Cookbooks for clueless college students

College students are usually too busy with classes, work and life to make a home-cooked meal. And if they can find the time to cook, many dorms don’t have kitchen appliances like stoves and blenders. Thankfully, there are a number of cookbooks written especially for college students who have limited time and appliances.

The Everything College Cookbook: 300 Hassle-Free Recipes for Students on the Go
by Rhonda Lauret Parkinson
This book contains everything a college student needs to know about cooking, including basic terminology, nutrition and how to cook with hotplates and microwaves. There are even some fancy dishes for a romantic dinner-date night or for when your parents come to visit.

This is a cookbook you’ll actually want to open, especially when cafeteria food starts to get old. The book contains recipes that range from breakfast foods like Italian-Style French Toast to midnight munchies like Marvelous Mango Muffins.

Readers can learn how to make stress-free dinners, portable lunches, delicious desserts and easy-to-pack treats for class or the long ride to the football game.

Though the book includes vegetarian alternatives, there aren’t enough dishes in it to make this book a worthwhile purchase for those who don’t eat meat. Otherwise, this book is great for those looking for convenient alternatives to campus food.

— Robin  Roup

The Healthy College Cookbook: Quick. Cheap. Easy.
by Alexandra Nimetz, Jason Stanley and Emeline Starr
Written with the typical college student in mind, the book’s introduction states that it  “was designed to answer our concerns (and yours) about how to eat healthfully on a tight budget, with a busy schedule and with little cooking experience.”

Many of the quick and simple recipes contain fewer than five ingredients yet incorporate a wide variety of foods to maintain a balanced diet. The book orients readers with the kitchen, addressing the basics of cooking essentials, stocking the shelves and filling the fridge.

— Aaron Puebla

101 Things to Do with Ramen Noodles
by Toni Patrick
Ramen, which is best known for cooking in three minutes, has long been a staple in the college diet. Even in rooms without a stove, college students have found ways of eating ramen, like the old lunchroom trick of crunching it up in the bag, pouring on seasoning and munching on it dry. 101 Things to Do with Ramen Noodles takes this creativity one step further and provides an entire book of ramen options. With the exception of one salad recipe, however, all involve stove-top cooking.

The book begins with a page of helpful hints — such as using macaroni noodles in place of ramen — and works its way through eight different sections: soups, salads, beef, chicken, pork, seafood, family favorites and vegetarian entrees.

Most of the brief recipes don’t even fill a whole page and use easy-to-acquire ingredients, which makes this a great cookbook for students with a lot of ramen, no time and a low budget.

Other books in the series include 101 Things to do with a Cake Mix, 101 Things to do with a Potato and 101 Things to do with a Tortilla.

— Emily Handy

The Bold Vegetarian Chef: Adventures in Flavor with Soy, Beans, Vegetables and Grains
by Ken Charney
Most college students are by no means culinary experts. They usually take the easy route and choose a diet composed of simple and microwave-friendly items. However, for the small but growing population of vegetarian students, eating healthy, delicious meals is even harder.

With that in mind, The Bold Vegetarian Chef offers more than 200 recipes that range from simple to complex. Each chapter covers different staples in the vegetarian diet such as salads, pasta, tofu and desserts.

The instructions are clear and easy to follow, especially for a busy college student. The only downfall of the cookbook is that the recipes may prompt more frequent visits to the grocery store because many of the spices called for aren’t commonly found in students’ cupboards.

— Vadricka Etienne
With more than 20,000 recipes, this Web site might seem overwhelming, but the meals are arranged into simple, searchable categories like seafood or vegetarian dishes. And for those who don’t have time to go to the grocery store there is a search tool in which users can plug ingredients they already have to find appropriate recipes.

The site has some great ideas for both the main course and dessert, but not every recipe is for the novice chef. New chefs using the site should prepare by learning the basics and knowing cooking terms.

— Matthew Gum