Each time I make a dinner I find myself reflecting back to my early days of learning how to cook. I was a 21-year old college junior with one small pasta pot and not very much money for groceries. I was a bit of a late learner, the only things I knew how to cook when I moved out was basic pasta with jar sauce, scrambled eggs, Mac & Cheese and grilled cheese. So embarrassing now to think of it but I’ve come a long way!
When I look back on my college meals I ate a lot of carbs and crap. I would buy bags of Lays potato chips and devour the whole thing…by, myself. #tbt to Single days of making a bowl of Easy Mac then finishing off a bag of Peanut M & Ms-not the small bag, the big family size one. I was healthy alright. *Rolls eyes* That may explain my lactose intolerance nowadays. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit all the things I cooked in college!
- Easy Mac &/or Mac & Cheese: A go to favorite of mine including the powdered cheese packet. *Winces* I would make this about twice a week on average but 3-4 times if I didn’t want to eat anything else. So healthy!
- Basic pasta with jar sauce: I have nothing against pasta but jar sauce?! Come on, Shannon! I make homemade sauce now and even cringe at the thought of buying jar sauce. But when you are a poor college kid with limited time between classes and working, jar sauce will do. I would typically make pasta once a week but have leftovers FOR DAYS. Yet another #tbt to single days when I only cooked for myself.
- Scrambled Eggs: One of my go-to favorites even to this day! If I wasn’t feeling a dinner I would make breakfast for dinner with scrambled eggs. If my stomach was upset I’d make eggs-no cheese or milk. Just plain eggs. But now I can do more with eggs besides scrambling them!
- Grilled Cheese: A meal I learned how to make in 7th grade Home Economics glass. I was always a bit of a snob about my grilled cheese. I only liked cheddar cheese on it and the bread had to be perfectly golden brown-no burn marks! This was a quick meal I could make on the fly. I now have branched out on the types of cheeses I like in grilled cheese sandwiches: like Gruyère or Munster.
- Simple tacos with chicken: Another recipe I also make nowadays because it’s cheap and easy to make. I would grab a small pack of tortillas and chicken tenders. You can find that recipe here.
- Hamburger Helper: I am slightly embarrassed to say this but I used to LOVE hamburger helper! Judd and I lived off it when we first moved in together because #poorcollegekids. I refuse to even buy it now but every time I walk by it at the store it takes me back!
- Easter Ham….so a few months into dating Judd we decided to “cook” a ham for Easter. Technically we just need to heat it up in the oven but it was damn delicious!
Surprise meals I did NOT make in college:
- Ramen Noodles: Not once, not ever. Unless I was dying sick and the doc recommended it.
- Chef Boy-r-Dee: Wouldn’t touch it with a 10ft pole. I had strep once and Judd made me some. I literally couldn’t do it.
This list makes me smile because like any college kid I was just starting off on my own. No husband, no friends and no family to help me out. I was living pay check to pay check with a little help from my parents here and there to get $40-$30 in groceries each week. I survived! I’ve come a long way cooking since college and I am proud to say I would never go back to those days! Now let me get back to making my homemade pasta sauce for Judd’s homemade meatballs and spaghetti!
What were your favorite meals in college? Share them with us!