Recipes From the Cafeteria That Will Make You Want to Go Back

4 Min Read

Remember the days of bustling school cafeterias, where the aroma of comfort food filled the air and every bite brought a nostalgic rush? Those cafeteria lunches may be a thing of the past, but the flavors they offered can still be recreated at home with these delightful copycat recipes. From classic macaroni and cheese to crispy chicken tenders, these dishes will transport you back to your school days with every delicious bite.

  1. Classic Macaroni and Cheese:
    • Ingredients:
      • 2 cups elbow macaroni
      • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
      • 1 cup milk
      • 2 tablespoons butter
      • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
      • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Instructions:
      1. Cook macaroni according to package instructions, then drain and set aside.
      2. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth.
      3. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly until mixture thickens.
      4. Reduce heat and add shredded cheese, stirring until melted and smooth.
      5. Combine cheese sauce with cooked macaroni, season with salt and pepper, and serve hot.
  2. Crispy Chicken Tenders:
    • Ingredients:
      • 1 lb chicken tenders
      • 1 cup all-purpose flour
      • 2 eggs, beaten
      • 1 cup breadcrumbs
      • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
      • 1 teaspoon paprika
      • Salt and pepper to taste
      • Vegetable oil for frying
    • Instructions:
      1. Season chicken tenders with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika.
      2. Dredge each tender in flour, then dip in beaten eggs, and coat with breadcrumbs.
      3. Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
      4. Fry chicken tenders until golden brown and crispy on both sides, about 4-5 minutes per side.
      5. Drain on paper towels and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
  3. Homestyle Meatloaf:
    • Ingredients:
      • 1 lb ground beef
      • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
      • 1/4 cup ketchup
      • 1 egg
      • 1 onion, finely chopped
      • 2 cloves garlic, minced
      • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
      • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Instructions:
      1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
      2. In a mixing bowl, combine ground beef, breadcrumbs, ketchup, egg, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper.
      3. Mix until well combined, then shape the mixture into a loaf and place it in a baking dish.
      4. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until cooked through and browned on top.
      5. Let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
  4. Creamy Tomato Soup:
    • Ingredients:
      • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
      • 1 cup chicken broth
      • 1/2 cup heavy cream
      • 1 onion, chopped
      • 2 cloves garlic, minced
      • 2 tablespoons butter
      • 1 teaspoon dried basil
      • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Instructions:
      1. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, sauté until softened.
      2. Stir in crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, dried basil, salt, and pepper.
      3. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes.
      4. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth.
      5. Stir in heavy cream, heat through, and serve hot with grilled cheese sandwiches for a classic pairing.

These cafeteria copycat recipes are not only delicious but also evoke fond memories of school days gone by. Whether you’re craving cheesy macaroni or crispy chicken tenders, these recipes will surely satisfy your nostalgic cravings. So gather your ingredients, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to recreate those cafeteria favorites in the comfort of your own kitchen.

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