Recipes for new college student

After living at home and getting her associate's degree, my daughter (20) will be going away to college in January and for the first time in her life will have to be responsible for her own cooking, cleaning, laundering, etc. (She will be in a house with some other girls). The cleaning and the laundering parts I think she can handle, but she doesn't know a spatula from a colander. The sole item in her culinary repertoire is scrambled eggs. I am not making this up. She has asked me to teach her the basics over the next six weeks, and I was thinking along with the cooking "lessons" of putting together a loose leaf binder with some simple (and simplified) recipes. I tried searching "five ingredients or fewer" in the search box but only got one hit. Do any of you have some easy-peasy recipes with not-too-exotic ingredients available at the local supermarket? Hopefully ones that don't contain cream of mushroom soup, ramen noodles, macaroni and cheese mix? Thanks so much!

  • Posted by: wssmom
  • November 30, 2011


luvcookbooks November 6, 2012
I have a few copies of a very old cookbook "Cooking for Poor Poets" that lays out a philosophy of cooking on not much, including the nickel dinner. Sylvia Thompson's Economy Gastronomy and Jocasta Innes The Pauper's Cookbook are both good choices for a person who is interested in learning how to cook on a budget. I think learning the family favorites that are easy and cheap is very important. My father made dynamite spaghetti sauce with hamburger and Spanish rice (really leftovers stirred into rice with a can of tomatoes), fried egg sandwiches with ketchup.... it's a very idiosyncratic question, what should a person learn how to cook when they first leave home. luv this thread as my daughter is hoping to go away to college next year and we talk all the time about how she will be able to eat away from our food centric home. Well, I like to think...
Suellen November 5, 2012
Biscuits from scratch, or from homemade biscuit mix. Not exactly healthy, but if she can make eggs, she can have a hot breakfast occasionally.

Send individual frozen bags of frozen meatballs and she can throw together spaghetti.

Teach her to make quick homemade cheese sauce; good with most pasta.

Simple oven-roasted vegetables or potatoes.

I would focus on technique.

chef O. July 13, 2012
Learn how to make a basic delicious roasted chicken and you will have friends for life.
HomeRemedy June 19, 2012
Lots of great answers here but another suggestion to add to your lesson plan... You may want to take her along with you grocery shopping and point out where to splurge and where to save; what are typical prices for things and what she should always keep stocked in her larder. Expensive, rich ingredients often go a long way, and other things can often be bought in bulk, frozen for later, etc. It will likely be an eye-opening experience for her! Good luck, she's lucky to have such a cool mom!
ChompingTheBigApple March 20, 2012
I think Jamie Oliver's Pasta Bianco is an excellent, simple recipe that is easy to change up/add to. It's one of the first ones that I taught to my husband, who is learning to cook on his own.
Pegeen March 20, 2012
Barbara Shenson, “You’re on Your Own.” Available as printed book or e-book.
She’s a professional chef/caterer who wrote the book based on experiences with her own children who needed help with cooking after going off to college.

iTunes ebook version, $9.99

Barnes & Noble ebook version for the “Nook” e-reader, $9.99

Hardcover, $19.95

Bon appetit to your daughter!
Anitalectric March 19, 2012
In college, food had to be cheap. It had to be easy. And it had to be possible to make in bulk and freeze so that I could cook on Sunday and eat it throughout the week!

My top two go-to college recipes were red bean bolognese ( and potato burritos (don't have a recipe, I would just buy a pack of tortillas, cook some potatoes, dice them up and mix with spices. Maybe add some beans or veggies). Then I would assemble all the burritos, wrap them individually in foil and freeze.
bobbie J. March 19, 2012
My daughter has been on her own for 6 months. I was going to try to teach her a lot..but in the end, we both realized that cooking was just not going to be THAT important to her yet. So she learned how to make rice. And tuna. And she got one basic cookbook - only one, at her request.

Now she makes rice once or twice a week. She experiments with salads, and has figured out how to stuff a pita and put something between a baguette or in a tortilla! She hangs at trader joe's and eats really well - fresh and frozen fruit and good cheeses... She's doing great, and on her terms. Dont fret too much - she'll take care of herself when she realizes she misses your good cooking!
MauraKaras January 22, 2012
Pomodoro sauce for pasta.
2 cans diced tomatoes (plain)
2-3 cloves garlic
Fresh basil (dry works too) about 1 TB
Salt, pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes if you want a kick
Olive oil couple tsp
Just enough olive oil to coat pan. Cook garlic whole, until bubbly but not brown. Add tomatoes. Cook 10-15 min until cooked down. Add salt and pepper, basil, hot pep. Can add sautéed chicken, veggies , etc

java&foam December 23, 2011

since your original call was for 5 ingredient recipes, I would give Food Network's "FIve Ingredient Fix" a look. Aside from being a show, it also has a cookbook...and discounting salt and pepper, every recipe has 5 or less ingredients.

when i was first learning to cook, i was given a copy of the book "Clueless in the Kitchen", which is marketed towards teen-aged cooks who don't have much kitchen experience. It has tons of recipes in it for all meals of the day, and many of the recipes are selected because they avoid harder cooking techniques, as well as spices or ingredients that aren't common/easy to find. it also goes through the basics of how to buy/cut produce, how to make coffee yourself, how to cook eggs different ways and has a glossary of kitchen/cooking terms you might run into in the back. its with taking a look at. here's a lets you see inside the book.

Hope this helps!
chef N. December 23, 2011
Check it out ever student has roman noodles in there dorm or apartment. There are many things you can do with ramen, ive used it as garnishes and I've candied it in desserts it's acctually quit divers, a great recipe it includes one packet of ramen, half the seasoning, I strip of bacon, half a slice of velveta cheese, a dash of milk, and chopped scallions. You boil the the noodles for the instructed 3 min mean while cooking bacon in the microwave till very crispy (rough chop) set aside, after noodles are done strain the water add the milk, cheese, and half the seasoning packet. Stir until the cheese is melted then sprinkle bacon and scallion on top! It's really good with a dash of hit sauce too!! Let me know how you like it!!
Kittythecollegecook December 8, 2011
The two things I use most often are my rice cooker and my crockpot. I've even taught my boyfriend, who barely cooked ramen, how to master both of them. They have frozen meals that you can dump in your crockpot and let it cook while you are in class that are pretty healthy and have a variety of choices so she should be able to find ine she likes. Also, the easiest recipie is a rump roast of four or five pounds and a bottle of BBQ sauce, put both in the crockpot before your first class and you have great bbq for lunch. A lot of rice cookers have little steamer trays that are nice so you can have a few veggies with it. And a recipie book that my mom write for me is one of my favorite things that I brought with me to college, so definitely try to get that for her. Also, encourage her to create a Food52 account, it is so helpful.
Sam1148 December 8, 2011
Another thing about using a rice cooker. (the one button models). Some times depending on the brand of the rice and other factors just going by the 'box specs' might make undercooked rice.

A novice will think they messed up and freeze up not knowing what to do. Just put in a bit more water and push the button again until you get rice like you like it. This is especially true with brown rice. Eventually, you learn to eyeball the water/rice ratio. But with brown rice; I even sometimes go back and give it another shot of water. It can take few tries to get used your device.
wssmom December 8, 2011
These just keep getting better and better! thanks, all!!
bugbitten December 8, 2011
Enbe, surely yours is the most touching of all these heart-felt replies.
enbe December 8, 2011
I was in the same position a few years ago. I asked my father to teach me a few of the family recipes before I went away and insisted on: chili, red sauce, bread and a few other things.
Some great suggestions here. I agree with the 'send her off with a bunch of spices idea.' I know as a poor student before I got my kitchen set up, buying spices was too much of an upfront cost so...I had to be creative with what I had. Stir fries are great ideas. Definitely Martha Hazan's red sauce or a family recipe(and freeze it!). I make simple chili and freeze it as well and it's so easy and filling ( although she might want a meat version).
Finally, one thing I've learned to be incredibly important is to use food to get favors ;) Make sure she knows how to bake cookies (or even simpler and more delicious, Pumpkin chocolate chip bread from the Baked cookbook) to give to people who tutor her/drop her off at the airport etc... it will make everyone happy.
And finally, I'd recommend one of the Cooks Illustrated cookbooks (The vegetable one has the base for so many of my favorite recipes) it's a good basis to start to understand the hows & whys of cooking- and has great tips for choosing ingredients which can be totally overwhelming. Hope this helps! How exciting :)
Sam1148 December 7, 2011
Keeping with the short cut..idea here.
Here's one I use all the time for a quick weekday meal.

A Rotisserie Chicken from the supermarket.
Hosen Sauce, Green Onions, Small flour tortillas, Sesame oil.

Chop the chicken up and brush with Hosin sauce on the skin. Broil skin side up on foil to crisp the skin. (Don't walk away, watch it can burn). 3 mins or so on broil.
Brush two flour tortillas with sesame oil. Place "face to face" on plate and repeat for however many you think you need. Microwave with a wet paper towel for 15 seconds to warm.
Cut up green onions.
Serve the crispy chicken on the tortillas wraps with a bowl of more Hosien sauce to add, and green onions to add.
Round out the meal with some cabbage slaw with a lime/olive oil dressing...and a quick stir fry of veggies, snow peas/stock/soy/red pepper flakes and Steamed rice as a side dish.
creamtea December 7, 2011
oh, yum
Sam1148 December 7, 2011
As much kicking around The "Sandra Lee" (almost home made) stuff gets from serious cook.

That philosophy is an excellent introduction to cooking.
One of my first cookbooks in College was a book called the "Instant Gourmet". By Ceil Dyer.
(an amazon search shows it's long out of print, with other hits on same title).

It was a nice picture book, with listing of supermarket/deli foods you could recombine to make other things.
My Book is long gone now, but I still use the technique of making a pate out of braunschweigerdeli meat..heated with butter and seasoned with A1 and chilled in a mold. (probably not the best to eat, but tasty).
Asamoska December 7, 2011
I made cheese enchliadas for my first dinner in college. Make homemade sauce by blending up a can of tomtoes, small can tomato sauce, tbsp cumin seeds, salt, and chil powdeer to taste. Pour a thin layer in the bottom of the dish. Simply roll some cheese (cheddar, monterey jack, etc...) in a real corn tortilla and line them up in the dish, then pour the remaining sauce over it. Top with more chese and bake untill the cheese is slightly brown. Done!
GreenEats December 7, 2011
Besides basic recipes I would suggest investing in one or two good knives, a cutting board, and a small slow cooker. I dropped my meal plan during my senior year of college to save money and my slow cooker saved me. I could put in ingredients for dishes like chili, chicken stew, pasta sauce, etc. in the morning before classes and then when I got home in the evening dinner was ready! I also would like to say ditto to folks who've recommended leftover containers - I always made things that would last me two or three days.
petitbleu December 7, 2011
How To Cook Everything is an excellent all-purpose cookbook, as is the Joy of Cooking. Of course, you might also consider getting her a subscription to Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine. Most of the recipes are very straightforward and tasty. I second the advice to get her to check out Food52. A lot of the recipes may seem too complicated and expensive for her, but they certainly should be inspiring!
lloreen December 6, 2011
I would buy her a copy of Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything. He also has an ipad-iphone app if she has one of those. Or if she is a vegetarian or loves vegetables, look for Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. My mom gave a copy to all of my close college friends for a graduation present and it is pretty much how all of us learned to cook. That book has never let me down. I am not a vegetarian anymore, but I still use it as an inspiration for lentils, rice, and beans.
Bevi December 5, 2011
Wow- What fun! I taught my daughter stir fries, how to make couscous and quinoa, food processor hummus, and gave her the Ina Garden baked chicken breast recipe to make in her toaster oven - rub the breasts with olive oil, salt and pepper and cook at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. From there she can make chicken salad, enchiladas, curry, and stir fries with the cold chicken she can keep in the fridge. Learning to make a nice meat sauce and/or meat loaf is a great recipe to eke out leftovers. I love Ina's baby meat loaf recipe:

LucyS December 4, 2011
These are great answers! I have wonderful memories of cooking in college. (Sadly, not so much time in law school, apparently.)

Based on my experience, I think really learning techniques and really basic skills is the most important - less specific recipes than just how to work with food, how different things taste and go together, how ingredients react to heat, how to know when things are done, and what flavors she likes. If she learns how to sautee vegetables, how to tell when meats are finished cooking, and really basic things like boiling pasta or (as a bunch of people mentioned) fried rice, she has a basis to experiment. Another really useful piece of knowledge for me was a basic understanding of what spices are usually used in which cuisines. Then she'll have an idea of how to use them together and what to throw into a particular dish.

The best thing you can do for her is give her the confidence to play and experiment, and she'll figure out the rest. Failure is good too! One of the best things I ever learned was that it's okay to throw out and start over. Teach her to be comfortable, taste as she goes along, and not be afraid of cooking, and she'll do the rest.

Oh, and teach her how to roast a chicken!
Brette W. December 4, 2011
Greetings from an actual college student! These are all SUCH great ideas and suggestions. A great cookbook to start off with is the Big Girls, Small Kitchen cookbook that came out this summer called In the Small Kitchen -- there are a lot of tips about cooking in a first kitchen, entertaining, using leftovers, etc.

A lot of their recipes are also on their website and their site for college students,

I'm pretty sure the above comments have got you covered on the recipe front, but let me stress the importance of little things you don't think about when you have your first kitchen -- like storage, what to do with a crazy amount of leftover ingredients, what sort of things to buy on your first trip to the grocery store, etc. Get lots of airtight containers, plastic bins, tupperware, etc. -- when you're cooking for one person, or if you're cooking stuff to last a whole week, these things are important. Also, an important resource that I have learned to love is the good ol' freezer. I actually wrote a post about it -- not to self-promote or anything, but it may actually help:

And the most important thing is to HAVE FUN and EXPERIMENT. The more time she spends in the kitchen -- and the more mistakes that she makes -- the more comfortable she'll get!
luvcookbooks December 3, 2011
I used to make the manicotti recipe on the back of the Ronzoni box, lasted for days or could freeze.
luvcookbooks December 3, 2011
When I was in medical school, I made batches of Mollie Katzen's Stuffed Baked Potatoes (I think she calls them Re Baked Potatoes) from the Enchanted Broccoli Forest and froze them. They are good hot and edible at room temp as a brown bag lunch or dinner or breakfast (I spent a lot of time at the med school). I also made and froze Lime Baked Chicken Thighs, a childhood friend's recipe. Just brush chicken thighs with a mixture of 1 T oil, 2 limes, 1 tsp curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon ginger,clove or two of minced garlic, salt and pepper and bake at 400 for an hour or so. Oddly delicious, still make them for a family meal. Also good hot or cold. Egg drop soup homemade and miso soup with tofu and scallions are both good, easy, cheap, at home meals. I baked my own bread when I had free time, which is relaxing and amazingly easy, also cheaper than buying good bread. Stir fry as above, of course. A rice cooker as above would have been a great idea if I had known. I think the means of making good coffee and tea, like a French press, a stovetop tea water heater (are they called tea pots too?) and a supply of tea and coffee would be a lovely thing.... couldn't afford the good stuff then. A hand juice thing to encourage her to make her own orange juice from time to time-- simple and luxurious and can be used for lemons and limes as well. (The kind you impale the half fruit on and the juice flows into a small moat.) Popcorn can be an important cheap component of the diet and can be made on the stovetop or microwave. Brownies are an important quick and easy recipe for company and cravings. One or two slender reference cookbooks, perhaps?
nutcakes December 3, 2011
This is extremely delicious change up from spaghetti and cooks up in 30 minutes--for bacon lovers from Lydia B.
Just keep a pack of pacon in the fridge and some canned tomatoes in the cubbord. I always make the full amount of sauce and freeeze 1/2 for later as it is just as easy. You have to like spicy.

Here was the recipe my daughter first made. She loved this as a kid and still makes it: Just great sticky sauced chicken with nuggests of sweet garlic. Sometimes we double the garlic and we definately prefer it on thin egg noodles.
sexyLAMBCHOPx December 1, 2011
If she's living with other girls perhaps a slow cooker and some stew, soup and entree recipes would be helpful. Chicken cutlets, meatloaf, meatballs are useful for dinner meals and thrown together for lunch on a roll. Rhonda's spaghetti is amazing. I like turkey and /or chicken sausages and their versitle. Quiche and frittattas are great too. Best of luck to your daughter & her studies.
Sam1148 December 1, 2011
Another thing I like the T-Fel nonstick pan. The Professional model, which can be difficult to find in store that only stock their standard line. It has the little 'red dot' thing in the center that helps a novice judge temperture when heating the pan. Remember, it's the "professional" model rated highly on Cook Illustrated for budget non-stick pans. It really has a good 'disk' inside for even heating.
I just can't see paying any more for a non-stick pan, as for me no matter how much a I coddle them they still need to be replaced every 5 years or so.
Sam1148 December 1, 2011
Another thing I like the T-Fel nonstick pan. The Professional model, which can be difficult to find in store that only stock their standard line. It has the little 'red dot' thing in the center that helps a novice judge temperture when heating the pan. Remember, it's the "professional" model rated highly on Cook Illustrated for budget non-stick pans. It really has a good 'disk' inside for even heating.
I just can't see paying any more for a non-stick pan, as for me no matter how much a I coddle them they still need to be replaced every 5 years or so.
wssmom December 8, 2011
Rice cooker ordered T-Fal nonstick pan backordered ...
creamtea December 1, 2011
Agree about pasta sauce. In grad school it was easy enough to saute garlic & red pepper dice, a little fresh parsley and a can of diced tomatoes or diced fresh tomatoes in season, while a big pot of water + salt was put on to boil. A giant russet potato from the health food store (or not...) baked for 45 m. to an hour, split open and stuffed with whatever you like: chick peas w/parsley, olive oil lemon & pepper & minced onion or shallot, prepared salsa, Greek yogurt, shredded cheese or leftover vegetable stew is delicious. A large sweet potato w/yogurt and scallions is yummy, salad on the side. An omelette stuffed w/whatever you like is quick and easy. Meatballs (egg yolks & breadcrumbs make them tender) baked in olive oil and lemon instead of red sauce with rice & salad. Chickpea stew with garnishes over rice. Kale sauteed in olive oil with garlic chips, can be served over whole-wheat pasta - it does shrink down so buy 2 bunches.
EmilyC December 1, 2011
What a great question and answers! My overall recommendation is to arm her with simple dishes that make a big impact. When you're proud of something you make, you want to keep cooking - and as you keep cooking, you'll get better and more confident and will naturally want to branch out and try more complicated things.

Along this line, I love some of Lidia Bastianich's ideas for 10-minute pasta sauces -- things like walnut pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and cannellini beans -- that you can throw together in the time it takes to cook pasta. Or boulangere's First Night in Florence Spaghetti is a great one. Dishes like these save me from myself when I'm tired and about to dial for take-out -- and they're delicious enough to serve to company.

If she's a meat eater, you could teach her how to roast a chicken alongside some carrots and potatoes. Or how to grill/broil a good yet inexpensive cut of steak--e.g., skirt or flank.

A few basic soups are good for any cook to have in his/her repertoire -- there are some easy-to-execute ones on this site.

She's lucky to have a mom like you to guide her along the way! Good luck!

wssmom December 1, 2011
LOL this is turning out to be one of the most AWESOME threads ever!
bugbitten November 30, 2011
Beyond recipes, your daughter will need to learn technique and timing, which can be maddening for a novice. You might start by doing pasta with oil, butter, garlic and parmesan. Toss a salad with dressing (Good Seasons?) and sauté some chicken tenders dredged in the Wondra Sam mentioned. Finish the chicken in a lemon pan sauce, and see how close you come to bringing everything to the table at the same time.

After that you can figure out which way your daughter would like to go. Just not to Burger King, please God!
boulangere November 30, 2011
I give my daughter gift cards to Whole Foods in Boulder as, well, gifts because she can't afford to shop there otherwise. But she grew up in our kitchen at home and my restaurant kitchen (when she was 11, I taught her to make Swiss meringue buttercream icing in the 20-quart Hobart), and knows how to shop economically and make food from scratch, not a box. The other night she and Sean made hardlikearmour's PBJ French Toast for dinner. So, you wonderful mother you, wssmom, teach her to use food52 as a recipe source!
SKK November 30, 2011
Want to save money and have good ingredients? Buying from bins makes a huge difference. I love soba noodles and last week found soba noodles at my local coop in bins for cheap compared to packaged. Buty all spices from bins - purchase just a few ounces and they stay fresh. Beans, oatmeal, nuts, salt, sugar, much cheater and better.

And WSSMOM I think you have a book in the making here. Love the idea of putting recipes in a notebook with your and your daughter's tasting notes and history of the recipe! You have a market for this!
boulangere November 30, 2011
Sam1148 November 30, 2011
I agree with you there. Bulk bins are great...and I would think most college towns would have a mom/pop health food store that sells spices, grains, etc from bulk bins. And don't over look Ethnic stores (Asian/Indian/Greek/Mexican)..they have better prices on things like rice, tofu, and even veggies than chain supermarkets.
luvcookbooks December 3, 2011
there are some college student cookbooks already, check them out so you have a good angle. also there was just a kitchen counter cooking school cookbook that is lovely. if you have a group of college students you could open out the book to include different styles... also a nice essay in an old cookbook about learning to cook for soon to be newlyweds in the late 50s I'll try to find it if youre interested.
Greenstuff November 30, 2011
Good food IS, for the most part, expensive. When my daughter was in college, my care packages had a lot more fine fruits, olive oil and nice chocolate than they had cookies that she enjoyed making herself (well, maybe I sent a few cookies..). And Sam1148 is right about spices! Little bags or jars of spices from your own stash are easy to mail and cost-effective, since few college students can afford or use the amounts that are sold.
Sam1148 November 30, 2011
This is one of 'fails' of the Pollan, Alice Waters camp. In that they seem to think "let them shop at Whole Foods" ignoring budget and labor and availability that is accessible to everyone. In most cases it's far more expensive to eat healthy than a dollar menu from Burger King. Even a road side farmer market stand much would go to waste for one person eating dorm food.
SKK November 30, 2011
Good foods are nutrient rich foods. A Burger King is empty calories, and you eat more without the health benefits. In my view cooking for yourself and the people around you makes a huge difference in health and vitality.
Sam1148 November 30, 2011
Of course we can all agree that nutrient rich foods are superior to Burger King. But for low income and students shopping at a whole foods..of even buying veggies from a roadside stand means waste and far more expensive food options compared to a 99cent burger or taco.
It can be done however, but there's a lot of effort to scope out good food sources for low cost. And cooking cheaper foods is labor intensive. and takes some skill. For a 20 yo collage student the BK value meal looks attractive.
In no way am I saying that's the best option for health and diet, but the economic reality and availability is an issue.
I'm constantly surprised that cost of boneless chicken breasts is crazy...approaching lobster or steak in some supermarkets.
luvcookbooks December 3, 2011
I had a budget of $15 a week when I was a college student in an apt. Granted it was 1982, but I either ate home or ate McDonald's, pretty much. My friend Joy called it my "monk's diet". Standard dinnerl was stir fried vegetables and rice, had fruit and toast for breakfast and peanut butter sandwich and an apple for lunch. Not too much waste. At exam time I fell off the wagon and had Big Breakfasts, hamburgers and fries for dinner, it was still cheap and a treat but less satisfying. Sometimes went to the Farmer's Market (the famous Madison Farmer's Market), more expensive but still within my budget.
healthierkitchen December 7, 2011
luvcookbooks, in my first college apartment, as a second year student, also in the eighties, I spent no more than $10 a week on groceries in order to save money for clothes and beer. I never felt deprived - I generally shopped at a small co-op type health food store walking distance from my apartment and bought things like fresh ground peanut butter, cheese and rice and vegetables in small portions each week. I guess I was subsidized with occasional care packages from home - probably containing cans of tuna and coffee.
healthierkitchen November 30, 2011
In thinking about this further, I guess I'd base the recipes on what she really likes to eat. I have one kid who I know will probably never cook lentils and another who'll never cook meat or fish. Despite my efforts, I'm certain neither will make quinoa or kale. Both love pasta, though.

As an aside, over Thanksgiving, I made an arrangement with my son who's a sophomore in college, to (furhter) subsidize his healthy eating. He knew I'd be a sucker for his argument and he was right, but he'd been buying lots of carrots, apples, berries, cheese, etc. to keep in his dorm fridge in order to cut back on the late night junk food and found that it was adding up and taking a bite out of his budget.
Sam1148 November 30, 2011
Don't forget spices! In a college town there's most likely a healthfood place that sells spices in bulk jars in which you take a bit from the jar, label them and check out. Scope that out.

It's insane to pay 4.50 for a small jar of thyme at a supermarket, when you can get the same amount for 80 cents at a place that sells it out of bulk bins.
Of course you have to bag/label from their bulk bins..but it's well worth it.
And Asian stores; for a large 10lb bag of basmat or sushii rice. Far much cheaper than supermarkets.
Olive oil: Whole Foods has 365 brand olive oil..which is excellent for a 1 liter bottle. CostCO "kirkland" brand olive oil is rated very well and cheep. Wal-mart will have little plastic squeeze bottles (like the mustard ketchup bottles at old style dinners, but white plastic) perfect for using just a bit of oil for frying.
drbabs November 30, 2011
Wow, that is so great.

The only thing I would add is some basic scratch baking. Chocolate chip cookies, a chocolate cake (tons of both on this site--the chocolate bundt cake is as easy as a mix), muffins, cornbread or other quick breads. She'll be able to keep herself and her roommates happy while they're cramming for finals.
beyondcelery November 30, 2011
Also point your daughter to youtube cooking videos. This was a foreign concept to me until, about a year ago, my husband started cooking dinner once a week. He made an incredible fried rice (completely outdid mine!) by following video directions he got off a youtube search for "fried rice." It may be an excellent resource for your daughter when she's looking for some new ideas and already has the basics down, but doesn't want anything too complicated.
Greenstuff November 30, 2011
When my daughter was in high school, we did a series of "cooking classes" designed to make several total meals. We put all the timing for the meals, as well as the recipes, in a notebook. I remember one meal included roast chicken, potatoes, and a green vegetable. One was a simple pasta and a salad. Another was a stir fry, and another was a quiche. We had about 10 meals, with varying options for meat eaters and vegetarians, as well as a budget range. Classic vinaigrette and simple Caesar salads. The whole process was a great leaping off point for her, and now, in her mid-20s, she is a superb cook who will tackle anything. Have fun!
healthierkitchen November 30, 2011
In addition to stir fry, pasta, sauce, etc. mentioned above, I think I'd teach her one easy lentil dish if she likes them and also, how to caramelize onions. It's such a useful base for so many easy dishes. You can even bake a potato or sweet potato and top with a little cheese, some spinach and the onions. If she'll eat sardines, that's a good option with pasta - see lastnightsdinner's recipe, and I'm sure you have chili under control! One of my first recipes was my peanut chicken which I have been making since grad school. It's here on the site too. Back then I didn't do much real cooking and that is EASY. I'll be doing this with my son this summer, I hope. He keeps resisting but...
Sam1148 November 30, 2011
I forgot to mention one of my favorite gadgets. A Cusineart "mini prep" food processor. Small.
But perfect for grinding a chicken breast to 'burger meat'. (I use english muffin buns as they're the right size for a small burger and keep very well in the freezer or 'fridge--without having leftover hamburger buns hanging about)
I even make pizza dough in mine. Just enough for one pizza.
1 cup bread flour
1/2 tsp each of yeast and sugar and salt.
Blend to mix...add
1/3 cup warm water and dizzel in some more until it forms a ball.
Bag it and let it rise 4 hours..(or overnight in the fridge).
Just enough for 1-2 people for a pizza or bread.

It can also hold about 1 can of chickpeas to make a hummus...just add the chickpeas in additions to get more room.
luvcookbooks December 3, 2011
my kid is going to college in the next year or two i am going to refer to yr answer when she's ready, you're a star!
creamtea December 7, 2011
Sam, do you have the 4-cup or the 3-cup? I just saw the 4-cup ones the other day (I have a 3-cup one and I like it, but it's only for Passover use, would like to get another one).
Sam1148 December 8, 2011
I have a 3 cup mini prep. I'd get the 4 cup if counter space isn't a major issue. It's not that much larger.
The 3 cup is 'doable' for the dough and making hummus...but it's a little shy on head room for the bulk of 1 can of chick peas---so I have to grind some down first before adding another addition. I'd say 99 percent of my 'food processor' work stuff can done in that; With the major exception of Pie doughs...or larger batches of pizza dough. I don't need the shredding disks for the quantities of stuff I'd use for that hardware.

Still I use it (the mini prep) far more often than the larger Food Processor--another Cuisinart; I was lulled into the fact it had a little bowl and blades to make larger batches (basically a shaft and a smaller work bowl for making Hummus, dips etc). Not worth it IMHO, as you still used large work bowl, and nested the small bowl on top, which was in real life impossible to remove without having to wash the entire contraption.
Stuff like pesto, hummus, or chimichurri sauce..dressing etc goes in the mini-prep.
Sam1148 November 30, 2011
I recommend purchasing a small rice cooker. Rival makes a good one, the Salton is not so good, Panasonic/National is probably the best. But go small. The little pot can be stored in the 'fridge and a quick 'rewarm' is all that's needed the next day for warm rice.
Avoid the "fuzzy logic ones", the simple one button on is fine--as a bonus it doubles as a steamer for steaming veggies, or dim sum.

From there learn the basics of stir frying and fried rice. Use the left over rice from the cooker.
Then Stews and tomato sauces,braising and pastas.
Then frying fish and chicken cutlets. (HINT: Get her some 'wondera flour' which has a shaker top and makes a crust for frying fish without much mess)

And salad dressing! A simple acid/oil dressing base can be used to make lots of dressing. Mayo and ketchup, it's french style, pickle cube, it's thousand island. Sub lemon juice or red wine vinegar, it's greek..etc..etc.
mayo/sourcream ketchup and's a slaw dressing.
wssmom December 1, 2011
Love the natural progression Sam thanks!
wssmom November 30, 2011
Lovely answers all!!! Thanks so much!!
cookinginvictoria November 30, 2011
What fun that your daughter will be learning how to cook and you will be teaching her! I think one of the simplest and most delicious recipes on food52 has to be Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter. I would also scroll through the column, Jennie in the Kitchen. Recipes such as the Ribollita Soup, Rhonda's Spaghetti and Borrachos come to mind as easy recipes that feature fewer ingredients, fairly straightforward cooking methods and are less time consuming to make. Another cookbook to consider (by food52 contributors, as it happens) is: In the Small Kitchen by Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine. It has lots of straightforward, acessible recipes that are quite yummy and won't break the budget.
boulangere November 30, 2011
What a great time you're going to have! First Night in Florence Spaghetti is really easy, and a student's budget probably doesn't stretch far enough for Italian olive-oil-packed tuna, but the grocery store variety would do. The summer before my daughter left for college, she and I cooked our way through Joanne Harris's My French Kitchen. It's one of my fondest memories. One of my favorite cookbooks to give new cooks is Lynne Rosetto-Kasper's How to Eat Supper. Have fun!
SKK November 30, 2011
How exciting for your daughter! My daughter just moved back home after getting her degree and working for a year. A great resource for simple recipes is I put 5 ingredients or less in the search box and quite a few things came up. Possibly she could pick a few things she likes and you can go from there. Way to go MOM!
lloreen November 30, 2011
Oh, and teach her how to do a really simple marinade for chicken thighs (cheapest meat ) maybe olive oil with garlic and a dried herb mix. bake the chicken in a pan with some new potatoes and chopped carrots and you have a simple, nourishing meal.
nothing could be easier.
add in a few recipes for party dishes, because she will want to have friends over sometimes. the carmelized onion dip on this website is is the Persian spinach dip. maybe a recipe for chicken wings if she likes sports and would want to have viewing parties.

Voted the Best Reply!

lloreen November 30, 2011
one of the first things I learned to make was a stir fry with tofu or chicken. It is fast and you don't need a recipe once you understand the basics. I would buy her a decent non-stick wok, then teach her the order of the ingredients(quick fry meat and remove, then garlic, then veggies, then everything with soy sauce or an easy marinade). serve with rice and you have a cheap and easily adaptable meal.
Also, I learned how to make a simple vegetable and bean soup using bouillon cubes as a base. It is extremely cheap and you can just reheat from frozen when pressed for time, like during finals. I lived off of veggie soup with chickpeas at the end of every term.
Maybe also some quick and easy pasta dishes - a basic tomato sauce like Marcella Hazan's...pesto with penne, squash, and feta....
If she likes to eat she will get the hang of it. we all start somewhere!
Recommended by Food52