Every year a new round of adolescents go off to college. Although many of them have been working hard to get into college. The question is: can they prepare balanced meals?
Even if a parent has worked hard to teach cooking skills, it’s simply different when no parent is there. Cooking a meal here and there is not the same as getting the food, prepping the food, and then cooking the food. So what’s a parent to do?
Dietitian Katie Morford came up with a solution by writing PREP: The Essential College Cookbook. As it says on the cover it has “everything you need to get started in the kitchen.”
The book’s separated into 10 chapters for cooking different items. Some chapter names include Prep Eggs Like a Pro, Make Oatmeal, Rice and other Grains, and my favorite: Turn a Pot of Beans Into a Meal. Each chapter has five recipes to help build a foundation for cooking a variety of food. Really, it’s got great ideas for someone of any age who wants to learn basic skills in the kitchen and keep it simple.
I like that it also includes chapters on cooking for others, snacks, and sweets to share. What a great resource for any adolescent preparing for or already in college or out of the house. And even if they are staying home, they should contribute more in this area. I think it makes the perfect graduation gift!
I’m featuring a recipe from the Turn a Pot of Beans Into a Meal chapter. We often make simple nachos which include tortilla chips and cheese, popping them in the microwave for several seconds. I love that this goes in the oven for crispier nachos and the addition of beans and salsa. Until now, I’ve never really thought about making this into a simple meal. For the college kid, this is much better than boxed mac and cheese or ordering a quick meal out.
- 5 big handfuls of tortilla chips (8 ounces or so)
- 3 cups cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 cup cooked black or pinto beans, drained
- 3 Tbsp sour cream
- ⅓ cup Mexican salsa
- ½ cup pickled jalapenos
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Cover a large baking sheet with foil. Spread the tortilla chips across the baking sheet, overlapping slightly.
- Sprinkle the cheese over the chips followed by the black beans. Bake until the cheese melts and bubbles, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and spoon small dollops of sour cream and salsa over the nachos. Scatter the jalapenos over everything. Serve immediately.
So if you got a high schooler or graduate who’s getting ready or perhaps has already left for school, consider PREP as part of their college curriculum. And hopefully, when they come home to visit, they’ll cook some of the meals for the family (one can hope).
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