Cooking during the pandemic on a student budget

When it comes to learning how to live as a college student, many adjustments have to be made. Going from home-cooked meals to not being able to cook at all due to no community spaces or supplies being open for use because of the pandemic, it can be extremely difficult to figure out what to eat when you want a bit of a break from cafeteria food.

Spicing up Ramen: A pack of ramen noodles is a popular choice among college students and is one of the cheapest options for a student budget. If you like spice, try adding some Sriracha or another hot sauce of your choosing to the soup base. Be careful not to add too much! A little goes a long way.

Egg Drop Ramen: This one is pretty self explanatory. You can add an egg in your ramen for some nutrients. You can either drop the egg so it fries on top, or stir it in so it turns flaky like egg drop soup. If you want to do egg drop, you need to constantly whisk the egg with a fork, so that it does not end up chunky. If the water is hot enough, it will cook the egg while you stir it in. One egg should do.

Veggie Ramen: If you are able to, grab some veggies to toss into your noodles. This adds great texture to every bite. Chopped carrots, onions, spinach and other vegetables will do wonderfully. (You can get some from the cafeteria if need be, around the salad bar).

Fancy Pasta: If you have access to pasta fixings, a tip to make pasta taste a little more homemade is to add more to the sauce. Try throwing some cut-up or ground beef or tofu to your pasta sauce. A tasty addition to that is adding chopped garlic and some spices of your choosing if you can find any. This is great if you crave the taste of a home-cooked meal.

All you have to do is cook the pasta first, and in a separate pan or pot, cook the meat or tofu and any other ingredients that you want in your sauce. Once the meat or tofu is fully cooked, add the other ingredients with the sauce and mix while it warms up. Once both are done, put together with the pasta and enjoy.

*Disclaimer: Eggs can be microwaved if no stove or stove-ware is available.
Fluffy Scrambled Eggs: A great way to avoid dry, flat eggs is to mix in some milk. All you need to do is whisk the eggs before cooking them. While whisking, pour in some milk until the eggs start to look a little creamy.

Keep in mind that this can double the volume of egg mixture in the end, so don’t add too much of either. You can whisk in the salt and pepper before cooking to add some flavor to the egg. Lemon pepper is highly recommended if available. It adds great flavor to any type of egg.

Birdie in a Nest: While this name is a bit morbid if you think of it too long, it is a great way to make an egg. All you need is a piece of bread and an egg.

Make a hole in the middle of the bread slice big enough to be able to hold a good bit of the yolk, but not fall all the way through. Place the bread on a pan and crack the egg in the middle of the hole. Cook on both sides, and enjoy!

Trail Mix: This is a yummy and easy snack to make. Start by picking out some of your favorite dry snack items, toss them in a bag or container, and shake it up. Some recommended snack items are nuts, M&Ms and dried fruit. Make sure that the fruit is in small enough pieces to mix in with the other ingredients.

This is a good energy booster that you can make and carry around with you throughout the day when you are feeling peckish.

Hippie Chips: If you ever have been backpacking, you might recognize this snack. All you need is a pack of ramen noodles.

First, crunch up the dry noodles in the packaging, then open the bag, take the flavoring out and sprinkle it in the pack of dry noodles. Close the bag again by twisting the top closed or bunch it. Shake it then eat out of the bag. It tastes like Doritos with the flavoring and is an easy on the go snack.