I Cooked My Own Meals For a Week and This Is What I Learned

Unfortunately, I wasn’t born with the cooking gene that a lot of people I come across seem to possess. I was perfectly content with that fact (the whole idea of being a housewife, while perfectly okay, really isn’t my thing), until I realized that next year I would have an actual kitchen with actual appliances that aren’t just a mini fridge and a microwave, which have definitely become my tools of the trade in the past semesters. Over spring break, I decided that I needed to learn how to make things that aren’t the extremely healthy and nutritious Kraft macaroni and cheese or butter noodles (don’t judge me - I’m on a college budget). I basically spent my spring break as a stay-at-home mom and spent all day researching recipes and all evening cooking them for myself and my family. Here’s what I learned: 

First of all, cooking really isn’t as hard as it looks. People (like me) that say they can’t cook just haven’t found the right recipes. Sure, slicing and dicing to perfection takes skills that I probably won’t have anytime soon, but your basic meat + vegetable + grain in the oven/stove is easy as well as quick to make, even for someone who has barely cooked anything besides boxed food. I learned that not every meal has to be an intricate Thanksgiving dinner like people make it seem, especially as a broke college student that hasn’t seen a real stove in two years. Second of all, I’m just going to state the obvious - freshly cooked food is so so so much better, cheaper and healthier than having to eat out every day. When you look at how much meal plans cost and how much it costs to make a meal and still have leftovers, its a no brainer that cooking your own food is the most efficient choice both for your wallet and your taste buds. It’s so easy to get tired of the same old campus options, but when you have a meal plan that you have to use up, it’s hard to stray from the basics. There are thousands of easy, affordable and actually nutritious meals on Pinterest (my new love) alone, so it’s nearly impossible to run out of ideas, even for picky eaters such as myself.

I actually learned so much last week, and I’m so much more excited to not live in a shoebox anymore next year. I never thought I’d say this, but after coming back to my tiny kitchen-less room and limited meal plan options, I actually really miss cooking for myself. I would have to say that the best, most helpful thing that I’ve learned is that roasted broccoli is the easiest, most amazing food ever, and it will save your life.

Below are a few recipes I've fallen in love with if you ever decide that the cooking life is for you.

 

My Favorite Recipes:

Spicy Chicken and Sweet Potato

Honey Garlic Shrimp

Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Skillet

Teriyaki Glazed Salmon

Lemon Broccoli Pasta Skillet

Photo Credits: Cover, 1