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By Scott Zielsdorf
News & Features Editor

The Covid-19 pandemic has everyone staying at home, living off whatever groceries we were able to get before locking ourselves away. For us college students, that means our diets haven’t really changed all that much, given the emphasis on easy to prepare non-perishable meals.

But who says you have to just dump a can of soup in a pot and be done with it? Just because you’re living on a semi-apocalyptic diet doesn’t mean you can’t spice it up. Mix canned products, throw in some vegetables – get creative! Here are the top meals I’ve been enjoying during my self-isolation.

tomato mac and cheese

Photo via A Pretty Life In The Suburbs

Tomato Mac n’ Cheese

You can never go wrong with classic boxed mac n’ cheese, but just having plain old macaroni is boring – not to mention not very good for you. Well… honestly most of the food on this list isn’t going to be that good for you, but you were likely persisting off a sodium-rich diet anyway!

My favourite way to do mac n’ cheese is to add some canned tomato soup to the dish. Additionally you can spice up this meal even more with some sliced weiners and mixed vegetables. Yay, nutrients!

In order to make this deliciously nutritious meal you will need:

1 box of mac n’ cheese
1 can of tomato soup
Milk
Butter or margarine
Wieners/sausage (optional)
Vegetables, frozen or dried (optional)

Boil the macaroni in a pot like you normally would, while you simultaneously make your tomato soup. Make sure to use milk rather than water for a much creamier texture. When those are done, drain the macaroni and pour the soup over it. Next mix in the cheese powder and butter, add your extra bits and you’re good to go! If using frozen vegetables make sure to boil them with your macaroni. It saves dishes and you’re going to mix them all together in the end anyway.

naan bread pizza

Photo via Pinterest

Naan Bread Pizza

If you’re like me you probably really miss having pizza. Well, if you have naan bread or any other type of flatbread you can easily make yourself a personal pizza! All without risking a poor delivery driver’s health.
Naan bread pizzas quickly became a favourite meal for my girlfriend and I. Here’s what you need to make them:

Naan bread or pita bread
Tomato sauce/strained tomatoes
Cheese
Various spices
Various toppings if you have them

Preheat your oven to 385 degrees. The rest is fairly straightforward- you spread some tomato sauce mixed with spices of your choice on the bread, cover with shredded cheese and throw it in the oven for 10-15 minutes. That’s basically it! If you have toppings to throw on, simply put them on like you would for any other pizza.

beans and rice Cuisine Noir Magazine

Photo via Cuisine Noir Magazine

Tomatoes and Beans with Rice

This whole self isolation thing has made me realize that a lot of my go-to meals involve tomatoes…so here’s another one that uses a canned tomato product! I used to make a dish like this all the time back in high school; my friends and I used to call it the “Bean Dish”.
The recipe for this culinary masterpiece is as follows:

Rice
Canned diced tomatoes
Canned brown beans
Various spices
Barbeque sauce (optional, but highly recommended)
Ground meat or sliced sausage (if you have it)

Cook your rice using standard package directions. While doing that dump your canned tomatoes, brown beans and whatever spices your heart desires in a big pot and cook them until they’re done. If you are using BBQ sauce (which believe me you should be) you’re going to want to throw that in during this time as well. If using meat make sure you pan fry it to edible perfection then mix it into your sauce. Once the rice is done you can either throw that into the big pot of bean and tomato mixture, or use it as a base to pour your food slop all over.

There you have it, three of my top meals and everything you need to know about making them. Instant noodles get an honourable mention because I’m way over my word count already. Enjoy the food and happy self-isolating!