Snack Break: Off the Menu

Anyone who has lived in a dorm has probably experienced the numerous dining hall conundrums.  The dining hall runs out of fresh pizza, it stops carrying your favorite salad dressing, or even more often, there simply doesn’t seem to be anything good to eat. To this last problem I have a solution for those of you who frequent the West Quad dining hall.  I get horribly fed up with the dining hall food at times because the food is often dry and flavorless, and the best things served are not the healthiest.  To combat these problems, I began creating my own meals based on bits and pieces of food that are consistently available at the dining hall.  My favorite creation can only be made at West Quad because it requires the Beef Kofta from the Mediterranean section.

For lack of a better name, I have dubbed this recipe the Meatball Pita Pocket.

What you’ll need to make two pockets:

2 beef meatballs (found in the Mediterranean section)

2 pita pockets (found in the Mediterranean section)

Assorted vegetables from the salad bar (here’s what I’ve found that works best):

  • Spinach
  • Red onions
  • Chickpeas
  • Corn
  • Mushrooms

*Note: If you don’t like red onions but still want that sweetness in your sandwich, you can ask the deli station because they usually have white onions that they will give you.

Ranch dressing

*Note: It’s really not worth it to use the fat-free ranch dressing.  You may be surprised at how little dressing you actually end up using, so just use regular ranch.  Your taste buds will appreciate it.

What to do:

Crush up meatballs with your fork/knife.  Toss in some ranch dressing.  Depending on your personal taste this amount may vary, but I usually don’t go over a tablespoon.

Open the pita pocket, and being careful not to rip it, start to layer the vegetables horizontally, making sure they are evenly spread out.  I start with the spinach, followed by the mushrooms, red onions, corn, and chickpeas.

Finally, add in the ranch-tossed meat and press down lightly with your fork.

Pita pockets are not the sturdiest of breads and they can tear from the bottom easily if you fill the pocket too much.  Handle them with care when assembling and eating.

The meatball pita pocket is definitely a great everyday meal that won't leave you feeling sluggish or wishing you didn't have a meal plan.

The salad option: Using the same ingredients, I have also created salads.  Instead of the pita pocket I use the fried pita chips that are in the Mediterranean section as croutons.

It’s not always easy to eat a healthy diet in college.  It’s even more difficult to always enjoy the options that are put in front of you.  But with a little creativity, dining halls can become a supermarket of possibilities.  Who says we can’t eat off the menu?