tuned this recipe over the years and offers helpful tips for different methods you might want to try. By cooking this chicken fresh at home, you can cut out a lot of sodium that often slips into fast foods. With the chicken, you can make your own burrito bowls, salads, tacos, burritos or quesadillas. Share with us your favorite variation!

Wendy’s

Clocking in at less than half the calories of a regular Wendy’s medium Frosty, this copycat recipe definitely drew us in. What kept us reading was the fact that this recipe takes just 5-10 minutes to create. Additionally, you can make this recipe comply with a paleo diet. By substituting spoonfuls of sugar with honey and vanilla, this dessert is both healthy AND delicious.

Starbucks

Similar to a Frosty, our Starbucks copycat is for a Mocha Frappuccino. With just five ingredients, this recipe is easier than waiting in line at the “Starbs” around the corner. Coconut milk and Stevia make this coffee-based drink naturally sweet. Pour it into your favorite travel mug and get going!

Panda Express

Because you’re making this recipe at home, you can use whatever high-quality chicken you prefer, along with the other ingredients. You can also customize your spice level and how much or how little pineapple you want with your chicken to strike the perfect balance for you. This recipe takes just about thirty minutes to make. You can serve the chicken with rice if you’re really hungry!

Panera

This recipe shows you how to recreate Panera’s classic Mediterranean veggie sandwich at home. Making the sandwich at home means less sodium and fresher ingredients. The blog post included with the recipe also offers helpful tips for making sandwiches in general, which is essential information for students of any age.

Try these copycats at home and share any others you have with us on any of our social media accounts!


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