My Surprisingly Successful Attempts at Cooking

I’m not sure where you are as you are reading this but if you happen to live in Michigan, you’re well aware that we got our first official snowfall today. I have very mixed feelings on this…I’m excited winter is approaching because that means we’re closer to Christmas break, but at the same time, I could use a few more months of warmth and sunshine. Despite the fact that temperatures will no longer rise about 50 for quite a while, I thought it would be appropriate to write a blog on some warm food that makes winter slightly more tolerable.

Last year I was on a limited meal plan, which meant that I had to make some meals for myself. This was quite the experience because not once did I really make anything of quality…I resorted to a lot of mac & cheese as well as frozen dinners. Looking back, I’m not sure how I managed to do that because that sounds so unappealing now. Therefore, this year I cut myself off completely from a meal plan and committed to making every meal for myself. Surprisingly, I’ve become much more domestic and actually know how to make a few dishes! For those of you who have little time and knowledge to make a meal, here are three recipes I use quite frequently that are very satisfying and not coming from a box or freezer:

Chicken and Rice

This is a very simple recipe and takes virtually no time to make! I find myself making this at least once a week because it’s delicious and basically idiot-proof!


1 chicken breast

Marinade (I use Lawry’s Marinade…it’s easy to find in any grocery store)

½ cup white rice

1 cup water

Instructions: First, defrost your chicken if it’s frozen or simply take it out of the refrigerator if it’s already defrosted. Spread marinade on it in a pan or bowl and let it sit for an hour or more (the longer it marinades, the better!). Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees after marinating, and place the chicken on a raised pan for 30 minutes. At this time, add rice and water in a saucepan and simmer for approximately 20-25 minutes on the stove.

Tortilla Casserole with Chicken (courtesy of my mom!)

My mom makes this recipe and another type of casserole whenever I’m home so I really enjoying making this for myself! If you can’t handle spicy food, you may want to refrain from this one.


7 oz. of Salsa Verdes (green salsa, one can)

1 lb. shredded cooked chicken, skinned

½ cup sour cream

6 corn tortillas, cut into ¼” wide strips

1/4 lb. (1 cups) cheddar cheese

2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

1 large avocado (optional for garnish)

Instructions: Place half the chicken in a 8-9” baking dish. Spread with half the salsa. Spread ½ the sour cream over salsa. Top with ½ the tortilla strips and ½ the cheddar cheese. Repeat layers, using remaining chicken, salsa, sour cream, tortillas chips, and cheddar cheese.

Cover and bake in a 350-degree oven for 40 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and continue baking until cheese is bubbly (5 or 10 minutes more). Remove from oven. Let stand for 10 minutes: then arrange avocado slices on top of casserole.

I hope you get the chance to try these two recipes if you feel like experiencing something new! Anything warm to eat is nice now that it’s freezing outside. Stay warm everyone! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @hopeleslie15.

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Published by Leslie Kempers

Hey Everyone! My name is Leslie Kempers and I am from Santa Ana, California. I am a Senior this year and am majoring in Exercise Science so after my time here at Hope, I will be pursuing a career in physical therapy! I have previously been involved with Nykerk and CASA and am excited to see what this year has in store for me. This place has become my second home and I have cherished every moment here at Hope College. Go Dutchmen!!!

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