The 9 Essential Recipes for College Cooking

Cooking in a college apartment can be a challenge, if only because the battered Ikea hand-offs your parents sent you to school with to cook in wouldn’t necessarily turn out perfect results even if Gordon Ramsey were the man behind the weak electric range of your rental. If you need more hacky food suggestions, check out our CHOW Tips: College Edition videos. These 9 recipes will, however, set you in good stead with roommates and friends, and provide at least a baseline of calories for getting through.

1. Grilled French Toast Sandwiches


A cream cheese and jam filling is the gooey heart here (the recipe calls for fancy marmalade and a little booze but both can give way to expediency and that jar of jelly in the fridge). Make sure your portable grill does not have weird burnt meat residue on the ridges before you make these, unless you want that flavor. Get our Grilled French Toast Sandwiches recipe.

2. Pepperoni Pizza Dip


Soft breadsticks and slices of French bread are powerless before this gooey concoction of melted mozzarella, cream cheese, ricotta, Parmesan, and sliced pepperoni. They go in for the dip, and keep going back—even doubling up—until it’s a smear in the bowl. Get our Pepperoni Pizza Dip recipe.

3. Grilled PB&J


Grilling a peanut butter and jelly sandwich could seem like a simple case of over-achieving, going large when you can get by going very, very small. We do not agree. We think that, warm, melty, and crispy, the PB&J realizes its true destiny. Get our Grilled PB&J recipe.

4. Easy Slow Cooker Chili


Chili is an amazing thing—you can make an enormous crockpot of it, and it disappears at a pace that correlates to your ability to cook it. This version, with ground beef, tomato sauce, and canned kidney beans. Get our Easy Slow Cooker Chili recipe.

5. Spicy Chicken and Chile Taco Dip


This is a little ambitious, but perfect when people are coming over for something organized, like an actual party. It’s got chicken, canned black beans, different kind sof fresh peppers—making it, actually, is kind of therapeutic, and it’s covered in a mass of melted cheese, which is never bad. Get our Spicy Chicken and Chile Taco Dip recipe.

6. Slow Cooker Steel-Cut Oatmeal


Oatmeal is healthy and stick-to-the-ribsish, bit it takes patience. With planning, though, you can set the oats up the night before in the slow cooker, with a can of coconut milk, and let it simmer till you have to drag yourself out of bed. Get our Slow Cooker Steel-Cut Oatmeal recipe.

7. Sloppy Joes


A.k.a. chili in a bun. Make the filling on the weekend, then reap the sloppy benefits for days. You can use turkey if you want to avoid beef, and—if you’re out of buns—sliced white bread makes a pretty good bracket. Get our Sloppy Joes recipe.

8. Spicy Cinnamon-Sugar Popcorn


Popcorn on its own—popped, maybe buttered or coconut-oiled and salted—is a nice thing, so is there really a point to making fancy flavored popcorn? The short answer is yes. Get our Spicy Cinnamon-Sugar Popcorn recipe.

9. Breakfast Nachos


“Our breakfast nachos,” the recipe intro reads, “are basically a slacker ripoff of chilaquiles.” There’s a pretty harsh judgment in there, which obscures the fact that this warm mix of tortilla chips, beans, cheese, salsa and scrambled eggs is delicious in its own tight. Get our Breakfast Nachos recipe.

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