Southern Essentials

Submitted by Christi

It’s back to school time! This post if for all the college students, parents of college students, siblings of college students or anyone who just knows a college student (or someone just starting out on their own). You are going to be very busy, but, everyone needs to know something easy to cook. Something that you can make with friends and share. So, I don’t know that this is particularly Southern, but, here are some easy, cheap recipes that  every college student should know how to make.

  • spaghetti (with or without meat sauce – depending on how much you have to spend)
  • salad with a simple homemade vinaigrette.
  • hot garlic bread
  • chocolate  wafer cake (today’s lagniappe)

Okay, so here we go. First off, spaghetti.

Spaghetti with Sauce

Fill a large pot or dutch oven 1/2 to 3/4 full of water. Put a lid on the pot and put the pot on high heat (the lid will hold in the heat so the water will boil faster). When the water is boiling, add salt to the water.

Put spaghetti pasta in the water (some people like to break the past in half, personally, I NEVER do that, but, do whatever you prefer). Cook the pasta for around 10 minutes.

To test it, take a strand from the water with a fork or tongs and taste it. It should be firm in the middle but still chewy. You may have heard that you can test the doneness by throwing it at a wall and when it sticks, it’s done. Don’t believe it. The taste test is the gold standard!

While you are waiting for the water to boil, start the sauce. If you have ground beef, cook it in a little oil until brown first.

If you don’t have ground beef, start with a bottle of Prego spaghetti sauce. Okay, when you graduate from college and have more time, you will need to learn to make your own sauce, but, in the meantime, this is easy and tastes good. Add garlic powder, dried oregano, pepper and onion powder to taste. These dried herbs are easily available and inexpensive so you should just keep them around (you can put them on pizza too!).

If you had ground beef that you browned, stir it into the sauce at this time.

When the pasta is done, drain it and pour the sauce over it.

Salad with Homemade Vinaigrette

Believe me, making vinaigrette is much easier than spelling it. If you have a glass or stainless steele bowl and a whisk go ahead and use them. Since this is for college students, we’ll use the jar method. Use a quart jar for this recipe (even though it only makes a pint).

  • 1½ cups salad oil
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1½ tsp  salt
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper (or freshly ground black pepper)

Place the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a jar and shake it up. Add the salad oil, then shake again. There you have it. Could it get any easier than that?

Pour the vinaigrette over salad greens.

Hot Garlic Bread
You can’t have spaghetti without hot garlic bread. Again, we are keeping it simple. You don’t have a lot of time for cooking and eating when you should be studying, right?

Take a loaf of French or Italian bread and slice it in half lengthwise. Put a stick of softened butter in a small bowl. Add garlic powder to taste and, if you like, some dried parsley. Spread the butter on the bread and put the bread back together. Wrap the bread in aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees F. for 10 minutes. See, for this one you don’t even have to mess up and pots or pans!

There you have it, the essential recipes for college students. It’s easy, it’s cheap and it’s tasty! Three for three! Can’t beat it.

What was your college specialty?

Today’s Lagniappe:  Chocolate Wafer Cake
This recipe is a favorite of my nephew, Bryan. It is way too easy.

  • One box of Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafer Cookies
  • One container of Cool Whip (if you are out of college, and have time, feel free to make real whipped cream).

Spread cool whip on a wafer, place another wafer on top, continue this until you have a small stack. Place the stack on its side and continue. Once you have all of the wafers together, frost the entire outside with the rest of the cool whip. Use the leftover broken cookies (which you will have, believe me) to crumble on the top of the cake. Place the cake in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to chill. Cut the cake on the diagonal. By the way, a picture of this cake and the instructions are also on the cookie box.

You won’t believe how yummy and easy this is. And, by the way, it looks pretty too!


It’s a three-for Tuesday! Join these great blogs for more recipes and great ideas.

Balancing Beauty and Bedlam’s Tasty Tuesday

Blessed with Grace’s Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

The Gypsy’s Corner’s Three or More Tuesday

13 Responses to “Southern Essentials”

  1. KBeau Says:

    When I was in college, the only thing cooking wise we could have in our rooms was a popcorn popper. We had to get really creative.

  2. Christi from Charm & Grace Says:

    You’re on the same subject that I am today… back to school. I do have one who will be a college freshman this year, and I am thankful he knows how to make a few things. Just need to get all his books now. LOL.


  3. [email protected] Says:

    I was just writing out our menu for the week. Tomorrow is spaghetti, garlic bread and salad! It is easy and good!

  4. Jerri Says:

    Great recipes! When we were in college my husband just had a microwave (and there was a grill outside). I lived at my dad’s house, so I would sometimes bring him some homecooking, which he loved. Aside from that he had a lot of tuna sandwiches, hot dogs, and cereal….that, and a lot of fast food and 1/2 price appetizers after 9pm at Applebees. lol.

  5. Ave€ Made In Canarias Says:

    Really great and easy recipes.

  6. susan Says:

    This is a great for newlwed brides (like my daughter) who need ideas and explicit insructions!

  7. Chari Says:

    Hi Christi…

    Hehe…I thought that all college students ate out! But you are absolutely right about spaghetti…it’s so easy and very cost effective…and it’s one of my favorite meals!!! Thanks for sharing your recipes with us today!

    Warmest wishes,

  8. Brenda Says:

    Great ideas. How big of a pan do you use for the chocolate wafer cake? I love anything with whipped cream 🙂

  9. Lori E Says:

    Oh how many spaghetti and meat sauce dinners do we eat in our lifetimes? The go to dinner when on a budget.

  10. Amanda @ Serenity Now Says:

    The chocolate wafer cake sounds like something my oldest would like to help me make. 🙂 Visiting from Jen’s party! I’m having a Decorating Dilemmas Party on Wednesday…I’d love it if you could come party with us. 🙂

  11. Rhonda Says:

    Great recipes. That cake is so simple. Anyone can do that!!!

  12. Jane Says:

    This all sounds yummy! I bet my son could make it.

    My daughter and I were shopping last night and saw this plastic microwave cooking set targeted at college students. We chuckled at the thought of microwave cooking all semester.


  13. Elaine Says:

    That chocolate wafer cake looks yummy…need to teach my college age son that one. 🙂

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