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This week’s College Student Meals features recipes for Cashew Chicken, Easy Fried Rice, Spinach and Brie Quesadillas and more…



For this week’s College Student Meals, I’ve got a delicious Cashew Chicken recipe that’s easy to make.  On Tuesday, I’m suggesting an Easy Fried Rice dish that uses any extra chicken you might have left over from the night before.  On Wednesday, how about a hot and hearty 3-Bean Vegetarian Chili?  This recipe makes enough for leftovers that would be perfect alongside a Smoky Pear Salad on Thursday.  And on Friday, use up the rest of your fresh spinach in a Spinach and Brie Quesadilla.

Have a great week!


Cashew Chicken




3/4 cup chicken broth

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup cashews

2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped onions (1 small onion)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon grated ginger root


For the sauce, whisk together chicken broth, corn starch, soy sauce and vanilla in a bowl. Set aside.

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Cut into 1-inch pieces; set aside.

Preheat a wok or a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil and stir-fry the cashews about 1 minute or until lightly toasted. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

Add the additional 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet. Then add the chicken to the skillet, sprinkle the salt over it and cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped onions, minced garlic and the ginger. Cook for 2 to 3 additional minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Push chicken from the center of the skillet. Stir sauce; add to center of skillet. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.  Stir in cashews and cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes more or until heated through. Serve with hot rice.



Easy Fried Rice-one of the things I love best about this recipe is that you can use any vegetables you have on hand.  I used corn and peas, but you could substitute any vegetables you like.

*Optional idea:  add any leftover chicken from the night before into the dish.




1 tablespoon olive oil

1 beaten egg

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon greated ginger root

1 cup frozen, thawed corn

1 cup frozen, thawed peas

1 1/2 cups cooked rice

1 tablespoon soy sauce (or more to taste)


In a large skillet, heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add the egg and cook without stirring until set. Loosen egg, scramble and push off to the side of the skillet. Add the additional 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet. Add the onion, garlic and grated ginger and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes. Add the corn, peas and rice (an any chicken you may have left over from Monday) to the skillet and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle in the soy sauce and toss gently to coat the rice with the sauce.



3-Bean Vegetarian Chili  



1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 15-ounce can red beans, rinsed and drained

1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1 15-ounce can great northern beans, rinsed and drained

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1 cup vegetable broth


Heat the olive oil in a large pot set to medium high heat.

Add onions and garlic and cook for 3 minutes or until onions are translucent.

Add the beans and stir.

Mix in the spices and the vegetable broth.

Bring to a boil.

Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Top with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and serve with tortilla chips, if desired.



Smoky Pear Salad and 3-Bean Vegetarian Chili



1 unpeeled pear, cored and thinly sliced

1 cup spring mix, fresh spinach or gourmet lettuce mix

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped smoked almonds

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon sugar or sugar substitute

1/4 cup olive oil

pinch of salt and pinch of pepper



Spinach and Brie Quesadilla – use either the spinach from the earlier recipe or substitute with other greens.

Spinach and Brie Quesadillas from Zagleft


2 large flour tortillas


4 slices of brie, rind removed, about 1/4 inch sliced

1/2 cup fresh spinach or spring mix


Heat a large skillet to medium high heat.  Add about a teaspoon of oil to the pan and make sure the oil spreads out to the ends of the pan.

Place one tortilla down on the heated pan.  Add slices of brie.  Top with the fresh spinach.  Place the other tortilla on the top and cover for about 3 minutes. Remove the cover and flip quesadilla over.  Heat that side for another 3 minutes.

Remove quesadilla from the frying pan and slice into four triangles.

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