What’s cooking? What every college should have in the chicken

Valerie Fernandez

Are your taste buds worn down by bland Ramen noodles? Does your stomach crave some of mom’s cooking, but you don’t know how to replicate it? Well, have no fear. Below is a list of the top 10 food items that all college students should have to alleviate their cooking fears and allow them to become the chefs that they’ve always wanted to be right in the confines of their own apartments.

1) Spices. Every student should stock up on spices such as garlic salt, paprika, oregano and parsley. My suggestion is to buy a combination of spices such as an Italian blend that has many spices all in one container. As a friend of mine suggested, “A simple addition of spices takes regular foods from bland to grand.” By adding spices to any pasta dish or meat entrée, you can change the flavor, and experiment with different stimulations of your taste buds.

2) Olive oil. There are two main benefits of using olive oil instead of butter as a base in any pasta dish: it is much healthier than butter, and it is a flavor which adapts well to include other flavors while maintaining a distinctive taste of its own.

3) Pasta noodles. The easiest dish to prepare is pasta. All you have to do is boil water and throw the pasta of your choice into it for five to eight minutes. The best thing about pasta, however, is not its simple preparation, but its variety. One night, you could have a nice spaghetti dish, and the next night, prepare pasta with chicken and pesto. From farfalle to rotini, pasta can be a fun dish not only to prepare, but also to eat.

4) Ground beef or chicken pieces. Any dish can be strengthened by a simple addition of meat. Also, meat gives you the protein that you, as a sleep-deprived college student, need to keep yourself functioning. Try adding chicken pieces, either frozen or in pre-cooked slices, to your pasta dish, or add some bread crumbs to your ground beef and make some mean meatballs. With meat, the possibilities are endless.

5) Dinner rolls. Rolls can either function as a side dish for dinner, or as the bread for a sandwich. By putting a bit of garlic and butter inside the roll and cooking it for 10 minutes on low heat in your oven, you can create garlic bread to heighten any Italian meal. Or, by toasting the roll a short time and then placing some meat on it, you can have a nice sandwich.

6) Canned vegetables. As a side dish for any meal, canned vegetables are the best because they are simple to prepare and they give you all of the nutrients of fresh vegetables. Additionally, they won’t spoil if they get lost in the black hole that is many college refrigerators. From carrots to string beans, a selection of canned vegatables always leave you with a perfect side dish for any of your main courses.

7) Eggs. They are the staple ingredients in any cookie or cake recipe, but they serve the dual function of being a meal on their own. With just a few eggs and a few other improvised ingredients, you can make a beautiful omelet. You can dazzle your friends with an array of egg selections for breakfast such as eggs benedict, poached eggs or hard-boiled eggs.

8) Fruit juice. Juice gives you the vitamin C that you need to ward off any of the viruses that invade our college campus, especially during these cold winter months. They always provide a nice way to start your day. You can combine them with yogurt, ice and a bit of fruit to make a fruit smoothie dessert.

9) Minute rice. This item must be in your pantry simply because of its name — minute (takes no time to make) and rice (simple and easy-to-vary side dish).

10) Peanut butter and jelly. This final addition to your kitchen pantry is included as a precautionary measure. If after a stressful day you don’t want to labor over a hot stove creating the culinary masterpiece of your roommate’s dreams, you can simply whip up an old-fashioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich in no time, add a piece of fruit to it, and voila — the simplest, healthiest meal ever.v