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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

I’ve always been pretty slothful when it comes to preparing meals for myself. Growing up, I had the option of not cooking for myself. In most ways, this was an absolute blessing, but a lot of the time I couldn’t ignore that I was missing out on a crucial life skill.

After moving into an off-campus apartment this fall, I realized my two options were (1) learning how to cook and (2) succumbing to a semester of only takeout or dining hall meals. The decision to choose the first option didn’t require too much thinking: the relative cost-effectiveness and convenience of making meals at home (as opposed to eating out) won me over in a heartbeat

While I have attempted (note: the keyword here is attempted) some more complex meals, these are some recipes that are pretty basic and easy to reproduce when I’m short on time or energy. All the recipes below also contain recipe notes with modifications and alternatives for some ingredients, in case any part of the recipe is inaccessible to you. If you consider yourself a lazy cook but would still like to cook something wholesome and nutritious, look no further!


I adapted this recipe almost entirely from a video by one meal a day. It’s basically the same process, barring a few variations in ingredients. I’m incredibly grateful for this channel in general — they constantly use simple ingredients to produce the most creative and wholesome meals.


  • Cooked rice (1 cup)
  • Spicy hot pepper paste or gochujang (1-3 tbsp, or to taste)
  • Ketchup (1 tbsp, or to taste)
  • Trader Joe’s Soyaki Sauce (1 tbsp, or to taste)
  • Butter (1 tbsp)
  • Egg (1, medium)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Sliced cheddar cheese (1 slice)
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese (¼ cup)
  • (Optional) Parsley flakes (1 tsp, or to taste)
  • (Optional) Smoked paprika powder (1 tsp, or to taste) 


  • Place the cooked rice in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir in the hot pepper paste, ketchup and Soyaki sauce until mixed well.
  • Using a wide spoon, make a small crater in the center of the rice. You should be able to see a circular portion of the base of the bowl right at the center. (Refer to the video above for how this should look!)
  • In the newly created crater, place a tablespoon of butter.
  • Crack the egg and pour the egg into the central crater as well. Season the egg with salt and pepper.
  • Gently place the sliced cheddar cheese on top of the egg. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese onto the cheddar cheese.
  • Place the bowl in the microwave and cook it on high heat for between 2 to 2 ½ minutes — essentially so that the egg cooks, but the yolk still stays mostly runny.
  • Take it out of the microwave and let it cool for a minute or two.
  • Top it with some salt, pepper, parsley flakes, and/or smoked paprika powder if you’d like.
  • Enjoy!

Notes and Modifications

  • You can purchase pre-cooked microwavable rice packs here. These are each ready in 1 minute and 30 seconds, and usually have the perfectly sticky consistency for this recipe. (If you live in the Amherst area, you could also find this at Mom’s House.)
  • My favorite hot pepper paste has to be the CJ Haechandle Gochujang, but you could use any other spicy paste as well. Personally, I love adding Sriracha to this meal.
  • You can play around with the measurements of the sauces as much as you want. Personally, I love mine to be extremely spicy, so I like adding more gochujang than the recipe calls for.
  • Instead of a mix of sliced cheddar and shredded mozzarella, you could also use a shredded Mexican cheese blend.
Veggie Hummus Sandwich

This is super easy to make, and absolutely delicious considering how simple it is. While I’d like to say I came up with this recipe myself, I’m pretty sure there are a dozen variations of it out there, so please do look at those for different flavor ideas!


  • Whole grain bread (2 slices)
  • Hummus (3 tbsp)
  • Avocado (¼ of a whole)
  • Mixed salad leaves (½ cup)
  • Carrot (¼ cup, shredded)
  • Butter (2-3 tbsp)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Dijon mustard (1 tbsp)
  • Garlic paste (1 tbsp)
  • (Optional) Crushed red pepper flakes (1 tsp)


  • Toast one slice of the bread. Spread the hummus over this slice.
  • Mash the avocado to form a paste. Alternatively, dice it into very small slices. Spread the avocado on top of the hummus. 
  • Place the mixed salad leaves and carrots in a non-stick pan and add butter. Season with salt and pepper. Heat on low to medium heat for about 5-10 minutes, or just until they start to soften. If the leaves or carrots start to sizzle or char, add some water and turn down the heat.
  • Once the salad leaves and carrots are soft, drain any excess liquid and place the vegetables on the toasted slice.
  • Spread dijon mustard on the other (untoasted) slice of bread. If you’d like, top the veggie filling with crushed pepper flakes.
  • Put the untoasted slice on top of the veggie filling, and slice the sandwich in half.
  • Enjoy!

Notes and Modifications

  • Instead of avocado, you can use pesto sauce, cashew butter, or mashed butternut squash for similar textures.
  • Instead of garlic paste, you could also mix garlic powder into the dijon mustard for the garlic flavor.
“Upgraded” Creamy Egg Chapagetti

Using packaged noodles as a base is one of the best ways to make meals when you’re in a rush. I love the Nongshim Chapagetti packets, but I must admit I love adding random condiments to them even more than I love the noodles themselves. Here’s my personal take on an “upgraded” version of Chapagetti.


  • Chapagetti (1 package)
  • Sesame oil (3 tbsp)
  • Cream cheese (3 tbsp)
  • Onion powder (2 tsp)
  • Garlic powder (2 tsp)
  • Cayenne pepper (1 tsp)
  • Brown sugar (½ tsp)
  • Egg (1, medium)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • (Optional) Sesame seeds (1 tsp)
  • (Optional) Small scallion slices (1 tbsp)


  • In a frying pan, prepare the Chapagetti as instructed in the “Stovetop Instructions” section of the packaging.
  • Once the noodles are cooked, drain most of the excess water. Lower to medium heat and add sesame oil. Cook the noodles in the sesame oil for a 2-3 minutes.
  • Once the noodles are cooked, reduce heat to a low simmer. Add cream cheese, and stir it in until the noodles acquire the desired creamy consistency.
  • Add onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and brown sugar.
  • Turn the heat back up slightly and add the egg. Stir it in, scrambling it into the noodles. Add some salt and pepper to the egg and noodle mixture. If desired, you can add some more of the other seasonings as well.
  • Keep stirring regularly on low to medium heat for 5 minutes. Once the egg is cooked, turn off the heat.
  • Transfer the noodles into a bowl. If you’d like, top it off with some sliced scallion and sesame seeds.
  • Enjoy!

Notes and Modifications

  • If the noodles or other ingredients stick to the bottom of the pan, add more sesame oil or water to release them. Try to keep the heat between low and medium in order to prevent the noodles from sticking to the pan.
  • If you’d like some stronger and more natural flavors, you could always replace the onion powder with half a medium onion, sliced. You can also replace the garlic powder with 3-5 cloves of minced garlic.

One of the best aspects of cooking is the amount of creativity that goes into the preparation of a single meal, so do not feel limited by any of these recipes. There are so many more modifications that can be made to each one, and I’m pretty sure there are even easier and more delicious varieties out there. I hope you enjoy these recipes, and I hope they inspire you to cook more. Happy eating!

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Madhura Sengupta

U Mass Amherst '23

Madhura is a sophomore majoring in Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She loves film, music, literature, discussions about social issues, and 1990s animated TV series Moomin.