The 10 Recipes Every College Student Must Know

Going to college means having to do everything by yourself, but when meals get consistently boring, make sure you know a thing or two about mom's cooking.
July 23, 2017
11 mins read

If you’re anything like me, or any other college student for that matter, then you have gotten tired of your campus food at one point or another. While it’s nice to be able to have someone else prepare your food for you, eating at the same place day after day can get boring and repetitive; however, as a college student, your options for alternative food sources might seem limited. To avoid the monotony of campus food, many students go out to restaurants or fast food chains, which can wreak havoc on their bank accounts and their bathroom scales.

If you are having these food issues while at school, I’m here to provide you with a simple solution: start making food for yourself! Now, this might sound like a daunting task if you have never cooked your own meals before, but it is not as scary or difficult as it might seem. By reading this break down some basic meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you’ll be able to ease yourself into the life of providing for yourself, and eliminating campus food from your diet.

1. Oatmeal

Learning how to make a solid, healthy breakfast is the first step to ease yourself into making your own meals. Oatmeal is as simple to make as it is delicious to eat, and to top it all off, it’s easy to make.

Learning the basics of making oatmeal is easy, and then you are free to spice it up in any way you want. You can add fruit, sugar, cinnamon, nuts or anything else you are craving in order to kick start your day with an easy to make boost of energy.

2. Any Kind of Eggs

Learning how to make eggs is the best way to start cooking for yourself because they can be made in so many different ways and can be eaten for pretty much any meal. For example, you could start your day off with scrambled eggs or an omelet, then have a nice egg salad sandwich for lunch just by adding mayo to a hardboiled egg. Or try this amazing one from JenReviews, its one of my personal favorites!

A personal favorite of mine is an egg sandwich, because it is perfect for breakfast and dinner. Just take some bread, any kind of cooked egg and a few toppings such as avocado or cheese, and you have a healthy and easy meal.

Image via HelloGiggles

3. Ramen Noodles

Now, you might be thinking that you would never make Ramen for dinner because it is so bland and basic; however I am here to tell you that is not always the case. There are actually a bunch of ways to bring your Ramen to the next level in ways that you did not even know were possible.

These recipes are great for students because it is quick and easy to make and is filling at the same time. Figuring out how to step it up and add more ingredients will only make your dining at home experience even more enjoyable.

4. Lunch Wraps

Wraps are great because they are quick to make and easy to take on the go, which is something that all students can appreciate when they are desperately trying to make it to their classes on time.

I also love these meals because there are endless possibilities, meaning that there is no way for it to get boring; by adding different ingredients every time you make one, you’ll feel like you’re eating an entirely different meal every day.

5. Homemade Pizza

This is a fun meal that you can make with a group of friends or your roommates after a long day of classes. There are a couple of different ways to make your own pizza dough that you can choose between: buying premade pizza dough or using yogurt as your main ingredient.

No matter which of these options you choose, the fun really comes into play when you start with your toppings. You and your friends can mix and match your ingredients until you find your favorite.

A recipe for homemade pizza is a great way to ease yourself into cooking for yourself because it proves that you can make a satisfying meal with only a few ingredients and even fewer steps to get you to the finished product.

Image via Delish

6. Chicken

If you can learn how to cook a chicken, you will never have to worry about dining hall food again. You can also easily trick people into thinking you are a gourmet chef by taking a simple chicken breast and dressing it up with decorative spices, sides or sauces that will make people think you ordered it from a restaurant.

You first have to start with learning the basics of either frying or grilling a chicken before you can start getting really fancy. Once you master these alarmingly simple techniques, it will be so much easier to make meals for yourself, mainly because your main dish is already done; you just have to customize it to your individual taste to make it your own.

7. Rice

Speaking of sides for a chicken dish, rice is a great place to start. Rice is a great side dish for beginners because it is actually pretty difficult to mess up and it is very filling, so you won’t need to make too much of it or continuously have to buy more at the grocery store.

As far as foods go, rice is pretty basic, but once you figure out how to make it on your stove, you will have the perfect go to side dish for any meal you are preparing.

One other additional fun fact about rice is that it can be made even easier by cooking it in your Keurig.

8. Pasta

Along the same lines, pasta can dress up any meal you make in a fun and tasty way. Even though there are many different kinds, all pastas are made the same; therefore, regardless of the fact that there are more types of pasta than you can even count, you’ll still be able to master each kind once you learn the ridiculously simple steps of cooking pasta.

Pasta is also great because it can be a meal on its own, rather than just being a side dish. If you increase the portions and add a few more sauces and spices, you really don’t need to cook anything else.

9. Veggies

If you have to eat your greens, you might as well find a way to cook them that you might actually enjoy! You could just stick with the basics—raw veggies dipped in Ranch or hummus—or you could take your vegetable game to the next level.

In my opinion, one of the best ways to prepare vegetables is to bake them on a cookie sheet with some salt and olive oil. The subtle flavors are nice because they never overpower your meal, but they give the vegetables an extra little kick that they desperately need.

Image via P&G

10. Mug Desserts

Now let’s talk about everyone’s favor meal: dessert! Since you are probably living in an apartment with several roommates, you know how often our baked goods mysteriously disappear from your shared kitchen. An easy way to fix that problem without having to purchase dessert items is to make desserts for one in any mug you might have lying around.

The ingredients are relatively the same for these special desserts, but the measurements are greatly reduced, making sure that the finished product is the perfect amount for just one person.

Students will also love these recipes because they are so much faster to make than regular baked treats. Instead of having to preheat the oven and wait for what seems like forever before you dessert is ready, all these recipes require is a few seconds in the microwave and then you’re done!

Starting to rely on yourself for food can be scary, but it is a necessary part of growing up and becoming your own person. College is meant to be a transition from adolescence into adulthood, and part of that includes waning yourself off of campus foods and beginning to explore your own kitchen and culinary skills.

Annie Farrell, James Madison University

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Annie Farrell

James Madison University
Writing, Rhetoric & Techincal Communications

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