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College Kitchen: Naked lunch

There’s such thing as an almost free lunch.
A simple stromboli can provide delicious sandwiches for the week and can be filled with various ingredients.
Image by Ichigo Takikawa
A simple stromboli can provide delicious sandwiches for the week and can be filled with various ingredients.

Are you on a first-name basis with every Subway employee? This isn’t “Cheers” — over-familiarity probably means you’re blowing a lot of money on fast lunches.

“But College Kitchenisto! I have no time in the morning to make lunch! I’m an important college student!”

Boo hoo. If you’re really that busy, try devoting some time on Sunday to making a huge batch of food that you eat for lunch throughout the week. It’ll save you time and money in the long run.


All-purpose dough

This simple dough recipe doesn’t require one of those fancy-schmancy mixers. All you need are your hands and a willingness to be covered in gooey flour.

Besides the recipes suggested here, this dough can also be used to make pizzas and calzones: Just roll it out, throw some sauce and cheese on it and pop it in the oven.

2 cups flour
1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup warm water

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Add the olive oil and water gradually as you mix with your hands. Keep mixing until the dough forms small lumps. Add extra water or flour as needed.

On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until it forms a smooth ball. Cover in plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.



The single best part of making a stromboli is saying the name of it. Tell everyone you know what you’re eating in the most exaggerated Italian accent you can muster.

Feel free to replace any ingredient with your preferred lunch meat or cheese. For a vegetarian alternative, replace the meat with sautéed bell peppers.

1 batch of all-purpose dough
8 ounces salami
8 ounces pepperoni
8 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
1 bunch spinach
1 bunch fresh basil
Extra virgin olive oil

Yields 1 20-inch stromboli

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Roll out the dough into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface. On one half of the dough, arrange the rest of the ingredients in layers, leaving about 1/2 an inch on each end.

Wrap the other half of the dough over, making a long cylinder. Cut diagonal slits in the top. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and olive oil.

Bake about 15 minutes until golden brown.


Beef empanadas

Like stromboli, empanadas offer limitless possibilities. You can replace the beef with white beans. Fill it with celery, carrots, onions and ground beef for a more Pennsylvania-coal-miner-pasty feel. Stuff it full of bacon and eggs for all I care.

If baked properly, the empanadas should form neat, self-contained pastries — basically like a high-quality Hot Pocket.

In order to make enough empanadas to last you the week, you’ll need to double the dough recipe.

2 batches of dough
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 16-ounce can of diced tomatoes
Olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon coriander
2 teaspoons chili powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg, for brushing

Yields 10 6-inch empanadas

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Heat olive oil in a skillet. Sauté the ground beef until entirely browned, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. Carefully drain the fat from the pan.

Add in the onion, garlic and bell pepper and sauté until soft, about five minutes.

Drain the liquid from the canned tomatoes and add to the pan. Mix thoroughly, then add cumin, coriander, oregano, chili powder and salt and pepper to taste.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface until about 1/8 of an inch thick. Using a bowl, cut out 4-inch circles from the dough.

Spoon the filling into the dough circles, fold over and crimp the edges with a fork.

Scramble the egg in a small bowl. Brush the empanadas with the egg wash.

Bake on an oiled sheet until golden brown, about 12 minutes. 


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