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O.S. Eats: Recipes To Reinvent Your Meal Swipes

by Megan Fleming and Lexi Shimknois

Campus cafeteria food can get pretty repetitive. So if you’re looking for a way to shake up your trip to the dining commons, we came up with a few simple “recipes” to add some much needed variety to your on-campus diet.


-French bread
-A bowl of red sauce


If you’re trying to get the most out of your meal swipe, start things off with a nice appetizer. Once you’ve gathered the necessary components, use a knife or spoon to evenly spread out the sauce on the bread before placing the cheese on top. Then, find the microwave and toss these bad boys in for about 45 seconds.


Pro-Tip: Don’t be discouraged if the person serving the pasta or the folks behind you in line give you a weird look when you ask for a bowl of sauce. You get a bite-size piece of heaven, so who’s the real winner here?

Chicken Caesar Wrap

-Grilled chicken
-Shredded mozzarella cheese
-Caesar dressing


Combine the typical elements of a caesar salad (lettuce, croutons, cheese, and dressing) and place them in the middle of the tortilla. Cut the grilled chicken into strips or bite-size chunks, depending on your preference, and add it to the salad in the tortilla. Wrap the tortilla up to the best of your ability, taking care to fold in the edges so the contents of your creation don’t end up in your lap.


Pro-Tip: Next time you order a wrap, watch how they fold up your sandwich and try your best to mimic this when you go to make your own wrap. If it all ends up falling apart, a grilled chicken caesar salad is always good too!

Chicken Parmesan Sandwich

-Shredded or sliced cheese
-Grilled chicken
-Pasta sauce


After gathering the ingredients, toast the bread if your heart desires, or just pile it high with cheese, sauce, and chicken.


Pro-Tip: opt for the sliced cheese, the shredded made quite a mess.

Pasta Primavera

-Pasta (any size or shape)
-Grilled chicken
-Vegetables of your choosing

-Alfredo sauce (or other)
-Bacon bits


Cut the chicken into bite-size chunks, as well as the vegetables if they are too big. Combine the pasta, chicken, and veggies in a bowl, adding Alfredo or other sauce if you want.

Pro-Tip: Almost anything can be mixed with pasta and veggies to make a quick, healthy, and hearty alternative to whatever may be offered at that meal.

Nutella and Banana Wrap



This option works for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. If you’re looking at this and wondering why you’ve never thought of this before, we’re right there with you.


Pro-Tip: The tortillas in the dining commons are HUGE. So for optimal banana to tortilla ratio, you’ll need approximately three bananas per one tortilla.

Waffles and Ice Cream

A waffle
-Ice cream



Berkey Creamery ice cream is a Penn State staple available, for better or worse, at every meal in all dining commons, and you can’t go wrong using a waffle as your bowl. Grab a waffle (or make one if you’re at Findlay) and top it with as much ice cream as you want. If you really want a treat, pile your creation high with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, candy, and sprinkles.


Pro-Tip: replace the waffle with two chocolate chip cookies for an ice cream cookie sandwich. If you go this route, however, avoid West Cookies, unless you want to eat your “sandwich” with a fork and knife.

Caramel Apples

-Caramel (available by the ice cream toppings)



In the absence of a skewer, you can make a sliced version of a caramel apple. The caramel won’t harden, however, so make sure you grab extra napkins.


Pro-Tip: Ideally, walnuts would be the prime nut of choice for your DIY caramel apples.

Root Beer Float

-Vanilla ice cream
-Root beer


One glass of root beer plus a heaping scoop of ice cream gives you a refreshing treat. You can put the ice cream in the glass and pour the root beer on top, or grab a glass of root beer and carefully add ice cream to your preference. We used soft-serve, but a scoop of Creamery ice cream would work just as well!


Pro-Tip: Substitute orange soda for the root beer to create a creamsicle in a glass.


There you have it! Hopefully some of these options will make your return to the dining commons after a week of home-cooked meals a little more bearable.

About the Author


Posts from the all-student staff of Onward State.


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