Fight the 'Freshman 15' with these quick, easy recipes

Who better than three college students to write a cookbook that is a must because "all college food need not go to waist."

Fighting the "freshman 15" (pounds, that is) was one goal when Alexandra Nimetz, Jason Stanley and Emeline Starr got together as students at Williams College in Williamston, Mass., to write "The Healthy College Cookbook: Quick. Cheap. Easy." ($14.95, Storey Books, 1999).

They combine more than 200 easy recipes that even the most time-pressed student can fix in the time it takes to have a pizza delivered. Better yet, all the recipes call for healthful ingredients that won't put a strain on a typically tight college budget.

The book begins by outlining must-have kitchen equipment, adds staple ingredients and basic cooking terms. The authors also include hints for cooking and saving leftovers, plus healthful food substitutions. Although vegetarian recipes are interspersed throughout, there is an entire chapter devoted to vegetarian entrees.

Each recipe has a nutritional analysis, and "Mom Tips" of food insights and preparation shortcuts are sprinkled throughout.

Choose between recipes such as elegant Sweet Orange Chicken or down-to-earth Real Sloppy Sloppy Joes. For an exotic meal, try Teriyaki Couscous or Turbot with Tomato-Mango Salsa.

Today's recipes from the book are a selection of dishes that one college sophomore who will be stocking her first apartment kitchen this fall gave her nod of approval.

Hummus is a favorite among her friends. She loves black bean and corn salad and is a big fan of macaroni and cheese. But, unlike lots of young adults, she grew up on her mom's homemade, from-scratch version rather than a boxed mix. Today's mac and cheese recipe, like mom's, has that from-scratch creaminess and real cheese flavor, but without the work of making a white sauce.

The cobbler gets high marks not only because it's quick and easy to put together, but also versatile. The basic recipe can be adapted with peaches, pears, berries or a combination of seasonal fruits.

There are great tips and suggestions for recipe-less cooking. The seasoning sections, for example, offers lots of ideas for jazzing up basic meats, poultry, seafoods, vegetables and even sweets with appropriate herbs and spices.

For those who are serious about fighting the "freshman 15," the substitution chart offers useful cooking conversions of higher to lower-fat ingredients and one real eye-opening conversion:

"1 slice chocolate cake = 27 minutes on the Stairmaster."

Sample recipes


This is a good side dish for Mexican meals. Makes 4 servings.

  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 cup cooked corn

  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

  • 1 fresh tomato, diced

  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

    In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate. Serve chilled.

    Nutrients per serving: 313 calories, 18 grams protein, 61 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fat (5 percent total calories), no cholesterol, 13 grams fiber, 16 milligrams sodium.

    "The Healthy College Cookbook" by Alexandra Nimetz, Jason Stanley and Emeline Starr


    This recipe comes from a friend at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. Great for sandwiches, bagels and dipping, hummus is an all-purpose food. You'll need a food processor to make it. Makes 10 servings.

  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans)

  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

  • 1/4 cup sesame tahini

  • 1/3 cup lemon juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

    Drain the chickpeas, saving the juice. Dump the beans into the food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add some of the reserved bean juice; blend until it reaches the desired consistency.

    Nutrients per serving: 95 calories, 3 grams protein, 12 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fat (36 percent total calories), no cholesterol, 2 grams fiber, 130 milligrams sodium.

    "The Healthy College Cookbook" by Alexandra Nimetz, Jason Stanley and Emeline Starr


    Here's a healthy alternative to the boxed variety. Makes 4 servings.

  • 1 3/4 cups uncooked macaroni

  • 1 cup shredded low-fat Cheddar cheese

  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt

  • 2 teaspoons butter

  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • Salt and pepper to taste

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.

    While the pasta is cooking, mix together the cheese and yogurt in a bowl.

    When the pasta is done, drain and set aside. Put the pot back on the stove and melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the mustard, salt and pepper. Add the cooked macaroni, tossing to coat. Mix in the cheese and yogurt. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the cheese is melted.

    Nutrients per serving: 246 calories, 14 grams protein, 36 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fat (18 percent total calories), 35 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram fiber, 644 milligrams sodium.

    "The Healthy College Cookbook" by Alexandra Nimetz, Jason Stanley and Emeline Starr


    This easy dessert also can be made with pears, peaches or any other fruit you desire. Makes 6 servings.

  • 4 large apples (Macintosh are best), peeled and thinly sliced

  • 4 tablespoons flour, divided

  • 3 tablespoons apple juice

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • Pinch nutmeg

  • 7 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs

  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

  • 1 tablespoon water

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

    In an 8-by-5-inch pan, toss together the apples, 2 tablespoons flour and the apple juice until the apple slices are well-coated.

    In a separate bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons flour, the cinnamon, nutmeg and graham cracker crumbs. Stir in the butter and water. Mix until pea-size clumps form.

    Spread the graham cracker topping over the apples. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the topping is lightly browned.

    Nutrients per serving: 135 calories, 1 gram protein, 25 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fat (23 percent total calories), 6 milligrams cholesterol, 2 grams fiber, 64 milligrams sodium.

    "The Healthy College Cookbook" by Alexandra Nimetz, Jason Stanley and Emeline Starr

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