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Cooking while in nursing school?


Hi! I'm in my last semester of nursing school. I'm also a single mother. I need some tips on dinners I can make my child and I with my busy schedule? I have studying, commuting us both to and from school, and preceptorship! By the way, my preceptorship is night shift. With this being said, I'm the busiest I've ever been before in my life! I really despise eating fast food every night, and I just need some ideas.


NurseSpeedy, ADN, LPN, RN

Has 19 years experience.

I cooked for my family in advance on my days off (still do now too). I plate it out so all that needs to be done is a few minutes in the microwave when ready to eat.

I tried to stick with easy dishes so I could study/do housework while it baked. Simple staples like rice, steamed veggies, and baked chicken are common. Rubbermaid will be your friend. Also, if needed to cook longer in advance, a vaccum sealer can be useful

I do r same, pre cook my meals on my days off and toss them in the freezer. I find pasta freezes pretty well


Specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine. Has 8 years experience.


Pasta/cooking sauces ("Street Kitchens" ethnic line from in Walmart is, in fact, not expensive, all sauces work with chicken and they are not that bad)

Prepare components, then divide in portions and freeze them. If you have pasta and rice, cut and frozen chicken breast, washed, cut and frozen veggies, chicken stock and the aforementioned sauces with basic spices, you have as many different dinners as you have sauces, each taking 15 to 20 min only.

Cooking stocks from Swanson. Whatever thrown in them according to flavor becomes soup or stew, most of them freezeing just fine.

Things which taste fine if refrigerated for days. Baked (no stirring) polenta is my favorite - hot day#1, rest is cooled, then a piece is baked with sauce and cheese day #2, then the rest baked with more cheese and different sauce day #3.

That being said, I continued to bake my own bread (and everything else) and make dairy all the way through BSN and MSN. But I admit just being a darn foodie :) and one of those people who cook and bake for stress management.

Edited by KatieMI

Here.I.Stand, BSN, RN

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience.

Lasagna and chili, other soups too, freeze beautifully! On your weekends off, you can make huge batches and freeze the extra in whatever portion you and your child eat.

My kids LOVE burgers! I like to season the beef with finely minced onions (or onion powder), garlic and pepper, or Canadian steak seasoning. I'll season the fresh meat, make patties, and freeze with a square of parchment paper between each.

To cook, I put the thawed patties in a baking dish lined with parchment paper, and bake at 400° for about 10 min on each side. (I do bacon and breakfast sausage the same way!) It's great because you don't have to keep as close an eye on it as in a frying pan, plus no fat splattering everywhere. You can make a side dish while the oven does the meat.

"Brinner" is a big hit in my house too. I'll do a breakfast hotdish or pancakes and bacon/sausage, with a fruit salad or other fresh fruit, or a smoothie of frozen fruit and milk.

Korean BBQ is yummy and can be prepped in advance. Marinade is soy sauce with sugar (or stevia), veggie oil and a little sesame oil, black pepper, lots of fresh garlic, and some slivered onions. I don't measure, so I recommend tasting it as you go BEFORE putting any meat in. It should have a nice balance of savory and sweet. You can marinate thin stir-fry style beef or pork, mixed well in the sauce. A few minutes in the frying pan with some rice or lettuce wraps and you're good to go. We had pork belly with it tonight, although that's more work to cook.

You could make fajitas with similar advance prep.

Sandwiches with nice quality deli meat are quick and easy.

Pulled pork sandwiches -- I cook a roast in the crock pot, shred it and stir in some BBQ sauce.


Specializes in LTC.

Two new best-est best friends - crockpot and vacuum sealer.

You're only limited by your initial lack of experience using them, but boy, that'll change REAL EASY like with practice.

If you have the support of some family, maybe some pre-cooked foods that you can freeze might help for variety.

AND, did you know, Barilla Pasta makes a pre-cooked pasta that takes 60 seconds to nuke.

Cactus Nurse

Specializes in TBI and SCI.

just to add on to this- my go to crock pot meal is...... 2-4 chicken breast, a jar of salsa.. that's it. high 4 hours (or more if needed for more breasts).. make knorr chicken rice or even the instant rice, warm up beans and corn... throw it ina bowl, yummm... also you can make tacos too :). So easy and it lasts awhile.

Congrats on almost finishing!!!!!!!!!!

meanmaryjean, DNP, RN

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 44 years experience.

This too: 16 weeks of fast food/ Kraft Mac 'n Cheese will not kill you. If that's what it takes to get you over this final hurdle- then do it. Nobody here is gonna judge you for that!

Maybe...... you have friends and family (your support system) who would provide you with either a meal a week OR would cook for you and put meals in your freezer.