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Best Meal Ideas for College-bound Offspring!

Greetings - Looking for some easy, low cost recipes that can be whipped up in a dorm apartment. I have 2 entering college in a matter of a few weeks and although they are fearless in the cooking department, I wonder what staple food items would be useful for them to keep around, as well as best ways to stretch their food budget.

Open to any and all ideas.

Thank you!

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  1. Budgetytes.blogspot.com was my favorite in college and still is!

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    1. <Looking for some easy, low cost recipes that can be whipped up in a dorm apartment>

      Tons.... I don't even know where to start. I will name two then.

      This "Corn with Mustard Seed" is very simple and very tasty:


      I also love (used to love) tomato scramble egg.

      Do you or they have any particular style of cuisine which they like? Do they like Indian food Chinese food? Anything to narrow this down?

      <I wonder what staple food items would be useful for them to keep around>

      Any dry product is easy to keep around. Dried oriental noodle, dried pasta, rice, ...etc.

      <as well as best ways to stretch their food budget.>

      Eat less meat and junk food (potato chips, candies..etc). You have no idea how much meat cost. When I was in college, I ate very little meat. I am actually surprise how much I spend now compared to when I was in college. I must spend about 5 times more now -- and I still spend way less than my friends.

      1. As I have spent all my money travelling I am pretty much still living on a college budget. My staple is rice. A large bag of rice, and a rice cooker make my life very easy. I now have a very good rice cooker, but when I was in Canada and in Australia I used $12-$15 ricer cookers and they were worth every penny. If you buy a larger rice cooker like I have now, you can make many extra portions and freeze them so you always have them on hand.

        When I shop I look for what is on sale, I will buy meat when it is 20-50% off and freeze it. I buy in season vegetables, and most nights will just throw a bit of meat in a pan with some garlic, salt and pepper, throw in whatever vegetables I have, at the end add some soy sauce, lemon juice and maybe some sesame oil.

        I also eat a lot of pasta, can always have pasta on hand. I typically don't eat the bottled sauces but they would work fine. Usually I start with fresh garlic, and again add whatever I have, maybe some bacon, some mushrooms and call it a day, or asparagus and a couple fresh tomatoes.

        1. It would help me help you if I knew what kind of cooking: microwave? Toaster oven? Crockpot? Or does he have access to a student kitchen on his floor that has a stove? I don't want to throw anything at you until I know what he has to work with. But I'm happy to do it, if you'll just let me know.

          1. My daughter is going into her third year, and for the first two years she was in a dorm. Canned soups, ramen, oatmeal, cheese and crackers were some of her mainstays. She had a convection microwave, a coffee pot, and an induction cooktop. When she was in the mood for something fancier, she made stir frys and chicken pasta. Near finals when all of the kids get sick with colds, she got to be an expert chicken soup maker.

            1. When I was in college, someone on my dorm floor concocted a dish of scrambled eggs containing frankfurter coins, onions, and cheese, that was an all-around Sunday supper favorite (the cafeteria Sunday meal plan was only breakfast and lunch).

              1. Lentil soups are tasty and don't require planning (long pre-soaking, that is). Here's a Chow thread on the topic:


                1. Here's an instructional video for your kids to make a hearty and fast breakfast when they need to get out the door. All they need is a basic stovetop (or microwave) to cook the eggs and a toaster if they like their sandwiches toasted.

                  Ham (or other deli meat)

                  Cook the eggs to your liking, then pop them on toast along with meat and a slice of cheese. Easy and only takes 5 minutes!


                  1. Ramen, college super food!

                    1. My mother taught me to make salmon cakes when I first lived on my own. 1 small can of salmon (tuna sized) usually makes two cakes. The whole recipe can be altered for quantity and taste. Through the years I've adapted the recipe for just about anything that can be chopped up and made into a patty. It is so easy:

                      1 can salmon (no bones)
                      1 egg lightly beaten
                      1/4 cup bread crumbs
                      1 Tbsp chopped onion (or celery, both, none and just use dried spices)

                      Mix together, let stand briefly, form patties, and saute using oil or butter until nicely browned.