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Collegiette Proof Cooking

For many of UGA students, meals equate to foods requiring no real cooking and are fast (aka Lean Cuisine or cereal). Despite the convenience, these foods get old fast. Many college students claim that they don’t really know how to cook or have the time or money to prepare a wholesome, satisfactory meal. But look no further! Here are two recipes that are not only affordable, but ones that, I promise, are not very time (or labor) intensive. Not only do homemade foods taste better, they’re usually healthier and cost less. In twenty to thirty minutes you can prepare either of these great dishes and impress your friends and roommates! Oh, and did I mention both of these recipes are vegetarian?

Gnocchi with Spinach in Light Lemon Cream Sauce

If you’re not familiar with gnocchi, they’re small, Italian, potato dumplings that can be found in the pasta aisle of any supermarke
t. This is a super quick (and tasty) dish that uses half & half as opposed to heavy cream making it easy on the waistline!

  • 13 ounces of gnocchi
  • 1.5 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 5 ounces of baby spinach
  • 3/4 cup of half & half
  • 1.5 tsp of all purpose white flour
  • 1 tsp grated lemon peel (zest)
  • 2 tsp of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of shredded or grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese


  1. Start cooking gnocchi in a pasta pot of boiling water and continue cooking until al dente. When just tender, drain gnocchi.
  2. While gnocchi is cooking, coat a nonstick large skillet (any large pan works) with olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, spinach, fat free half and half and flour and cook, uncovered, stirring until spinach is wilted. Remove mixture from heat (to let sauce thicken) and whisk in lemon zest and lemon juice.
  3. Add gnocchi to the lemon sauce with spinach mixture and sprinkle Parmesan evenly over the top.

Mississippi Caviar

So not really caviar but this colorful dish works great as an appetizer or a side dish! Remember you can adjust the spices according to your tastes!

  • 8 ounces of dried black-eyed peas or 16 ounces frozen (which is what I use)
  • 1 large red bell pepper cored, seeded and diced
  • 2 green onions, white bulb and 3 inches of green, sliced
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp of dried thyme
  • 1 tsp whit
    e sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of hot sauce (Tabasco, Texas Pete, etc)

*Remember if you’re using dry peas, don’t forget to soak them in cold water overnight.


  1. Place peas in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover pan and cook for 30-45 minutes (until tender).
  2. Drain peas and rinse under cold water.
  3. Place peas in a large bowl and stir in remaining ingredients and toss until well blended.
  4. Let the “caviar” sit at room temperature for a few hours, stirring occasionally. Voila!


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