What's Cooking in College?

Moving off campus for sophomore year brought some big changes, including the responsibility of cooking for myself multiple times a day. Though it can be challenging, it’s turned out to be something that I really enjoy. Here are three basic, healthy and easy to alter meals that I love to make.

Spice up your pasta.

First stepcook some pasta. Those directions are right on the box.

While my water is boiling, I like to cut up whatever vegetables we have (zucchini, red and green onion, bell peppers, and asparagus are some of our household favorites). Throw those into a pan with oil and saute on low to medium heat until they’re looking pretty crispy.

I don’t do any measurements but I estimate a two part pasta, one part vegetable amount. This can be adjusted depending on how many or how few vegetables you’d like.

The sauce and protein is where you can make this basic recipe more exciting. Premade tomato sauce, pesto or alfredo are super simple additions.

I like to make quick and tasty homemade alfredo (this is the general recipe that I follow, but I never do actual measurements). The parmesan in the recipe can be switched out with pretty much any other cheese if you’re looking to make homemade mac and cheese.

For protein, chicken is a great addition, otherwise tofu (here’s a simple recipe) tastes great. A quick Google search easily gives different ways to prepare both of those for this dish specifically. I typically only add a protein if there are leftovers from a previous meal to save time.

Toss it all together for a well-rounded, filling meal that can feed a house and even allow for leftovers.

Doing basically the same things but for “stir fry” (please don’t hate me if you’re an actual chef).

First, cook some rice or noodles as you see fit for your dish.

While that’s cooking, prepare and cook the vegetables in the exactly same way and with the exact same “measurements.”

Tossed together, that in itself is a meal. But if you’re looking to make my college-student-taboo version of a stir fry, keep reading.

I then whisk an egg and add that to coat all the rice/ noodles. Sauce is the next step. Premade stir fry sauce is a tasty opinion, and so is a quick homemade peanut sauce, made by throwing one part butter, one part (preferably crunchy) peanut butter on very low heat until melted, and adding a touch of soy sauce.

I then add whatever sauce I’ve chosen and add everything else into a big pan. I’ll then cook another egg in another pan, scrambled into very small pieces, and add that to the big pan to combine everything.

A healthy-ish hash.

Warm up a good amount of oil in a pan. While that’s happening, cut up potatoes into cubes or small strings. Throw in vegetables, I use the same kind as in the other recipes, add about a cup of water, put a lid on, and let steam for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft through the middle and start to get crispy on the outside.

Throw in whatever seasonings you like (salt, pepper and garlic powder are my personal favorites), and either crack an egg or two over it or throw in some meat/ meat substitute or eat as is!

Choosing to cook nearly every meal at home has allowed me to eat healthy (for the most part), spend time with my roommates that I love and find relaxation and enjoyment in preparing a meal.