Eating Like an Intern | The Washington Center

Eating Like an Intern

I love food, plain and simple. I'll also be the first to admit that I spend 90% of my funds on said passion, which really takes a toll on my bank account. For all my unpaid young professionals out there trying to ball on a budget, these are recipes for you. No, they don't feature French ingredients with names you have to Google or any rare, expensive spices to blow your weekly Metro fare on. These are meals that feel special without draining your measly checking account in the process, because being an intern is all about those smart little sacrifices.


Crock-Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

Homemade crock pot chicken noodle soup


This chicken noodle soup is my all-time favorite comfort food for when I'm sick (which has been constantly since I got to D.C.). The ginger soothes your sinuses, and there's just something about chicken broth when you're disgustingly ill that makes life a tiny bit better.



2 boxes of chicken stock (I use Swanson's)

Several carrots, julienne or chopped

1 sweet onion

1/2 ginger root

Several celery stalks

1 pre-made rotisserie chicken

Butter or olive oil

Salt and pepper

Minced garlic


Chop your vegetables and saute them in the butter or oil on medium heat until tender, beginning with the hardest vegetable first. Be careful with the ginger, it can be overwhelming. Add some minced garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. Shred the rotisserie chicken, and put into the crock pot. Add chicken stock and cooked vegetables, and put crock-pot on high for 4 hours, or low for 6 hours.


Pulled Pork Nachos

Pulled pork nachos


This is kind of my boyfriend and I's specialty, which we shamelessly copied from a sports bar in my hometown. I lose all decency when these are in front of my face and have been known to finish a whole tray by myself.



Pulled pork (smoked and slow-cooked is the best, but store-bought works)

On The Border's queso dip

Tortilla chips

Shredded cheese

Your favorite BBQ sauce

1 bag shredded lettuce

Sour cream

1 white onion


Lay tortilla chips on the bottom of a baking sheet. Drizzle with warm queso. Lay pulled pork with BBQ sauce over the chips. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, then put in the oven on broil for 3-5 minutes. Out of the oven: sprinkle shredded lettuce/diced onions over the chips (add tomato if you're feelin' frisky). Drizzle sour cream over the nachos, and you're ready to eat!


Stuffed Green Peppers

Stuffed pepper


One of my mom's go-to recipes, stuffed green peppers are quick and tasty recipe that will remind you of home. Pictured above: Casey's pepper & legs.



# of bell peppers you want to eat

1 pound cooked ground beef

Cooked white rice

Salt & pepper

1 chopped white onion

1 chopped tomato

2 cans of tomato soup

1 cup of cheddar cheese



Cut the tops off of the peppers; hollow out. Boil in large pot of water for 5 minutes, salt & pepper inside and outside and set aside. Brown beef in a skillet, adding 1/2 cup of cooked rice, 1/4 cup of water, the chopped tomato and chopped onions. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes covered, then remove from heat and add cheese. Stuff peppers with beef mixture, and add tomato soup (add just enough water so it's thick, not runny) over the top. Bake 25-30 at 350 degrees on a baking sheet.


Mom's Waffles



Sometimes, you just need mom's waffles. Pictured here with my roommate Callie, these waffles will remind you of your childhood so the existential dread will be easier to cope with on your way to work! Who wants syrup?



Pancake/waffle batter


Chocolate chips, or fruit


Literally just follow the directions on the back of the Bisquick box, add your extras, pour it on your waffle iron, and let that bad boy crisp up. Take waffle off the iron, marvel at your creation, and add butter & syrup to taste.


Homemade Pizza

Homemade pizza

Down in the dumps about delivery costs? Make pizza at home!



Ready-made pizza dough

Jar of pizza sauce

1 bag mozzerella cheese

Parmesan cheese

Garlic powder

Italian seasoning (or oregano)

Extras (pepperoni, chicken breast, peppers, onions, olives, sausage, whatever)


Roll out dough onto greased pizza pan. Drizzle oil over the edges of the dough. Sprinkle seasonings around crust. Spread pizza sauce over dough, then add cheese and toppings. Bake for 10-13 minutes at 450 degrees or until crisp--don't try to eat it before it's cool and get a blister (not fun & flirty).


Pizza Rolls & Boxed Wine

Pizza rolls


Look, not every night needs to be a full-scale kitchen production; an understated bag of Totino's accented by the cheapest box of wine the grocery store offers can really bring the magic to a mundane weeknight. Plus, if you buy the giant bag of pizza rolls, you can recreate this timeless dinner over and over again.


Bag of Totino's Pizza Rolls

1 box of Franzia/Vella wine


Heat up your oven, pop those beauties in, and wait until golden brown. While waiting, pour yourself a glass and relax.


What are your go-to budget dinners? Comment below!


Read Lydia's previous blog posts

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