As a college student, a home-cooked meal can be hard to come by. Class, work, clubs and activities take up time, and cooking and cleaning can add up to several hours per day. So,  cooking meals everyday is not an option for many students. There is a solution to this dilemma: stew.

Filled with a variety of textures, flavors and nutrients, a 12-serving Dutch oven full of stew can be made on the stove top in two to four hours and in the microwave in 10 minutes.

Today’s stew of choice is a Mexican vegetable stew. Whether you are a freshman with nothing but a dorm microwave or a senior with a house and full kitchen, a Mexican stew is an easy and affordable way to eat throughout the week.

Stovetop Version -  Ingredients and Instructions

  • 1 pound beef bones

  • 2 cups brown rice

  • 2 tablespoon. coconut oil

  • 4 ears of corn

  • 6 tomatillos

  • 6 cloves garlic

  • 2 cans diced green chile

  • 5 cups water

  • 1 yellow onion

  • 2 zucchini

  • 2 cups black beans

  • 2 serrano peppers

  • 2 spoonfuls paprika

  • 1 spoonful cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile

  • 2 spoonfuls garlic salt

To start this recipe, place neckbones (optional for vegetarians), minced garlic cloves and spices in water. Bring to boil, then let simmer for 1-5 hours. The longer this cooks, the more flavorful it will be. When your broth has an hour left to cook, cook rice in a rice cooker or pot. If in a pan, bring to a boil, then let simmer for an hour.

Next is black beans. Both canned and dried beans work, but make sure to soak dried beans in water overnight before cooking. Pour the black beans into the broth, stir, cover and turn up to medium heat. Let the beans and broth reach a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer.

Now that you have your rice and beans started, it’s time to cut the vegetables. Remove all corn kernels with a knife. Cut onion, serranos and tomatillos into small, diced pieces. Cut zucchini into ½ - 1 in. pieces. Warm up coconut oil in a separate pan on medium-high heat and add vegetables. Cook vegetables until the zucchini and onion are starting to brown. Before adding the vegetables, remove the neck bones from the broth. Add vegetables to the broth and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer for 40 minutes.

Add rice, let sit for five minutes, and serve.

Dorm Version - Ingredients and Instructions

  • Instant rice

  • Beef or vegetable broth

  • Salsa verde

  • Canned corn

  • Canned beans

  • Canned green chiles

  • Water

Note: Ingredient servings depend on bowl and microwave size.

Add vegetables, salsa and broth to water. Microwave for five minutes. Take out, stir and let cool. Cook instant rice, add to stew and enjoy.

Both of these stews are filled with fiber, protein and carbohydrates to get you through the week. It can be eaten in or on burritos, turned into a queso dip with melted cheese or eaten as a soup with diced cilantro on top. Depending on where you shop, this can cost anywhere from $30-$40 — Mexican and Vietnamese markets tend to sell these ingredients at the most affordable price. With a couple hours of effort and a few dozen bucks, you can make yourself a nutritious and delicious meal for the whole week.