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Simple, budget-friendly recipes

In busy weeks, the delicious and versatile Tea Shop veggie burger is my go-to. Without a meal plan though, the cost builds up. Whether you’re a commuter student like me, making an effort to cook from home, or a residential student looking for simple recipes to try, here are some of my favorite elevated basics!

Grilled apple and cheddar cheese sandwich

Feeling like plain apple slices and string cheese is a snack for second graders? This grilled cheese is a mixture of savory and sweet and quick to make.

  • Red onion, 3 small rings
  • Thinly sliced apple
  • 2 pieces of sourdough bread
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded or sliced

Sauté onion rings and apples in butter until lightly browned. Butter the outside of the bread and make your sandwich with the cheese slices and sautéed apples and onions. Fry the sandwich over low-medium heat until the bread is browned on both sides. Tip: If you want the cheese to melt faster, put 1/2 teaspoon of water in the hot pan with the grilled cheese and cover for one minute. Try variations on cheese type, fruit type, onion type: Provolone with pear and a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar makes it fancy.


Frittata muffins

These will keep for up to a week covered in your refrigerator—they’re great on their own with hot sauce, or you can use them as part of a breakfast sandwich with an English muffin. This recipe is portioned for a 12 muffin tray.

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease the muffin tray. These won’t do so well with paper muffin liners, so use cooking spray or even spread a bit of oil or butter in each cup to make sure they don’t stick. They work well in silicone muffin trays, too. Whisk everything together and fill each cup 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes.

To make it your own, add diced tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeños, mushrooms, spinach or other vegetables. You can also top them with shredded cheese or sunflower seeds.


Two-ingredient fudge

This recipe is for sweets enthusiasts only. If you want to try something healthier, go mix an avocado with cocoa powder—it’s a one step, two-ingredient vegan fudge alternative. For now, on to the sugar:

  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • Any mix-ins you like, such as M&Ms, peanut butter, walnuts, etc.

Stir the chocolate chips into the condensed milk in a microwave safe bowl or the top of a double broiler. Melt together and add the mix-ins. Pour the chocolate into a baking tray (or a large Tupperware container) lined with parchment paper and freeze for at least three hours.


Five minute Waldorf salad

  • Chopped apple
  • Walnuts or pecans (or sunflower seeds for a cheaper, protein-filled alternative)
  • Spring mix or spinach
  • Chopped celery
  • Dried cranberries
  • Goat cheese, optional

Mix it all together and top with apple cider vinegar, olive oil and pepper.


Whatever your access to a kitchen, your dietary choices or restrictions, time constraints or general care about cooking may be, I hope your last few weeks of winter are filled with delicious food that fills your body and fuels your brain. Eating is necessary, and loving to cook takes practice!