Want to win friends and influence people? Just feed them. Cooking doesn’t have to always be spontaneous, elaborate or stressful, nor does it have to look like a scene out of “Bridget Jones’ Diary.” With standby, reliable recipes in your toolbox, you can be equipped for any type of social gathering or meal. Skip the online articles for 30-somethings that suggest learning how to truss a chicken (Tufts is bougie, but not that bougie) and refer to the master list of recipes for college students:
- Chocolate chip cookies: A chewy, gooey, from-scratch chocolate chip cookie goes a long way. On top of making your whole dorm smell delicious while baking, I have yet to find someone who will refuse one hot out of the oven. Find your variation or recipe and stick to it — my personal favorite is Ashley Rodriguez’s recipe from the blog “Not Without Salt” that incorporates a few flakes of sea salt to take the cookies over the top.
- Brownies: If scooping and rolling dough isn’t your thing, make your signature dessert a big pan of brownies. Just like chocolate chip cookies, a big plate of fudgy brownies will earn you big brownie points at your next study group or club meeting. Elevate a basic mix with a few swirls of peanut butter or some chopped up peppermint patties in the batter.
- Eggs, any way: Omelettes for breakfast, poached eggs for brunch, Spanish tortilla for dinner (okay, okay I’ll give you a break on the last one). Eggs are simple to prepare and delicious to boot.
- A cute cheese plate: A block of cheese, fruit, jam and crackers can be put together faster than you can say “sophisticated.”
- Hamburgers on a grill: If you can handle a grill with the best of them, then you’re on your way to become the next barbecue and cookout star. The key is to refrain from frequent flipping to get a nice sear, and to take the burgers off the heat when they feel like the meaty part of your palm when gently pressed.
- Garlic bread: Buttery, flavorful, hot and sometimes cheesy — what’s not to love? All you need is a loaf of bread, minced garlic, butter and some optional mozzarella cheese. Spread everything on top of the bread and bake until golden brown and bubbling. Eat very quickly until bloated and content.
- Nachos: The dish that transcends every college social occasion. Take nachos up a notch and use real cheese instead of cheese sauce, and bake the chips and the cheese together to keep everything nice and crispy. Serve on a big tray with all your favorite toppings.
- Guacamole: With Chipotle charging more for a scoop of guacamole than a gallon of gas and the inadequacy of the guacamole squeeze packs found in the grocery store, what’s a college student to do? Answer: Buy three ripe avocados, lime, cilantro and an onion and make the best guacamole your friends have ever had. Have a friend provide you with a tray of nachos (see #7) and the two of you will be asked back to every Super Bowl party.
- Pasta: Pasta is a quick, cheap meal that works whether you’re serving yourself or a crew of twenty. Find your favorite sauce and shape (maybe some fusilli with pesto or penne alla vodka?) and make it your dinner party standby.