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Recipes for starving college students?

I am posting this for my nephew, who is in college in Boston; and appears to be wasting away. He's in a dorm with a kitchen shared by his 3 other roomies. They all (stupidly), elected not to take the food plan this year...somehow they also forgot none of them know anything about cooking. They are dying for some REALLY simple recipes. We're going out to get him a crockpot where he can dump everything in. So, if you have any really easy crockpot recipes, I surely would appreciate them. Also, anything really basic would be great. I mean, he doesn't even know how to make a chicken cutlet! What were these boys thinking! There is a Trader Joes near BC from what I understand, but they can't live off of TJ frozen meals forever. They are also dying for snacky food that is easy to prepare.
I'd appreciate any and all help!

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  1. With a crock pot you can cook almost anything. soups,stews roasts, beans, another dish
    I have made for my 3 sons growing up is corned beef hash, with a pot of beans and either
    a salad or veggies, works for me. and a dessert could be made in the crock pot.

    1. some CHers will scream, but please remember these are beginners who have little time and few untensils.

      Sliced Onion (two onions should be about right for 4 students)
      a pound or so of any kind of meat cut into cubes (beef, lamb, chicken, pork, etc)
      Three Tablespoons (olive) oil
      Maybe some minced garlic, a couple of tablespoons (it comes in jars)
      Cream of mushroom soup (one can should do it)
      Broth or Wine (red or white) or even just water
      Salt, Pepper

      In a large saucepan/frypan Brown the onions and meat in the oil then stir in the garlic and quicly brown. garlic burns fast.
      Pour in the mushroom soup, stirr it around till it picks up the color and flavor from the bottom of the pan.
      Thin to desired consistency with the broth or wine.
      Season to taste

      serve with/over rice, pasta, potatoes, etc.

      7 Replies
      1. re: KaimukiMan

        THAT is the kind of recipe these boys are capable of making! I did find another thread about college students and people suggested giving college students The Joy of Cooking or Ina Gartens cookbooks. I have all of Ina's cookbooks as well as the Joy of Cooking. I feel pretty confident in saying my nephew would not crack any of those cookbooks open. He is pretty inept in the kitchen, but is used to eating good food; we have good cooks in our family. The roommates will eat anything.
        I don't want to make it any harder on him so the easier the better. Thanks for the recipe.

        1. re: mschow

          This is what I used to cook to feed a household or feed me and a friend with leftovers that hold (similar to above):

          Veggie foundation -- onions, chopped (essential), supplement with carrots (good for color, take long cooking), zucchini (great filler, can be chopped large or small depending on cooking time), green bell pepper (foundation) or red (great for color and sweeter, shorter cooking time, celery. Crucial -- garlic.

          Protein -- buy a tube of ground beef and brown, or a couple of cans of solid albacore tuna in water.

          Starch -- some sort of noodles/macaroni or rice.

          Binder -- you know, there really is a use for canned cream of mushroom soup with milk or chicken or beef broth.

          Seasoning -- salt, freshly ground pepper, garlic salt and onion salt, worceshire sauce, maybe some soy or hot sauce.

          Topping -- after everything is cooked and mixed, a half-hour in the oven with breadcrumbs or just cheddar cheese or parmesan on top.

          Supplement -- green salad with iceberg or other lettuce with onions/tomatoes/bean sprouts/bell pepper strips, etc. Or get a small saucepan with an inch of water boiling and add some thin string beans and some petite peas, drain and add a pat of butter.

          Don't forget -- bread. A french bread loaf turned into garlic bread. Toast. Tubes of the cheapest biscuits or crescent rolls. Another hot filler.

          1. re: nosh

            +a million.

            I have a can of peas in the "crucial vegetable" category, but otherwise, I have made that formula a hundred thousand times...it's not fancy, but it's tasty and sustaining.

          2. re: mschow

            It's out of print but available from Amazon: The Campus Survival Cookbook. This is about as basic a cookbook as you could want. No recipe with more than about 7 ingredients. Simple instructions on how to make staples of everyday eating - meat loaf, roast chicken, red sauce, etc.

            1. re: masha

              I've given that same cookbook to several going-to-college students in years gone by. What's really good it it gives a weekly shopping list for all the ingredients needed for the meals and teaches how to use leftovers to make new meals.

              1. re: weezycom

                Agreed. I gave it to my then BF, now husband, an eternity ago, when he was a grad student. One of the first meals he made was the roast chicken, and then used the leftovers for chicken a la king -- still staples in our house.

            2. re: mschow

              I'd suggest Bittman's How to Cook Anything. It's detailed and simple or complex if you want it. It has info on how to boil eggs, etc.

              Also here's a recipe.

              Bean Stroganoff

              A pound of ground beef and one onion chopped or sliced or whatever needs to be done to it to make the pieces somewhat small. Two cloves of garlic, also chopped or smashed.

              Put the onions, meat and garlic into hot frying pan and brown over medium heat. Salt and pepper this mixture to taste.

              Add a beef bouillon cube and about a half a cup of water or half a can of beef broth. Cook this mixture over low heat for a few minutes.

              Add 2 cans of kidney beans and simmer the mixture for another few minutes.

              Turn off the heat and add a half pint of sour cream (or more if you want it really rich). Again simmer this mixture for about 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.

              Another good dish is tamales with chile and hot dogs

              Take frozen tamales (Primavera brand if possible, the giant ones wrapped in white are also okay (they look like fat salamis). You'll need to figure out how many tamales each person can eat (Primavera's are smaller and probably two per person is good. The other ones should be 1 per).

              Unwrap the tamales (take off the plastic and the corn husks covering them. Put them into a baking dish and don't worry if they smush.

              Cover the tamales with Dennison's Chile WITHOUT Beans...probably 2 cans depending on how many you are.

              Chop up enough hot dogs (We use Hebrew National, Millers or Nathans) - figure 2 per person and push them down into the tamales and chile. Sprinkle with sharp cheddar cheese and bake, covered with foil, for about 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes. This sounds gross but is REALLY good.

              Serve sprinkled with chopped up green onions.

          3. This very recent thread has good ideas for them:


            1. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/42375...

              I know I keep posting this - yogurt marinated chicken - but it really is very simple and tasty.

              1. There is a cookbook by Mable Hoffman titled Crockery Cookery. It has some easy recipes in it. It even has a way to make chex mix in the crockpot. It's an old cookbook, but I got one a a half-price bookstore.

                Now I know that the "hounds" totally dismiss Taste-of Home, but this is the time to look there for recipes for the crockpot. There is one on there that has you roasting a chicken in the crock by placing it on a foil coil. It is supposed to come out good and crispy, but I can't say I have tried it.

                1 Reply
                1. re: danhole

                  Ha Ha - I have this cookbook and yeah, it used to get used a lot. Once you get the concept of crockpot, you can really expand on it.

                2. heres a very easy recipe that i (a college student) use.

                  get a french bread loaf from the stores bakery or even better focacia. if youre using the french loaf, slice lengthwise in half. apply a thin layer of ranch dressing to the top surface of the bread/focacia and spread diced chicken (pre-cooked) on top (pre-cooked chicken can be found almost anywhere). next spread diced tomatoes on top of the chicken layer and then add a layer of shredded mozz. cheese. place in a 300 degree oven until cheese is melted. after its out of the oven you can sprinkle on some parm. cheese or green onions if you like. slice and enjoy. its like a cheap/easy version of pizza.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: paloucsd

                    This is a great recipe. Let me also suggest sliced turkey and Italian salami prepared the same way. Both are available all over.

                    You can also make a great fall/winter soup to serve with french bread brushed with olive oil and then sprinkled with parmesan and toasted in the oven.

                    Brown one large chopped onion and a couple of cloves of garlic. Add a couple of carrots chopped roughly. Add a quart of chicken stock. Add a couple of cans of kidney beans, cannellini beans, black beans, or navy beans to this mix (you can also use a couple of different kinds in one soup). Add a small can of chopped tomatoes or whole tomatoes smushed up in your hands. If you have, or want to buy, bay leaf and thyme, add one leaf and a pinch of thyme to the soup. Simmer this for a while.

                    Add several sliced sausages - polish sausage, linguica, chorizo, or Italian. If you use Italian, you should brown them a bit in a frying pan. Simmer the soup for a while.

                    Serve with a bowl of grated parmesan to sprinkle over the soup and with the toasts which you can eat alongside or break into pieces and make into croutons to put into the soup.

                  2. My son was in this situation last year and he relied on take-out and because I live close by, about every 2 weeks I would make a big batch of something for him and his roommates. My daughter is in a house this year with 8 girls and she said she is buying a lot of microwaveable meals, although I bought them some cookbooks designed for college kids and I will be bringing over food as I did for my son.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: bakerboyz

                      Thank you. Unfortunately, he is too far away for us to deliver food!

                      1. re: mschow

                        Just as well, IMO. :) He should learn a few nice simple recipes now! He'll impress the ladies when he cooks something tasty for 'em. :)

                        1. re: Morganna

                          I think his mom and his Italian grandmother (passed away last year), spoiled him with food. Nana was like the gestapo in the kitchen; nobody could do anything right, so we all stayed out when she was in there! So, he can make a sandwich and not much else. His sister (also in college), is just as useless in the kitchen as he is. She has a TJ almost across the street and spends way too much time and money over there!

                    2. A few recipes that have proven helpful in college for their simplicity and cost-effectiveness:

                      Eggs in Purgatory
                      1 jar spaghetti sauce
                      3 eggs
                      Heat spaghetti sauce over medium heat until sputtering. Crack eggs directly into sauce and cook until whites have set. Serve on top of bread or spaghetti.

                      Pork shoulder
                      Pork shoulder
                      BBQ sauce
                      Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heavily salt the outside of the pork shoulder. Rub pepper to taste. Cook in oven for 2 hours. For final 30 minutes, occasionally baste with BBQ sauce.

                      College Chicken Cacciatore
                      2 Tbsp. olive oil
                      2 lbs. chicken legs and thighs
                      3 cloves garlic, minced
                      1 sm. onion, sliced
                      1 jar marinara sauce
                      1/3 c. water
                      2 Tbsp. BBQ sauce
                      1 Tbsp. red pepper flakes
                      1 sm. bell pepper, chopped
                      8 oz. mushrooms
                      parmesan cheese
                      Heat olive oil in pot. Fry legs and thighs until browned. Set aside. Fry garlic and onions until brown. Return chicken to pot with accumulated juices, along with water, BBQ sauce and pepper. Simmer for 30 min. uncovered, stirring occasionally. Add green peppers and after 5 minutes add mushrooms. Cook an additional minute. Garnish with cheese. Serve with garlic bread or pasta.

                      Frito casserole
                      1 lb. ground beef
                      1 sm. onion, minced
                      8 oz. can red enchilada sauce
                      1 large bag fritos
                      1 large bag shredded taco cheese
                      8 oz. sour cream
                      Preheat oven to 350. Brown ground beef in a pan with chopped onion. Drain juices. Combine with enchilada sauce and fritos in a casserole. Top with sour cream and cheese. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve.

                      Basic chicken and pork adobo
                      1 lb. chicken legs and thighs
                      1 lb. pork stew
                      1 c. vinegar
                      1/2 c. soy sauce
                      1 c. water
                      1 Tbsp. sugar
                      1 Tbsp. hot sauce (or red pepper flakes)
                      3 garlic cloves, smashed
                      2 bay leaves
                      12 peppercorns
                      Combine all ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Serve with rice. (For advanced: remove chicken when cooked and continue to cook pork for an additional 20 min. or until tender. Place meat in a baking pan and broil until browned. Meanwhile reduce sauce by half. Return meat to sauce and serve.)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: JungMann

                        Thanks for all those, appreciate your taking the time.

                        1. re: JungMann

                          JungMann, I'm trying your recipe out this week. I think I'm going to marinate the meats for 2 days, which from what I've read elsewhere online, would not be totally wack?

                          I'm sure it's total heresy, but I skinned the chicken. It seems there should still be plenty of fat in the stew overall.

                        2. They have a kitchen, is there a functioning oven, and are they willing to put some money into some spices or spice blends to have on hand? You can do a LOT with the same basic ingredients and a variety of spice/herb blends.

                          1. This is not exactly a gourmet delight, but it is easy, will feed a small crowd, and is generally liked by college students.
                            --Break up two tubes of refrigerated biscuits (I warned you that it wasn't gourmet!) and spread around a 9x13 greased pan
                            --Brown a pound of ground beef and sprinkle over biscuits
                            --Pour over a jar or two of spaghetti sauce
                            --Add whatever other pizza toppings you like or have around: onions, peppers, etc.
                            --Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes.

                            This is a very forgiving recipe: kids can add or subtract ingredients, alter the amounts, and still end up with something fairly edible. The good news is that they become better cooks and eaters as time goes on!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: chocoannie

                              When I was in college - not too many years ago - I created something similar to this that was ALWAYS requested for our football viewing parties. Here's what I did:

                              Container of pop-open pizza dough.
                              Un-roll this out over a loaf pan with the sides draped over the long edges.
                              Tip: I'd get a disposable aluminum one if I was taking it to a party...then I could leave it and not have to remember to take home my dish.

                              Then fill this cavity with any toppings you'd put on a pizza along with a bit of spaghetti sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese.
                              Suggestion: I'd usually get a few links of mild sausage at the grocery, take the outside casings off and brown in a skillet. Then add in black olives and mushrooms...but it'd also work with ham & pineapple or whatever combination you like.

                              Then wrap the edges up over the filling and press together with your fingers. Then bake according to package directons on the dough wrapper.

                              I usually let it cool a bit while everyone was devouring chips & salsa or other appetizer. Once it's almost room temp I'd take the whole 'loaf' out and slice like bread. Serve one hearty slice (~1.5" thick) with a side of salad-in-a-bag per guest. I suggest Italian dressing - it's the one dressing I found is liked by the most number of people...that way you don't waste a ton of money of a dozen different selections.

                              This dish is surprisingly filling...and leftovers make a great breakfast in the toaster oven.

                            2. Pasta With Tuna, Tomato, & Green Olives Recipe #199920
                              Terrific recipe from Fine Cooking. Basically everything can be found in the pantry, so easy and quick for a weeknight meal.
                              by spatchcock
                              25 min 15 min prep
                              4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
                              2-3 large garlic cloves, minced
                              1 pinch hot red chili pepper flakes
                              3 tablespoons finely minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
                              2 cups canned tomatoes with juice, very finely chopped
                              1 teaspoon fennel seeds (crushed in a mortar or spice grinder)
                              1 (6-7 ounce) can imported tuna in olive oil, well drained and very finely minced
                              1/3 cup pitted and quartered green olives (not with pimentos)
                              3/4 lb dry penne pasta or rigatoni pasta or spaghetti or perciatelli
                              Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Heat 3 Tbs. of the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over moderate heat. Add the garlic, chile flakes, and 2 Tbs. of the parsley and sauté briefly to release the fragrance of the seasonings. Add the tomatoes and fennel seed. Bring to a simmer, adjust the heat to maintain the simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick and well blended, about 10 minute.
                              Stir in the minced tuna and then the olives. Season with salt and remove from the heat while you cook the pasta.
                              Cook the pasta in rapidly boiling water. When the pasta is a few minutes away from being finished, return the tomato sauce to moderate heat and add enough of the hot pasta water -- about 2/3 cup -- to thin the sauce to a nice consistency. Keep the sauce warm over low heat.
                              When the pasta is about 1 minute shy of al dente, scoop out and set aside 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta. Return the pasta to the hot pot and stir in the sauce. Cook together over moderately low heat for about 1 min., stirring and adding some of the reserved pasta water if needed to thin the sauce. Take the skillet off the heat and stir in the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. Serve the pasta immediately in warm bowls, garnishing each portion with a little of the remaining parsley.

                              1. Another great one. We love this even now!
                                Ramen Fried " Rice" Recipe #34716
                                This is like fried rice but it's done more quickly! We love this about once a week!
                                by spatchcock
                                10 min 5 min prep
                                1 (3 ounce) package pork-flavored ramen noodles (or smoked ham flavor or oriental flavor)
                                1/2 cup frozen peas
                                2 eggs, beaten
                                1 teaspoon sesame oil
                                1 pinch white pepper
                                1 tablespoon peanut oil
                                4 green onions, finely chopped
                                1 teaspoon chopped garlic
                                1/2-1 cup diced roast pork (optional) or cooked chicken (optional) or shrimp (I use tofu if I include this at all, optional, optional) (optional) or tofu (I use tofu if I include this at all) (optional)
                                1 tablespoon soy sauce
                                Break the noodles into about 6 pieces into a bowl, sprinkle with the contents of the seasoning packet and pour boiling water over to cover.
                                Stir a bit and let soak while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
                                Rinse peas with hot water in a colander to defrost.
                                Mix together the eggs, sesame oil, and pepper and set aside.
                                Heat a wok or large skillet and add the oil.
                                Add the garlic and green onions and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
                                Add optional meat and peas and stir fry until hot, about 1 minutes.
                                Drain the noodles well, add to the skillet and stir fry for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
                                Stir in the soy sauce until well distributed.
                                Pour the eggs into the skillet and continue to cook and stir, until the bits of egg are cooked.
                                Serve at once.

                                1. If they aren't looking for gourmet and need easy food when they finished with classes, no real prep work, here's a couple:

                                  Easy Easy Chicken and Vegies
                                  3 carrots, sliced, 3 stalks celery, sliced, 1 large onion, cut into thin wedges, 3 cups cubed cooked chicken, 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup, 3/4 cup chicken broth - Place vegetables in the bottom of slow cooker. Top with chicken. Add the soup and broth. (No need to mix). Cover and cook for 4 to 6 hours on low.

                                  Really Easy Pot Roast
                                  6 small potatoes, 6 small onions, 6 medium carrots, 1 boneless beef chuck roast (approximately 3 pounds), Salt and pepper (any other favorite seasonings), 1 cup water or beef stock. Combine all in crockpot - low for 8 hrs.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: lexpatti

                                    Since my son is almost in the same situation I really sympathize (except he has cooking facilities and is on too much of a meal plan). Chili works really well with a crock pot (although I make mine without).

                                    Brown 1 pound ground beef. Drain.
                                    Throw beef and all the following into pot and cook (3 hours on the stove, probably 5 or 6 I'd think in a crock pot but you can't overcook so who cares)
                                    2 tsp minced onion
                                    3 TB chili con carne seasoning
                                    1 C solid pack diced tomato (without the juices but save the juice)
                                    2 C water or the juice left from the tomatoes or tomato juice or any combination
                                    3/4 tsp salt
                                    1 1/2 tsp paprika
                                    2 cans chili beans or kidney beans or combination (rinsed)
                                    If they like spicy add a few dried chilis (no more than 1 or 2)

                                    This recipe is very forgiving. Serve with saltines or something like that.

                                    1. re: SharonOhio

                                      Yum! We'd serve this straight-up for the first 'round'... BUT the next day, after the flavours have ben able to meld was REALLY great. We'd make Frito Pie with what was left.

                                      Sprinkle frito corn chips in bottom of cereal bowl. Heat up left over chili in pot on stove until bubbly. Pour over Fritos and top with chredded cheddar cheese. YUM! Great for cold days!

                                  2. In grad school I lived off of 7 layer dip and baked potatoes. I could cook, but just didn't feel like doing it. Quesadillas, crockpot chicken with salsa. Baked sweet potatoes.

                                    1. I lived with four guys in a house whilst going to college. Our main goal, when not eating takeout, was to minimize the number of dishes used. Hence, our pasta recipe:

                                      Heat the largest pot you have filled 3/4 with water, and some salt.

                                      Pour in all the pasta the pot should hold (obviously will depend on size of pot, but they're university students, they should be able to do the arithmetic, right?)

                                      When pasta is cooked, pour through colander, rinse pot, and dry (1 dish done)

                                      Place colander in fridge (if not eating now)

                                      When you want to eat:

                                      1 - Turn on sink taps to hottest hot, running full
                                      2 - Put sauce pan of water on stove to boil
                                      3 - Put colander of pasta under running water in sink; turn occasionally
                                      4 - Put opened jar of bottled (cough *ragu* cough) pasta sauce in pot
                                      5 - Drain pasta, and distribute amongst plates for diners
                                      6 - When pasta sauce is hot, pour over plates
                                      7 - Eat; when done, pasta sauce jar should be cool, cover and put back in fridge

                                      Total utensils used: one pot for pasta (once), one plate and one fork per diner per meal; one colander (per week, or however long pasta lasts)

                                      This, and other interesting recipes, will be in my upcoming "Cooking for Guys" (TM).

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: KevinB

                                        When we had our first college apartment, we had little money and no cooking experience, hence all of our meals were cooked in one dish and they all contained Velveeta and usually some variety of Campell's soup. Healthy? No. Eatable? Very. Some of our banner dishes:

                                        Egg and Potato casserole - Hard boil eggs and cut up potatos, until potatos are cooked. Put in a baking dish with a can of cream of mushroom soup, mustard and Velveeta. Bake at 350 until bubbly. Serve with a nicely chilled glass of water.

                                        Tuna Casserole - Mix canned tuna with cream of celery soup, cooked noodles and frozen peas. Top with Velveeta and something crunchy. (Saltines, cereal, etc) Bake at 350 until bubby.

                                        Cheese Souffle - Tear 2 loaves of old french or italian bread into chunks and soak in a mixture of 2 cups milk and 6 eggs, salt and pepper and mustard. Mix in lots of Velvetta and bake at 350 until bubbly.

                                        You can see the common thread that ran through most of our meals. The bottom line is that we fed ourselves and spent very little money, and no fast food meals.

                                        1. re: KevinB

                                          This made me laugh because when I was in grad school I had a roommate that lived off of restaurant food or frozen creamed spinach. One day she asked me if we had the right kind of pot to cook spaghetti - we had a kitchen full of pots. Then I realized she didn't know how to cook pasta! Made me grateful for parents that forced us to help out in the kitchen. At least we knew how to cook!

                                        2. I guarantee this will be a hit - Kraft Mac & Cheese - prepare according to instructions on box. Drain and add one can of tuna. Drain and add one can of peas. Keep over low heat for about a minute, stirring gently just to warm the peas. Instant Tuna Casserole!!! And dinner for two at well under $5 !

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: BigSteve

                                            On that same note, instead of the tuna & peas, store bought roasted chicken (sans bones) can be added with a little curry powder or cumin or other seasoning for an equally easy and quick meal. It isn't less than $5 since the chicken would bump up the price, but the chicken, which probably wouldn't be used up in this one dish, could go towards another meal.

                                            1. re: BigSteve

                                              Ah, that brings back memories! I went off meal plan my sophomore year of college (thinking that walking a mile each way to the market and back was a good idea? Really? And on the East coast? I try, but I really can't remember what I did when it snowed, since I know I never took the bus or trolley, and I didn't have my car with me then..). I used to do simple stir fries or pasta dishes, and the occasional pan-fried chicken or fish dish (if I couldn't carry it home from the market, I didn't make it.. and I only went to the market once a week). However, one of the guys the floor above me apparently went off meal plan and cooked even less than I did, for nearly every single night, he made Kraft Mac & Cheese with some tuna, and ate it straight out of the pot. I saw his stash - he had Costco-sized stores of both.

                                              1. re: jacinthe

                                                I began cooking "one-pot" meals for that same reason. A pot and a spoon, maybe a knife, eat out of the pot...ah, the simple things in life. (It was the reduced clean-up I liked the best). It has had a long lasting effect on me, I still like cooking one-pot dishes to this day.

                                              2. re: BigSteve

                                                To dress up left-over mac-n-cheese or to stretch that one last box of Mac-n-cheese between you and the roomies until the next grocery run, try adding in 1/2 jar of salsa (probably left over from the last football game party). Heat on stove till warm and bubbly. It makes left-overs more moist and edible...and for a full box, it adds a nice kick. (Note: if your mac-n-cheese left overs are REALLY dry from over-cooking the original recipe, try adding a bit of milk or even a slice of American or velveeta to 'cream it up'.) Enjoy!

                                                1. re: BigSteve

                                                  Frozen peas work particularly well in this recipe, and you can buy a bag of them and use as many or as few as you need, and then keep the rest in a ziploc bag. Economizing is key to surviving college.

                                                  And if you want to get really fancy, you can take the whole thing and put it in a casserole dish and pt cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs on top and put it under the broiler for five a few minutes.

                                                2. For an easy-to-prepare and inexpensive snack, teach him how to make popcorn.

                                                  Place a large pot (that has a cover) on the stove. Turn the heat on high. Put in enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pot thinly. Add three popcorn kernels. Put the cover on the pot. When the first kernel pops add enough more popcorn to cover the bottom of the pot in a single layer. Turn the heat down to medium, cover the pot with a small crack at the top so steam can escape, and shake the pot periodically (maybe every 30 seconds or so).

                                                  When the pops become less frequent than one per 15 seconds or so it's done.

                                                  Pour popcorn into a bowl. If you want butter on it, stick a few tablespoonsful of butter into the still hot pan until it melts, then pour over popcorn.

                                                  Add salt or other seasonings to taste.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Euonymous

                                                    An even cheaper, possibly healthier version of the popcorn is:

                                                    Place 3 Tablespoons popping corn in paper lunch bag...scrunch or fold top closed...lay in microwave...cook for 2 to 3 minutes on high or the microwave popcorn setting....top with a little melted butter & salt while still hot or even parmesan cheese, herbs, powdered cheese, whatever! It works...I didn't believe it til I tried it and now will not go back to pots on stove, oil, etc. Just a suggestion!

                                                    1. re: Val

                                                      Maybe, but I don't think that's going to make enough for four college-age boys. <g>

                                                  2. Here are two of my favorites from when I was a student. Actually, it's essentially the same recipe made two different ways.

                                                    He will need: a package of Ramen noodles or a package of Kraft mac and cheese, a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, a package or Perdue shortcuts already-cooked-and-sliced chicken strips.

                                                    Instructions for mac-and-cheese option: Cook noodles according to package directions, but toss in some frozen vegetables (as much or as little as he likes) a few minutes before the end of cooking time. When done, drain water and stir in milk, butter, and cheese sauce mix according to package directions. Finally, stir in chicken strips and cook on low just for a minute or two until chicken is warmed through.

                                                    Instructions for Ramen soup option: Cook noodles according to package directions (you can use two packages if you want, since it'll be pretty heavy on the chicken if you use only one), tossing in frozen vegetables a few minutes before the end of cooking time. Add seasoning packet(s) and stir in chicken until warmed through.

                                                    These are incredibly easy and not too bad tasting when you're a poor student and don't know any better.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: glacier206

                                                      Another Ramen-based recipe - for breakfast, or anytime of the day.

                                                      Cook 1 package ramen noodles according to package directions and drain (do not add seasoning packet, yet).
                                                      In a frying pan, cook scrambled eggs.
                                                      Once the eggs are almost cooked through, add noodles and seasoning packet. Stir. Eat.
                                                      Can be made with as many packets of noodles and eggs as needed. It really is good!!

                                                      1. re: WildSwede

                                                        I am in my late twenties, and in the past year, every guy I know has confessed that he eats "ramen with egg" for several meals a week. I had never heard of it, but apparently it's been feeding all my dates for close to ten years.

                                                    2. Do they know how to cook rice and pasta? A quick tutorial on that might be helpful if they are that inexperienced. One poster mentioned chilli which is a great idea for college guys.

                                                      1. IF they have a low setting on the oven, fool proof, medium-rare roast beef is easy. Take 1 square cut rump roast (or eye of round), put it in a roasting pan/9x13 pan/pan with high-ish sides. Put it in the oven at 150 degrees. Go away for several hours (at least 6, up to 12). Take pan out of oven (use oven mitts!). Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Take meat out, place on cutting board and slice. Serve with vegetables.

                                                        For easy spaghetti sauce--For 4 guys I'm guessing 3 cans of crushed tomatoes (look for Muir Glen if possible). Take 2T. olive oil, put in large fry pan or medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add 5 cloves minced garlic and cook briefly (burns easily). Pour in cans of tomatoes. Cook over medium heat and simmer until slightly thickened (not too watery). While the tomatoes simmer, season with salt, pepper, dried basil and oregano (crush in fingertips). Taste and if it's a little sharp, add a pinch or 2 of sugar, to taste. Before you start the sauce you can get a large pot of water to boil. When boiling, add about 1 pound-1 1/2 pounds spaghetti and cook according to the box directions. Serve with garlic bread and salad.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: gourmanda

                                                          Do you cover the roast with foil? Any liquid in the pan?

                                                        2. How about stacked enchiladas. Brown ground beef or buy a rotiserrie chicken and layer with tortillas, salsa or enchilada sauce, shredded cheese and refried beans--throw in the oven for 30 minutes. And leftovers freeze well.

                                                          1. I would also suggest an easy chicken parmesan. Guys love it and it can be made fairly simple. Buy chicken cutlets, dip in a beaten egg, coat with italian seasoned breadcrumbs (yes, purchased--these boys aren't going to make their own) and fry in skillet for a few minutes each side in olive oil/butter. Take out the cutlets, heat pasta sauce in skillet, replace cutlets and top with parm and mozzarella. Cover for a few minutes until melted. Meanwhile cook pasta and serve with chicken.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: jules127

                                                              Even easier, just buy pre-breaded chicken patties.

                                                              1. re: jules127

                                                                I agree with Pika. I used to get chicken tenders at the dining hall, or the frozen ones at the grocery store. I would take them home, heat them in the microwave, then put a little jarred spaghetti sauce on them, with cheese on top, put them in the toaster oven, and then put the whole mess on toasted French bread. I loved these fake chicken parm sandwiches. I ate them with "salad." "Salad" is cut up veggies from the store and some kind of dressing. Sounds bad, but I never gained the freshman fifteen.

                                                              2. Sorry, but when I went to BC I found that an electric coffee pot could cook soup or even stew if left on while at classes, hot dogs came out ok as well, an iron was better at making grilled cheese and hamburgers than working on clothes and that "dinty moore"
                                                                could be heated in the can with sterno.....oh god how did I survive...i'm getting ill thinking of it now. The truth is we thought it was great and that we were brilliant... but that was the 60s

                                                                1. My roommates and I lived off of lo mein for a while. It can be easily prepared in a skillet.

                                                                  1 pkg spaghetti or lo mein noodles
                                                                  1/2 bag frozen veggies or 1 can stir fry blend, drained
                                                                  chicken pieces if you can afford it
                                                                  soy sauce
                                                                  mirin if you're fancy, chicken broth if you're not

                                                                  You can also use beef and 1/2 jar beef gravy or substitute tofu for chicken.

                                                                  Serve with homework and thick coffee.

                                                                  1. here's another soup - very fresh tasting and surprisingly good. i'll still make in a pinch with staples. it was a classic in med school when i had no time or money but wanted things that tasted good..

                                                                    "pam" the bottom of a saucepan and add a teaspoon - tablespoon (depending on taste) of cumin
                                                                    add a cut up zucchini and yellow squash and saute until golden
                                                                    add some cut up carrots
                                                                    pour in 2 big cans chicken broth
                                                                    add a can of diced tomatoes with chiles (or you can do them separate)
                                                                    add a can of red or kidney beans, drained
                                                                    add leftover, canned or shredded rotisserie chicken
                                                                    let cook 15 minutes
                                                                    add a can of corn
                                                                    let cook 5 minutes more
                                                                    add a whole bunch of cilantro shredded and just warm through

                                                                    i serve with sour cream garnish and chips/salsa/guac on the side
                                                                    the original recipe had tortillas and cheese stirred into the soup - i like it "fresher" than that but college boys might like it that way.

                                                                    really it's EASY and good and pretty healthy. :)

                                                                    1. after you get him a crockpot .it would also be nice to get him some gift cards to the local supermarket.
                                                                      teach him how to make oatmeal, big batches he can eat throughout the week, also pasta is affordable & easy, show him the whole wheat pastas for xtra nutrition, also teach him how to boil eggs. great snacks.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: cmarie

                                                                        I know this isn't cooking really...but in the frozen section, I saw Marie Callendar & Banquet are now selling 'crock pot' ingredients all in a bag. I haven't tried it myself, but if he'll have a crock pot anyway, this may be a good 'no cook' meal to do in it. The directions basically say "dump in crcok pot, turn on and leave for 8 hours". This sounds great for exam time!

                                                                      2. Here's what got me through my senior year of college:
                                                                        I took some canned black beans, heated them up on the stove with a half jar or so of salsa, and served over white rice (from the local takeout place, although if he can handle making his own, that's great). If frying up an onion isn't out of the question, that adds some great flavor, too. If they like spicy, adding some hot sauce or using extra spicy salsa will work well. Leftover beans are great as a snack with tortilla chips.

                                                                        1. Look for "Fix it and Forget it" by Ranck and Good, a crockpot cookbook filled with simple recipes from appetizers to beverages and desserts, or "500 Five Ingredient Recipes" from Better Homes and Gardens, available used from $3.94 plus s&h on Amazon.com.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: MobyRichard

                                                                            Yes, I was going to suggest "fix it and forget it." There's actually several of them now, including one of lower-fat recipes. And breakfast recipes are included.

                                                                          2. Just a little aside....give him a fondue set for Christmas....that way he can make what look like fancy dishes for "date night"--my son impressed many a date with chocolate fondue that was nothing more than melted chocolate with strawberries and some other goodies around it.....pretty amusing.

                                                                            1. I cooked a lot in college, but for someone not so good at it how about chicken fajitas, tons of recipes they can even get bags of already cut pepper and onion if that is too much for them, and if they can't cut up chicken use shortcuts. They were always fun, easy to make and good.

                                                                              Also there was this recipe that is kind of bad for you but so yummy it was on the hungry jack rolls and was called hungry jack casserole I will see if I can find that recipe I haven't made it in forever...

                                                                              Not crockpot, but very simple.

                                                                              1. Here's an easy recipe that took me through college and the first years of my marriage and on to fussy toddlers. :)

                                                                                Brown a pound of ground beef, drain
                                                                                add a box (8 oz.) of your choice of pasta - elbows, penne, etc., cooked
                                                                                add a 2 cans of stewed tomatoes with onions, green peppers and celery.
                                                                                You can also added extra onions, peppers and celery for a more "fresh" taste. Onions and peppers are readily available here in Boston already chopped in the frozen food section in supermarkets. I never met anyone who didn't like this.

                                                                                1. I had my roommies hooked on Ruben sandwiches. Meatloaf is always easy. Homemade meatballs with spaghetti, bread and a dinner salad.

                                                                                  When I went to college my mom got me a cook book called Where's Mom Now That I Need Her. It was very helpful and had many easy recipes (as well as household hints and basic first aid tips). There is even basic cooking info on things like boiling eggs properly (yes, some people really don't know how to do this). Every now and then I still refer to it, our favorite is the easy chicken pot pie.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: amy_rc

                                                                                    I got that from my Mom too. Now I'm handing it over to my daughter.

                                                                                  2. Baked potatoes are easy and cheap -- scrub, prick, bake directly on oven rack at 350 to 400 until soft when pierced (about 1 hour). Can be topped with all kinds of things.

                                                                                    Tell them to watch for spiral-sliced ham to go on sale at their supermarket. Unwrap, discard all wrappings including glaze packet, put flat side down in a lasagna pan (giving them a really solid one would be a great kindness), cover with aluminum foil and heat slowly (300) in oven for about 45 minutes. This will be great with whatever veggies hot out of the oven and equally great cold for sandwiches or with other veggies (or just picked at) the next day.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                      The baked potato idea is great. If they have a freezer, they could make up a bunch of potatos, fill with vegies, cheese or meat (maybe with help from you on the fillings?) and freeze. Then pop out of the freezer and bake or microwave.

                                                                                      One thing I did when I was in law school was make up a kind of sloppy joe mixture with ground beef. I put pineapple, mushrooms and I think a chili sauce in it. Then I froze that mixture in little sandwich bags. For lunch or dinner at school, I would just microwave one of my little bags of meat mixture (in a paper cup) and put over bagels for a quick sandwich. Also made up meatloaf slices in the freezer the same way and used them for quick meatloaf sandwiches.

                                                                                    2. easy mac and little smokies. Easy enough for a 3 year old to make since everything is precooked. Delicious. Also very very Healthy!

                                                                                      1. Easiest crockpot recipe possible:

                                                                                        1 lb boneless chicken breasts
                                                                                        1 can of cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup
                                                                                        1 small can of mushrooms
                                                                                        1/4 cup white wine
                                                                                        a dash of pepper

                                                                                        Cover the chicken with soup, mushrooms, and wine mixed together. Add pepper. Cook on low for about 8 hours. Serve over rice.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: shellyesq

                                                                                          Take a chicken boneless breast wrap in bacon cover with cream of mushroom and sour cream bake for an hour serve over buttered egg noodles

                                                                                        2. Tuna-Roo
                                                                                          1 can tuna
                                                                                          1 can either cream of mushroom or cream of chicken or cream of whatever you like
                                                                                          8 oz pasta

                                                                                          Boil pasta. Drain. Add in drained tuna and cream of XX soup. Stir until hot. Eat out of the pan or use a plate. Scale up as needed. Also, you can add in whatever frozen/defrosted/fresh veggies are on hand: broccoli, peas, etc.

                                                                                          Spinach Ricotta Pasta
                                                                                          Ricotta Cheese
                                                                                          Frozen spinach
                                                                                          Cook pasta, Drain. In the same pot, add ricotta cheese, butter and drained (and squeezed) frozen spinach with s/p to taste. Add as much cheese and spinach as you like. Again, a one pot meal that gets in a serving of vegetables!

                                                                                          1. Another easy crockpot recipe:

                                                                                            1 package of skinless chicken thighs and/or legs, depending on the size of your crockpot
                                                                                            1-2 cans of diced tomatoes (the kind with garlic and Italian seasoning is best)
                                                                                            1 can of tomato paste
                                                                                            1-2 cans of canned corn
                                                                                            Whatever other vegetables you like
                                                                                            Additional seasoning if it's not already in the diced tomatoes

                                                                                            Dump everything in the crockpot, stir to cover chicken with tomatoes. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Serve with rice or noodles.

                                                                                            Note: boneless chicken tends to get dried out in crockpots, so bone-in is best for this recipe. Skinless is best because there's no way for skin to get crispy; it just gets kind of slimey.

                                                                                            1. 1) beef or pork butt/roast-1 can of beer-1 pkg of lipton onion soup mix. put in crockpot and let cook 8-10 hrs on low. 1 large roast should last 4 boys 2 meals worth. one day serve shredded meat on sandwiches, next day serve with juice over pasta and if any left add vegis and make soup.

                                                                                              2) sounds gross but taste like lasagna. 8oz cream cheese, 1lb cooked ground beef or italian sausage, 1 jar of sauce (i like barilla with basil). put in crockpot 1-2 hours or cook over stove top, when ready to eat 1st guy makes the pasta then as others are ready they just take the hot sauce from crockpot.

                                                                                              3) chili-just tell them to buy the packet and follow the directions.

                                                                                              4) Bake potatoes in crock pot-Prick pots with fork. Wrap them in foil. Fill Crock-Pot with 6 to 12 potatoes. Cover. Go away. Cook on Low 8 to 10 hours (High: 2 1/2 to 4
                                                                                              hours]. Come back. DO NOT ADD WATER. I find bake potatoes a great way to stretch any leftovers..just pour over the potato add cheese and dinner!

                                                                                              5) tacos!

                                                                                              IF adventours tell boys when browning meat brown as much as they can at one time and throw bags of cooked brown meat in freezer. Saves so much time!

                                                                                              If they can have an electric skillet or george forman grill it may open up another whole batch of fixins...burgers, grilled cheese....

                                                                                              1. Chicken and Dumplings-
                                                                                                1 can chicken stock
                                                                                                1 can chicken gravy
                                                                                                1 bag frozen veggie mix or fresh of their choice
                                                                                                boneless chicken or chicken pieces
                                                                                                1 tube Pillsbury biscuits- each cut into 4 smal squares

                                                                                                Bring stock and frozen veggies to a boil.
                                                                                                Once veggies are getting soft, add all the gravy.
                                                                                                Stir to combine.
                                                                                                Lower heat and allow to simmer.
                                                                                                After 5 minutes, ad chicken
                                                                                                Stir again.
                                                                                                When chicken begins to cook ( ie-starts to look white), add small squares of biscuit.
                                                                                                Allow to simmer until chicken is cooked through, veggies are soft and biscuits are firm.
                                                                                                Makes great left-overs, too.

                                                                                                1. Thank you everyone for these great ideas! I'll post back when I hear if they have made anything!

                                                                                                  1. This isn't so much a recipe as a college survival suggestion. One thing I couldn't afford was spoiled food. My budget was VERY tight.

                                                                                                    Tip: wrap celery sticks (sliced and cleaned) in aluminum foil. It keeps for weeks this way...crisp and fresh...I have no idea why.

                                                                                                    Tip: Splurge a bit more to buy the Ziplock Fresh Protect bags for all fresh veggies...especially romaine lettuce. It keeps veggies at the perfect moisture content to prevent rotting for a few weeks.

                                                                                                    Tip: Buy a big block of cheddar cheese (like from Sam's club) shred it (or buy pre-shredded) and freeze in small ziplock baggies. Then we'd take out right before using (like on top of chili or for grilled cheese sandwiches) and use a baggie at a time.

                                                                                                    If he has access & ability to use a grill (my roomie & I lived off-campus eventually) this opens up a nightly 'social hour'. Our neighbors (and about 1/2 the apartment complex) were invited to throw on their own meat and share a side. Some days it'd be a hot dog and others a steak...but there was always a fresh garden salad, someone would always bring mashed potatoes (from the box of course) and usually there was a rice or pasta...maybe a steamed veggie...whatever people had available. We never starved, always had good variety, explored different cultural dishes and most importantly we all made a lot of friends. It was a nice way to replace the 'family dinner'. We'd talk about our day, make plans for the weekend, laugh and let off steam. It took some of the stress off in a good way.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: debrolex

                                                                                                      those are very good suggestions, thank you for that. I myself have noticed a different in the performance of using Ziplock over the store brand bags. If I have to store something for more than a day or so I always use the better bags. For food that I know for sure I will be eating the following day, I use the cheaper bags. I am a bit paranoid about re-using the bags...I never reuse bags that have held raw meats, or even cooked meats again. But veggies, if I store them and use them quickly, I will wash out and reuse those bags. I am guessing boys do not think about these things though!!!

                                                                                                    2. I totally forgot to mention breakfast for dinner! That was always an inexpensive meal to make. Eggs, bacon, pop-open biscuits, grits (we were in the south), fresh fruit...yum.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: debrolex

                                                                                                        This reminds me of my college days. A group of us (three guys and three gals) lived together and we each cooked once a week. A few of us liked cooking so we were always trying new things. But one of the guys only knew how to make one thing: polenta with some kind of tomato sauce. So every week, that's what he made. I never did like polenta. But if your nephew does, that might be a good cheap option with an easy tomato sauce.

                                                                                                      2. My mom gave me a rice cooker when I was in college, it made it impossible for me to screw up the rice.
                                                                                                        Quesadillas with salsa are easy protein.
                                                                                                        Reheatable gyoza from Trader Joe's are very tasty.
                                                                                                        Cereal. More cereal. Instant oatmeal. Cereal.
                                                                                                        Premade pasta sauces are getting better and better. They can buy some real parmesan to make the pasta more tasty.

                                                                                                        1. If the kid's afraid of cooking, recommend the food channel -- and perhaps America's Test Kitchen on PBS. I was hospitalized a couple of weeks and watched TFC for hours at a time, even though I was never much of a cook. Not only are there recipes (don't frown on Rachael Ray here), but it shows that cooking can be easy...and fun.

                                                                                                          Half the problem, maybe more, is eliminating fear from the equation.

                                                                                                          And ditto the note elsewhere in this thread about pointing out that cooking impresses women. There is no stronger incentive than that!

                                                                                                          1. I'm kind of a snob but even I enjoy it when my non-cooking boyfriend makes burritos:

                                                                                                            Brown 1 lb ground beef.
                                                                                                            Drain 1 large can kidney beans and add to beef, along with
                                                                                                            1 small can tomato paste
                                                                                                            2 T Mexican seasoning

                                                                                                            eat in tortillas with cheese and salsa, or vegetables if you are feeling healthy.

                                                                                                            If you can be bothered to think or chop, you could add sliced onion at the beginning, refried or black beans instead of pinto, or different spices, like chili and cumin. But its great as written above.

                                                                                                            as a sidenote, as a female in college, I know a LOT of young men in college, and if they're not already at least somewhat into cooking, it is extremely likely that they will <not> get into it while they're students, so, aim low. (believe me, I shudder to type this, but it is the result of my semi-empirical observations rather than my own beliefs)

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: Lemon Curry

                                                                                                              Lemon Curry is right--cooking in a lowly dorm kitchen that isn't your own, without much as far as supplies and on a tight budget, well, it SUCKS.

                                                                                                              The college staple: spaghetti. Incredibly easy and very cheap: boil pasta, pour in a jar of sauce. voila.

                                                                                                              It also works well if you have ulterior motives, however: premade pasta sauce is EASY to make more sophisticated. Throw a couple garlic cloves (even unchopped) and/or a bit of red wine into the sauce over heat. Or have them brown ground beef and dump it right in the sauce.

                                                                                                              It also has easy accompaniments: buttered french bread and green salad.

                                                                                                              By the way, there's a big, well-stocked Shaws Supermarket near BC. It's at the intersection of Hammond St. and Route 9/Boylston, south of campus. It's also near the Chestnut Hill stop on the D line.

                                                                                                              Off topic: if they like sushi, many people love Oishi, which is at the same intersection. It's very small, but far enough out of the way that it's not trendy or jam-packed.

                                                                                                            2. All the recipes sound good, but when they make a pot of chili or soup etc., suggest to them to make double the recipes and freeze in small containers so they can just take out and microwave. Can do with mac and cheese, pot roast whateverl. One thing I love is either take a cook chicken(rotisserie chicken) or roast etc, and shred cook with some bbq sauce, roll in soft taco flour tortillas into taquitos, and freeze. I always have them on hand and give to the kids for school. Do a little extra work and they can have lots of food.

                                                                                                              1. Here's a really good recipe that is soooo easy and I still eat it today!

                                                                                                                6 english muffins - split

                                                                                                                1 tomato - diced
                                                                                                                1 red pepper - diced
                                                                                                                1 jar of marinated artichoke hearts - chopped
                                                                                                                about 1-1 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
                                                                                                                couple of handfuls of pine nuts - toasted (I just toast mine in olive oil in a skillet since I know I'd forget them if I put them in the oven

                                                                                                                Mix above ingredients together and sprinkle on top of split english muffins. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

                                                                                                                Healthy and easy!!!

                                                                                                                1. Beans and rice are an easy, healthy combo that can be diversified in many ways... Here are a few highly simplified versions.

                                                                                                                  --Minute rice / rice in a bag (sorry) + chopped tomatoes, chopped green onions, etc. + rinsed and drained can of black beans + taco seasoning (Add browned ground beef and top with sour cream if payday)
                                                                                                                  --Minute rice / rice in a bag + curry seasoning + cilantro + chunked rotisserie chicken
                                                                                                                  --Rice + chunked rotisserie chicken + grated carrots + cilantro + chicken broth
                                                                                                                  --Minute rice / rice in a bag + spaghetti sauce (1/2 a jar--not the whole thing) + chunked rotisserie chicken + chopped tomatoes + kidney beans + grated parmesan

                                                                                                                  And so on...


                                                                                                                  1. Thank you, all, for one of the funniest threads I've read in weeks.

                                                                                                                    As a female in college, living in the nicest dorm on campus (suites with "kitchens"), I've watched my suite and some off-campus peers go through the adventure of getting off the meal plan. The two budding chefs in my suite (both males! there IS hope!) now eat 1) microwaveable pizza, 2) freezer taquitos, and 3) endless amounts of ramen. I love to cook and have been doing so since I was 12, and can pretty much make anything...yet, I don't have a car to get to more affordable supermarkets and the only one we've got (Whole Foods, which is far beyond my budget) is a 30-minute walk away. This past semester I've been applying to law school and doing other various things like studying, so I've had zero time and have started realizing that I really like using as few dishes as possible. My diet now consists of ramen (this is banned in my house and I NEVER realized how delicious it was...or cheap.) and fried egg sandwiches. Sometimes I muster the patience to cook pasta (with canned sauce) and occasionally splurge on a can of tuna.

                                                                                                                    In college, food must be cheap, mind-numbingly easy, and fast. There are certainly good ways to do this -- stockpiling, prepackaged foods, having a good variety of spices will help -- but it will take a few months of really bad experimenting for it to sink in. The proximity of TJ really helps; at least they have normal food along with the frozen meals...I, for one, am still happily slurping down ramen-with-egg (I poach mine and serve it on top, but I'll try that scrambled idea next time). Be patient -- I recently got my boyfriend to switch over from Easy Mac to "cooking" shells 'n Velveeta (apparently they sell them in boxes -- pasta shells that you cook, plus a handy Velveeta packet). He felt very accomplished. Good luck and happy eating!

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: theannerska

                                                                                                                      I should add that right now, at 4:51 a.m., I am eating a bowl of spaghetti...but we ran out of canned sauce, so instead I've got an intriguing half-tomato, half-salsa-verde sauce. "Intriguing" is really the only way to describe it. Maybe I should've stuck to ramen...

                                                                                                                    2. Forgive me if this has already been mentioned, but I was nosing around at Instructables.com and thought of this thread... Anyway, do a search for [Collegiate Meals] (with the brackets). The user trebuchet03 has some good, cheap ideas. The stromboli in particular looks magnificent.

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: PikaPikaChick

                                                                                                                        In college, I was mostly vegetarian, which meant a TON of ramen, lots of pasta, and many fried egg sandwiches. I did try to add as many veggies to my diet as possible - when making ramen, I'd add frozen peas or fresh snow peas and baby bok choy and cubes of tofu to try to make it somewhat healthy.

                                                                                                                        When making pasta, I'd toss a few handfuls of fresh spinach (from those pre-washed bags) into the water about 1 minute before the pasta was done - then, add sauce as usual. (This idea was actually snagged from Mark Bittman).

                                                                                                                        Also, the suggestion about a George Foreman grill is a great one. Easy recipe: before going to class in the morning, throw a chicken cutlet (or fish filet) into a bowl, cover with store-bought Italian salad dressing, put in fridge. When dinnertime rolls around, slap the meat onto the grill, cook for a few minutes on a side, and serve with rice or pasta, and salad from a bag. Leftovers also work great for sandwiches, mixing into pasta sauce, or chopping up and throwing onto a salad.

                                                                                                                        Also works great for veggies - whole portabella mushroom caps, sliced zucchini, eggplant, summer squash (all those, thrown in between slices of bread with some cheese, make a great sandwich, too. Or a fancy topping for pasta).

                                                                                                                        If your nephew is a little adventurous, he can also try making his own marinades - there are also a ton of pre-bottled marinades being sold in supermarkets now, too. As a college student, I experimented and made a bunch of decent marinades using a combination of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and a few basic spices (salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and chili flakes).

                                                                                                                        Also, Jane's Crazy Mixed Up Salt is the best thing EVER. Dump a bit of that on just about anything, and you have instant deliciousness (eggs, meat, whatever).

                                                                                                                        1. re: nugget1979

                                                                                                                          I love that Salt but its so hard to find....I have to order it off ebay!


                                                                                                                      2. Super Easy Pulled Pork

                                                                                                                        Get a pork shoulder/picnic that will fit in slow cooker. Pat a layer of brown sugar all over it. Place it in the slow cooker and douse with worcestershire. Cook on low 8-12 hours. Pull apart with 2 forks and serve on hamburger buns.

                                                                                                                        1. 1 can Rotel (tomatoes and chilies)
                                                                                                                          1 box Velveeta shells and cheese (Hey, they're in college, and we're looking for simple, right!?)

                                                                                                                          Make Velveeta as directed on box.
                                                                                                                          Drain liquid from the can of Rotel, then add remaining contents of can to the pasta.

                                                                                                                          Soooooooo good. And super easy!

                                                                                                                          1. A few desperately cheap suggestions.
                                                                                                                            1. Macaroni and cheese from the box. You can add the following if you have it. A can of vienna sausages or some leftover ground beef, taco meat. You could even add some sauteed vegetables.
                                                                                                                            2. Rice with a can of soup poured over it. Don't water the soup down as much as you would for soup.
                                                                                                                            3. Tomato soup with some cooked ground beef added or you could add some veggies or maybe some pasta like bowties or rice.
                                                                                                                            4. Spaghetti noodles with pasta sauce. add ground beef or sausage if you like.
                                                                                                                            5. a crock pot stew. There are multiple recipes for this on web.
                                                                                                                            6. A can of white cannelloni beans add some chunks of ham or even spam.
                                                                                                                            7. Add the left over meat of your choice to ramen noodles.
                                                                                                                            8. Eggs are cheap. scrambled eggs and a little sausage sprinkled in is hard to beat. add cheese and put it in a flour tortilla - breakfast burritos. Beat some eggs and add it to hot spaghetti noodles. add cheese if you have it.

                                                                                                                            A buddy of mine lived for days on a family size box of macaroni and cheese. He put it all in a big tupperware container. He would heat it up in the microwave. Eat it right out of the container then put a lid on it do it all over again the next day. A can of chunk soup over a bowl of white rice was very popular with this guy too.

                                                                                                                            These dishes may not be a balanced meal but what college student eats a balanced diet?

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: tonka11_99

                                                                                                                              cold "sesame" noodles.... in a small saucepan warm together 2 Tbs. of peanut butter; 1/4 cup of soy sauce, some garlic and grated (or powdered ) ginger, to taste, and some source of hot saucei.e. red pepper flakes or sirracha...until peanut butter and soy sauce are melted together. pour over cooked pasta and toss together, may garnish with dash of sesame oil, chopped green onions, and toasted sesame seeds, if desired.

                                                                                                                            2. I'm a college student, and I have to say, instant rice has gotten me through many a lazy meal.

                                                                                                                              Instant rice+cream of mushroom soup+chicken thighs+dry onion dip=sinfully delicious oven-baked casserole.

                                                                                                                              Or, just top cooked rice with cheese and salsa and call it a day.

                                                                                                                              1. as a current college student/vegetarian, my dinners often consist of :

                                                                                                                                1. scrambled veggies and a protein (tofu, eggs) OR beans
                                                                                                                                2. on top of a grain

                                                                                                                                REALLY easy. just put oil in a pan and stick whatever veggies in or dump a can of beans in, cook up some couscous/barley/quinoa...

                                                                                                                                just about as easy as kraft, but a million times better.

                                                                                                                                1. I am a college student and these two meals have gotten me through many a night. Pasta is a college student's best friend. I would take pre cooked chicken and add it to some spaghetti sauce, and spice it up with garlic powder, oregano, and some red pepper flakes. This with pasta sprinkled with olive oil and parmesan cheese.

                                                                                                                                  Also, buy him a bag of frozen asian veggies and a bottle of Teriyaki sauce, Thai curry etc... melt the veggies in a pan and add the sauce. Eat with Minute Rice and chicken may be added if you like (precooked again)

                                                                                                                                  Also, chicken boneless skinless chicken breasts, and a bottle of Italian dressing. Cut the chicken into strips and dump onto a cookie sheet and coat the chicken with the dressing. Broil for about 10 minutes or until cooked and serve with a box of instant couscous

                                                                                                                                  1. Eggs are a classic inexpensive food. Omelets, fried, you name it.
                                                                                                                                    In college thats where I started with my hotplate. Get some butter, an onion, maybe some mushrooms or so, some good bread, you are done.

                                                                                                                                    1. My go-to when I was broke and needed something that would re-heat well (to accommodate a few days' worth of leftovers!):

                                                                                                                                      Penne a la Vodka
                                                                                                                                      - 1 box penne pasta
                                                                                                                                      - olive oil
                                                                                                                                      - a few links of italian sausage
                                                                                                                                      - 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
                                                                                                                                      - a few cloves of garlic
                                                                                                                                      - crushed red pepper
                                                                                                                                      - salt
                                                                                                                                      - heavy whipping cream
                                                                                                                                      - vodka (what college student doesn't have a bottle of vodka in the freezer?)

                                                                                                                                      Bring a pot of water to boil and add penne; cook according to directions. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat a few Tbsp of olive oil. Slice open the italian sausage links and dump the crumbled sausage into the pan. (Note: You can also use italian turkey or chicken sausage, or no sausage at all). Add some minced garlic and crushed red pepper and cook until sausage is slightly browned. Dump in can of crushed tomatoes and a tsp of salt. Raise heat to bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 25 minutes. Add 1/3 c. heavy whipping cream and 2 Tbsp of vodka. Bring to a boil. Add penne (which has been cooked and drained). Toss and serve.

                                                                                                                                      I've also made this without the cream and vodka and it's still delicious. It's a very flexible recipe - works with other kinds of pasta and with vegetables added in.

                                                                                                                                      Nowadays, this is still my go-to meal when my husband's out of town for a few days -- I will happily sit on the couch eating a bowl of reheated penne for days.

                                                                                                                                      1. I know I posted this elsewhere at some point but I think this is relevant enough to repeat... take a medium sized pepperoni stick and slice as thinly as possible (make sure to peel the wrappers off the meat first; throw into a crock pot with a large can of unseasoned tomatoes and cook until the meat "melts" into the tomatoes. serve over pasta or on good Italian hard rolls. sooo good!

                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: betsydiver

                                                                                                                                          Betsy...3 ingredients??? Only 3???? Wow!!!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Val

                                                                                                                                            the pepperoni flavors the sauce... delicious if not very healthy...salt! I serve it at pretty much every party I have and never fails to
                                                                                                                                            "seduce" new fans each time

                                                                                                                                            1. re: betsydiver

                                                                                                                                              Thanks! hmmmmm...must.try.soon. ♥ Betsy, how long do you cook this thing and on which setting, low or high?????

                                                                                                                                        2. If he doesn't mind the initial (still reasonable) cost in investing in spices (or, you could gift him with a stocked spice rack!) this super-cheap meal is one of my all-time favorites to quickly cook up on a weeknight while studying for class: channa masala (chickpea curry). Also, the flavors will most certainly impress; my roommates ask me to cook this constantly.

                                                                                                                                          Sautee 1/2 chopped onion in a tbsp of oil until golden. Add 1 clove minced garlic and sautee for about a minute more, then stir in a heaping tsp of ground cumin, 1/2 tsp turmeric, and 1/4 tsp cayenne (to taste- I usually add a little more as I like it extra spicy) and stir about 30 seconds until spices are fragrant. Add a 15oz can of chickpeas (drained) and 1/2 cup water, bring mixture to a boil, and then set heat on medium low. Add a heaping tsp of paprika,1/2 tsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp salt, and the juice of about a quarter of a lemon. Cook for 10 minutes, serve warm over rice. You can add all manners of foodstuffs to this- chopped chicken, tomatoes, etc.

                                                                                                                                          Also, perfect for the college student: easy-peasy beer bread! Preheat oven to 375. Combine 3 cups flour, 1 tbsp baking powder, 3 tbsp sugar & 1 tsp salt in a bowl, and add 1 12oz bottle of beer at room temperature. Don't overmix the batter, it should be lumpy. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and brush the top with melted butter. Bake for 35-37ish minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
                                                                                                                                          Light beers, the yeastier the better, are good for this. Since he's up in Boston, I suggest a Sam Adams Summer Ale. Bread comes out slightly lemony :)

                                                                                                                                          1. Whatever happened to good old peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Or grilled peanut butter sandwiches? Or grilled cheese sandwiches ... sandwiches is the theme here - cheap, easy, fast, and one-handed eating, usually... tuna salad, ham, salami, turkey, roast beef, corned beef, pastrami, bologna, American, Muenster, Provolone, Swiss, Gouda, Edam, Havarti, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Mozzerella!!! Cheese!!! Rye, Wheat, White, Oat, Pumpernickel, Foccacia, Ciabbata, etc. etc. etc. ... Guys, come on ... a little mustard, mayo, Dijon, Dijonaise, horseradish, lettuce, tomato, cuke, sprouts, spinace, arugula, pickles, olives, again- etc. etc. A little imagination and the whole world is your SANDWICH! And don't forget the toaster oven!!! ENJOY :)

                                                                                                                                            1. Here's an easy one for the crock pot;

                                                                                                                                              Asian Crock Pot

                                                                                                                                              5 t. soy sauce
                                                                                                                                              1 (16 oz.) pkg. frozen Asian veggies
                                                                                                                                              3 T. peanut butter
                                                                                                                                              1 lb. chicken breast strips
                                                                                                                                              2 c. orange juice

                                                                                                                                              Mix all ingredients in bowl. Place in crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hrs. Serve alone or over rice. Makes 4 servings.

                                                                                                                                              1. This one is a lifesaver, can be dressed up with white wine or sour cream towards the end but is just really good "as is". One lb. of unbrowned stew beef, cubed, tossed in the crockpot. Mix a can of cream of onion soup with a can of cream of mushroom, blend well, pour over beef, cook on low 6-8 hours until meat is falling-apart tender. Serve with noodles, rice, couscous, orzo, mashed, toast....
                                                                                                                                                Ditto 6 med. skinless boneless chicken breasts in crockpot, topped with cream of celery/cream of chicken mixture, on low 5-7 hours or until juice runs clear. Great if you add a can of diced green chiles, shred the chicken and serve over tortilla chips, but again good "as is" over a starch of some sort.
                                                                                                                                                You can start with a decent jar of pasta sauce, add a can of beef broth and a can of water, some kidney beans, any diced vegies you have around, some cooked pasta at the end, browned ground beef if you need meat, maybe a few handfuls of prebagged spinach, for "instant" minestrone.
                                                                                                                                                Canned chicken broth with shredded escarole (or cabbage, or lettuce, or any other green you can think of), beaten egg, orzo, and crumbled fried hamburger for a good fast soup, great w/ garlic bread.
                                                                                                                                                Scrambled eggs, topped with canned chili on a tortilla - or canned chili topped with fried eggs.
                                                                                                                                                Cabbage cooked with hamhock and onion in crockpot (stock, broth or water to cover) for 5 hours or so, served over noodles.
                                                                                                                                                Tuna melts!! Tuna salad, cheese and sliced apple on raisin bread, pangrilled.
                                                                                                                                                You can make great cream of tomato soup with canned tomatoes, milk and roux and lots of black pepper. Pure comfort, especially with cheese toast.
                                                                                                                                                Drained ramen noodles stirfried with shredded cabbage and onion, made into a pancake, beaten eggs poured over, allowed to set and flipped once.

                                                                                                                                                1. my first real recipe was found in seventeen magazine. in a pan put a little oil, and any veggie and herb found in the cabinets, heat it all up together and add in some boiled pasta (any kind) and a few spoonfuls of the cooking water. if its a harder veggie like broccoli or carrots throw then into the pasta water to cook a little before adding to the pan. maybe some parm cheese (from the green can) and you have a meal. i grew up fairly vegetarian so i didn't use meat but anything cooked can be added and i know perdue has the pre-cooked strips in your grocers freezer that can be added.

                                                                                                                                                  a current staple in my life is stir fry, same concept and you can add a bottled sauce or make your own, simple, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, chili sauce, sugar and a little chicken broth...honestly whatever "asian" stuff in your kitchen, throw it in - your not messing it up.

                                                                                                                                                  none of this is gourmet but its easy and it tastes like real food which i think is the point anyway.

                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pie22

                                                                                                                                                    There's a cookbook on Ramen Noodles that is healthy and incredibly easy. If I find it on Amazon, I'll post the link here.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pie22

                                                                                                                                                        When I was in college (on a mandetory meal plan, in the dorms), my roommates and I used to sneak veggies from the salad bar in the cafeteria - broccoli, onions, sweet peppers, pea pods, etc. Then we'd cook up some rice in my rice cooker (11 bucks at Target) and stir-fry the vegetables with soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, Thai pepper, etc...just play around until it tasted good. The smell of it cooking used to get stragglers in from the halls. :) Anyway, it was easy, once you had the sauces on hand, and pretty healthy. We didn't really feel bad stealing from the cafeteria when we were paying $9 for meals, whether we even ate or not.

                                                                                                                                                      2. Much Better Than Kraft Dinner:
                                                                                                                                                        1-12 oz bag spaetzle or similar shaped, dense noodle
                                                                                                                                                        3 cups grated cheese (any, or a mix)
                                                                                                                                                        2 tbsp real butter
                                                                                                                                                        1 large onion, diced fine

                                                                                                                                                        Boil pasta (spaetzle) til al dente, drain.
                                                                                                                                                        Butter a large pyrex baking dish, layer cheese & spaetzle til used up
                                                                                                                                                        Saute diced onionwith butter in pasta pan until glassy. Spread evenly over top of spaetzle.
                                                                                                                                                        Bake 15-20 minutes at 325 F.

                                                                                                                                                        Very filling. The spaetzle costs more, but you get a lot more real food for your money. To further change/improve it, ask at the deli counter of any store if they will sell you their meat ends (ham, turkey, beef) for cheap. Then dice them at home and add them to the layers of cheese/pasta. Flirt with the girl behind the counter, and maybe she'll give you the cheese ends for free! If you insist on creamy pasta, pour some (fluid) whipping cream over the baked strata and dig in.

                                                                                                                                                        1. I guess this is an ancient post, but since people are still posting here, I thought I'd add my $.02 - I participated in a series with Benchfly.com about pantry cooking (my own blog is mostly about cooking with pantry staples) They have several microwave recipes that are quick and also tasty - http://www.benchfly.com/blog/recipes-...

                                                                                                                                                          1. My husband moved into an apartment freshmen year (he couldn't get on campus housing, long story). He spent all his money on rent and had about couple hundred to spend on food. He told me he lived off Hormel chili and quesadillas with the occasional Chinese take out of tofu and rice. (cheapest thing on the menu) Instead of gaining the freshmen 15 he lost 40 pounds.