As colleges begin to announce their plans for fall semester and accompanying new leases are beginning, many students are likely finding themselves with their first kitchens all to themselves.
For those who have spent quarantine diving into the world of homemade sourdough or who grew their own SCOBY for homemade kombucha, this probably is not an intimidating development.
On the other hand, for students who consider microwaving a Hot Pocket to be cooking, the kitchen may seem to be a hopeless location. Inexperienced cooks, fear not! Do not resign yourself to endless days of instant ramen or paychecks depleted by restaurant food. This is the internet age.
An abundance of food blogs await, ready to guide students into the world of cooking. Below is a list of food blogs that suit the particular needs and circumstances of college students. Grab an apron and be prepared to wow yourself (and your housemates).
1. Smitten Kitchen
That recipe you’re looking for? Smitten Kitchen has it. Deb Perelman, the face behind the blog, is the resident mother figure in the world of food blogs. Her reliable recipes always have your back because they are bound to turn out delicious. Started in 2003, the blog houses more recipes than you could need.
If you find this intimidating or you are not searching for a specific recipe, start with the “Best of” page. Here, Perelman offers her best essential recipes. Or, try looking at a particular category, such as “5 ingredients or fewer” and “quick,” perfect for college students working with budgeted time and money.
A recent favorite of mine is her classic strawberry summer cake — the perfect excuse to eat cake for breakfast. If you are looking for something more nourishing, but want to put in the least amount of work possible, try the quick pasta and chickpeas. Craving Panera? Give your wallet a break and whip up this broccoli cheddar soup. On Smitten Kitchen, the options truly are endless.
2. Damn Delicious
With the help of Chungah Ree’s Damn Delicious, you will be noshing on impressive meals that are deceptively simple to make. Her colorful dishes are perfect for beginners and students without much time to cook, as indicated by her slogan, “quick and easy meals for the home cook.” Despite this simplicity, each meal seems like a big warm hug of comfort food.
Students should look toward her meal prep category, which includes meal prep recipes for every meal of the day. This includes breakfast, so it’s time to retire the “I don’t have time for breakfast” excuse.
Also especially useful is the freezer-friendly category. Ree’s freezer-friendly quick tomato sauce guarantees that you will never have to settle for jar pasta sauce again. Be sure to check out other categories, like Asian-inspired, instant pot and slow cooker (if you have the necessary tools). Next on my to-cook list is Korean chicken bowls.
3. Jessica in the Kitchen
If you think that vegan is an antonym for delicious, Jessica in the Kitchen will make you think again. Jessica Hylton’s nourishing plant-based recipes will get you eating your vegetables! The blog’s clean aesthetic and bright food photography make the whole experience, from finding the recipe to eating it, enjoyable.
A good place to start is the blog’s most popular recipe, coconut chickpea curry, rated 4.98/5 stars by 88 reviewers. Hylton also provides sweet options as well, like her banana bread mug cake, which can be whipped up in five minutes. Particularly helpful for students are the blog’s guides, including the collection of vegan dinner recipes ready in under an hour and the list of top purchases for easy meal prep.
Overall, Jessica in the Kitchen is a beautifully crafted blog that will inspire mindful nourishment. Be sure to check it out whether you are plant-based or not.
4. Minimalist Baker
For those with various dietary restrictions — or those who have friends with dietary restrictions — finding recipes can be complicated. Dana Schultz’s Minimalist Baker simplifies this process.
When searching recipes, different restrictions can be chosen as filters. This includes the more typical vegetarian and vegan, but also even more options, such as nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free and soy-free. Furthermore, every recipe posted includes icons under the title so readers can quickly identify what diet it is suitable for.
Dietary restrictions aside, the simplicity and ease of Schultz’s blog make it stand out among food blogs: “Minimalist Baker celebrates simple cooking by sharing recipes that require 10 ingredients or less, 1 bowl, or 30 minutes or less to prepare.” This does not mean its recipes are boring. Most popular on the blog is the recipe for delectable one bowl fudgy banana chocolate chip muffins, which happen to be vegan and gluten-free. Also helpful are Schultz’s guides for kitchen staples — for example, her perfect roasted potatoes.
5. Half Baked Harvest
I don’t feel I am being dramatic when I say that Half Baked Harvest is just as much a work of art as it is a food blog. Tieghan Gerard delivers creative recipes with inventive flavor profiles, but it is her impeccable food styling and photography that really shine.
That being said, many of the recipes require a long list of ingredients and perhaps some more experience in the kitchen. Admittedly, I often spend more time reading the food blog than cooking its recipes. Yet, even if you never use the recipes, it is worth browsing. At only 26, Gerard runs the business, has written two cookbooks and is an inspiration for young people.
Plus, if you do tackle one of her recipes, it will surely be amazing, and you will feel like a bona fide chef. Some of her slightly simpler recipes include this zucchini parmesan pasta and her takeout Thai drunken noodles. Gerard’s coconut sweet potato lentil soup is my current favorite.
6. Hummingbird High
No list of food blogs would be complete without a sweet finish. As a lover of baking and the owner of a huge sweet tooth, I’ve made Hummingbird High my most-visited blog. Creator Michelle Lopez develops her recipes with scientific-like testing to ensure that they are perfect. Every recipe on her blog is a guaranteed keeper.
For those who are intimidated by baking, Lopez outlines each step clearly, eliminating all guess work. Think college students don’t have time to bake? Think again! Many of Lopez’s recipes can be made over the course of multiple nights. In fact, her cookbook, “Weeknight Baking,” shows that baking can be fit into even the tightest schedules.
In response to recent shortages in grocery stores, Lopez has been featuring small batch baking recipes that are perfect for the college student who may not want a mountain of baked goods — though I can’t relate. My go-to recipes from this blog are the blueberry muffins and the snickerdoodles. Hummingbird High never disappoints.
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