Take Out Made In provides students with quick, healthy recipes.
With fresh food not cheap, combined with the strong appeal of convenient, but unhealthy fast food, cooking may be more of a hassle than it’s worth for college students. Amanda Robine, the wellness services and nutrition educator coordinator for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s campus recreation staff, wants to fix that.
“We really want to encourage people to cook foods at home,” Robine said.
Robine, who’s been teaching classes at the East Campus Recreation Center since 2015, heads up campus recreation’s Take Out Made In series.
The series focuses on healthy, quick recipes that students could easily replicate at home. Robine said she understands the appeal of getting food to go, but she wants students to have a healthier option.
“We can make some really yummy takeout foods but we can make them at home so we could control the ingredients that are going in them, we have a lot more control over the cost,” Robine said. “So just making people a little bit healthier overall with these takeout foods but we’re making them at home.”
Take Out Made In’s most recent dish of choice was creamy coconut curry.
While this was the first time Take Out Made In did Indian food, past classes providing diverse options from pasta primavera to wonton soup. Robine said the class typically features a dish that most students would have only gotten from a restaurant, not made at home.
Robine said the coconut curry was picked due to the unique flavors that differentiate it from other typical takeout foods.
“We figured that the coconut curry would be something a little bit different that people haven’t tried before,” Robine said.
Robine said she likes coconut curry for its warm, comforting flavors. She said she really enjoys the curry’s non-traditional to spice, which makes it stand out from standard spicy foods like buffalo wings.
“There’s a whole lot of flavors going on that just combine together,” Robine said.
While the curry recipe is supposed to be fairly simple, Robine said there are still challenges in making this dish.
One prominent ingredient in the curry dish is lentils, which Robine said most college students usually aren’t familiar with using it in their food.
“They take a little bit of a long time to cook, so we just taste them to get that texture,” Robine said. “If you’ve never had them, it’s your first time eating a lentil, then you might not know ‘hey is that’s what it’s supposed to taste like?’”
However, one part of making the coconut curry is as simple as it can be.
“It’s only in one pan, so that makes clean up really easy if [you] wanna do it at home,” Robine said.
The curry, which also included ingredients like coconut milk and rice, only took around 45 minutes to prepare during the class. Rabine said this is one of the biggest appeals for using this recipe.
“It can be a very realistic dish for the participants to then recreate,” Robine said.
Robine said the coconut curry accomplishes something she really wants the students to take away from Take Out Made In.
“It shows people how to do something that’s a lot different than what they normally do, so stepping outside the box,” Robine said.
Robine said seeing people step out of their comfort zone in her class is one of her favorite parts of teaching. However, according to Robine, seeing her students react to the finished product is her personal highlight.
“I love seeing people’s reaction at the end,” Robine said. “So if it’s something that they really enjoy, I love seeing that.”
Robine said she even doesn’t mind more negative reactions to the dish that was cooked from the participants.
“Even though it’s not as positive as I want it to be, I still love seeing that reaction because it means they’ve tried something new,” Robine said. “Even if they didn’t like it, they took the opportunity to try that new thing.”