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Easy Dinner Recipes Once You’re Off the Meal Plan

After moving out of the dorms and into your own space, are you suddenly realizing that you need to cook?

For the past week and a half that I’ve been in my apartment, I’ve realized that it’s hard to balance school and household responsibilities, such as cooking. Thanks to the convenience of Rheta’s market, this wasn’t a problem when living in the dorms. 

I’ve accepted that it’s time I learn to cook. I’m no chef, but I’ve been experimenting with recipes from Tik Tok and Instagram. I’ve found that the most important thing when it comes to balancing school and cooking is to find recipes that can be made in around 30 minutes or less. 

My favorite dishes I’ve cooked so far have been spaghetti and naan pizza. Here are the recipes below:

Spaghetti

Ingredients

  • Spaghetti
  • Garlic
  • Tomato sauce
  • Cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • Onions
  • Cheese (optional)
  • Chili flakes
  • Salt
  1. First, begin by boiling water in a pot and adding the spaghetti. I used about half the box, which lasted me two days. 
  2. In a saucepan, warm up the cherry tomatoes. When they look soft, add a tomato sauce of your choice. Mix together. 
  3. Add minced garlic and thinly sliced onions to the sauce. Continue stirring your sauce until all the ingredients are evenly mixed. 
  4. Add salt and chili flakes according to taste. You can always add more later.  
  5. Finally, add the spaghetti to the sauce and mix well. When you’re ready to eat, feel free to add some cheese on top.
  6. That’s it! Enjoy!

Naan Pizza

Ingredients 

  • Mini naans
  • Pesto sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Tomatoes 
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place your mini naans on a greased baking pan. 
  3. Take about a spoonful of pesto sauce and make a nice, even layer on each naan
  4. Next, add your mozzarella cheese on top. I like to get mozzarella cheese balls, cut them up into slices, and lay them all around the pizza. 
  5. Finally, add any toppings of your choice. I personally like to keep it simple and add only diced tomatoes. 
  6. Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown. 
  7. It’s that easy! Enjoy!

Once again, I’m not a chef, but these are some easy recipes that I’ve found from watching videos and reading through recipes online. It’s hard to manage cooking with school, so having a few quick and easy recipes comes in handy. 

I hope that during my time living in an apartment, I learn some recipes that I can mindlessly whip up. However, it does take lots of practice and experimentation to craft recipes according to your liking. 

Hareem Rauf

Wisconsin '25

I'm a freshman at UW Madison studying Life Sciences Communication.
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