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I have been living in my college apartment for about two months and cooking meals daily. I wanted to share some of the things I cook in a week, so other people can enjoy them too. One thing I do to save time, but not meal prep, is prepare parts of recipes. For example, I often cook a few servings of rice at a time so I can just heat it up to add to dishes. I also pre-chop some vegetables like those for stir fry and put them in the freezer so I can just heat them up.   

Mango Pancakes
Christin Urso / Spoon

When I was in high school I went to a summer camp and I mostly was unimpressed by the food there, but one morning they had delicious mango pancakes. I have always wanted to make them since but this is the first time I have gotten to it and they were great! I used just-add-water pancake mix. I added an egg because I like my pancakes eggier than the just-add-water mix. I then blended some semi-thawed frozen mango and added that along with some cinnamon to the batter. Then I just cooked them like normal pancakes and served them with maple syrup.

Chicken with gochujang spicy miso sauce and rice

This one was pretty simple, I just smothered a chicken breast with my favorite gochujang spicy miso sauce and put it in a 425° oven for 18-20 minutes turning it over halfway through (I’m pretty sure it’s unnecessary, but it makes me feel better to do). Once it was done and I let it rest, I added more sauce and served it with sauteed zucchini and rice.

Scrambled eggs
Eggs Egg Carton
Jocelyn Hsu / Spoon

I am terrible at making omelets because I just always overcook them, so I prefer making scrambled eggs. I took some of my frozen pre-cut peppers and heated them up in a pan before adding spinach and eggs whisked with a fork.


I used Tostitos medium queso blanco because that is the correct kind. I also sauteed some mushrooms because I wanted something with it, but I was almost out of groceries. This was a great simple meal.


I make my own salad dressing with a recipe from Cookie and Kate. It uses olive oil, garlic, dijon mustard, maple syrup, and vinegar. I recently made a roasted eggplant with tahini sauce, so I added the sauce to my dressing because it was getting low. This made it extra creamy and delicious.

Rice and Beans

I started by heating up a can of black beans in a small pot with oil. Then I added random spices like cumin and chili powder as well as tomatoes. Finally, I used my pre-made rice and put it in the pot to absorb some of the flavors and warm up. This took like 10 minutes and was great after work and I had enough for a few meals.

I like cooking and it is so rewarding when something you cook turns out good. I think preparing some parts of meals ahead of time makes cooking so much easier. I think cooking can be easier than most people think, so it is important to try and remember it’s okay not to be 100 percent precise.  

Kathryn Sobota

Wisconsin '23

UW-Madison '23
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