Finals week means one thing: eating like crap. The stress of studying and limited time means that your quality of food dips to fast food and instant meals. Cooking just takes too much time.  However, there are quick and nutritious meals you can make at home in a short amount of time. Here are some quick meals for finals week:

Lo Mein

You don’t need actual lo mein noodles to cook lo mein. Spaghetti and pasta noodles work about the same. In truth, there is very little difference between store-bought lo mein and spaghetti noodles other than shape. Dried noodles do not have the same variation as fresh noodles because they lack ingredients such as eggs. This causes most of them to be about the same in taste and ingredients. 


2 cups shredded cabbage

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

½ a sliced onion

½ minced stalk of celery

1/2 box spaghetti noodles (lo mein noodles if you can find them, but spaghetti is ubiquitous in grocery stores )

2 cloves grated garlic

½ to 1lb meat of choice (pork loin or chicken breast are best)

1 teaspoon sesame oil (sesame oil mainly just makes it look shiny, use at your discretion)

Instructions: Boil noodles and drain them, set aside to cool. Heat a large frying pan to high heat. Add oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add meat and cook until it's evenly browned, stirring constantly.  Add in all of the vegetables except garlic. Cook for 30 seconds to a minute then mix in garlic. Add the drained noodles to the pan. Stir the noodles by lifting them at the bottom with a spatula then picking them up and turning. Don’t be too vigorous or you’ll break the noodles. Once noodles are heated, add in the sauces and cook until steaming. 

Italian Sub

With sandwiches, the quality of the sandwich depends on the quality of the ingredients. I recommend avoiding supermarkets when sourcing your deli meats and cheeses. Smaller grocery stores or independent delis have a higher-quality selection of deli products, most often sourced from local producers. Oftentimes, their deli products are cheaper, too. This recipe is nothing unique aside from the use of garlic butter. But, people often forget how easy toasted subs are to make at home. 


1 loaf fresh Italian or French bread (any bread will work aside from sliced sandwich bread)

Sliced Pepperoni

Sliced Salami

Sliced Ham

Sliced provolone or mozzarella

1 sliced roma tomato

Sliced banana peppers

Green or black olives

Red leaf lettuce

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 cloves minced garlic

Italian dressing

(Note: Sandwiches are not an exact science, add how much of each ingredient you like.)


Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Slice your bread mostly in half, but not completely. It should somewhat resemble a hot dog bun. First, take the grated garlic and mix it with the butter before spreading it on the bread.  Next, evenly layer the meats on both sides and make sure that both sides of the split have a layer of cheese. This is to keep all the meat stable. Cook in the oven until the cheese is melted and browned. Take out of the oven and let cool for 1-2 minutes. Layer it with vegetables then add on the dressing before closing the sandwich. Slice the sandwich in half with a serrated knife before serving.

Fried Pork Chops with Beer Glazed Onions

This meal is relatively simple. It’s quick to cook and gets a lot of flavor out of common ingredients. The flavor of this recipe depends on the quality of the beer. Do not use too cheap of a beer but not too good of one either. I recommend a decent domestic pilsner such as Miller High Life or Pabst's Blue Ribbon. To keep this recipe simple I am only using salt and pepper. However, I recommend using other ingredients like paprika, garlic or onion powder if you want to spice things up. 


1 lb of sliced pork loin or pork chops

1 sliced onion

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 cup of beer (make sure it’s not a light beer)

1 tablespoon neutral oil (Vegetable or Canola)

2 tablespoons butter

Salt and pepper to taste


In a large skillet add in oil and butter then turn on high heat. While the butter is melting, season your meat and rub the seasoning into the meat with your hands. Once the oils are just below smoking, add in your meat. Be careful, you may get some splash-back. You want the heat high enough to get a nice sear on your pork chop. Once one side is seared (1-2) minutes, flip the meat and sear the other side. Once both sides are seared take them off the skillet and then turn the heat down to low. Keep in mind, the pork chop may not yet be fully cooked depending on its thickness.  At this point, add your vegetables and a pinch of salt. Cook the vegetables until the onion is translucent. Add in your beer and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add in the pork chops once the beer is simmering, then put a lid on top. This simmering should finish cooking the pork chops. Remove the food from the heat once the onions are gelled and the meat is cooked through. If you want the sauce thinner, add in more beer.