By Nicole McMillen, Staff Writer

Day after dreary day, I trek from Danielsen to Marciano. The dining halls are so out of the way for me that I have a really bad habit of skipping meals when I’m in a rush (which is often, because I’m late for just about everything). Then, when it’s convenient for me (usually at around 8 o’clock) I find a way to set aside my homework and finally, I eat.

I have a kitchen in the basement, I always say to myself. Why not use it? Because I’m lazy and hate cleaning up after myself and ingredients are just so expensive and… what is cooking? Aside from something my mom used to do for me every single night, I don’t know what good cooking actually is. You want some Easy Mac? I got you. Spaghetti? Alright, I guess. Orecchiete with broccoli rabe and pine nuts? Uh, what?

I stumbled across a book I think will drastically change my life. It promises the three things most sought after by us college go-ers, right on the cover: “Quick. Cheap. Easy.”

"The Healthy College Cookbook," aka the savior for every college student currently without a dining plan./PHOTO BY Nicole McMillen

“The Healthy College Cookbook,” aka the savior for every college student currently without a dining plan./PHOTO BY Nicole McMillen

It’s called “The Healthy College Cookbook,” and it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. 300 recipes ranging from artichoke dip to chicken pesto pasta, it details exactly how to scrape by in the kitchen.

Before I rattle off a recipe and my results right off the bat, I think it would be important to tell you guys what kind of ingredients you should stock your shelves with. These items are staples in every kitchen, and while I wouldn’t necessarily advise buying all of these things at once, it’s a good idea to stock up on things that won’t expire within the month. “The Healthy College Cookbook” tells you exactly what you need to buy, and from their list I constructed a shopping list. “Dry Stuff” lists everything that belongs in the cabinet or pantry. “Wet Stuff” lists all the stuff that needs a space in your fridge.

./PHOTO BY Nicole McMillen

Making a hard copy of all the ingredients and food supplies you need can save you a lot of time spent at the grocery store./PHOTO BY Nicole McMillen

Now, some of us live in dorms, so this list may seem a little ridiculous, but for those of you with apartments and kitchens readily available with no idea what to put in your cabinets, I think this is a great place to start. Living in a dorm, I just have some olive oil, cereal, peanut butter, spaghetti and a can of diced tomatoes as a foundation that I stick in a shelf for when I’m ready to use it. You should also have a couple of mixing bowls, pots and pans, measuring cups and measuring spoons. Obviously, you won’t really get too far in the cooking process without any of that.

Onto this week’s recipe! I am guilty of breakfast-skipping, and so are my roommates and the majority of my classmates. Skipping breakfast can be very detrimental to your health, so I thought that I’d start off this column with a really quick and easy way to get some food in your belly before you start your day. It takes a little bit of prep, but it’s worth it in the morning.

To start, you’ll need the following:
1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
½ cup nonfat dry milk powder
2 cups crushes cereal flakes (preferably a flavorless one, like Wheaties)
6 tablespoons of honey

./PHOTO BY Nicole McMillen

Voila, my lovely ingredients./PHOTO BY Nicole McMillen

I prepared this right on top of my desk (after cleaning it and lining it with some plastic wrap, of course). This whole thing took about 10 minutes! Cleaning up was the tough part.

I started by mixing the peanut butter, powdered milk and honey in a bowl. Then, I added my cereal and mixed everything together. After that, I made them into balls a tiny bit smaller than a golf ball and popped them in the fridge in a Tupperware container to make sure they stuck together. It was really that simple.

And then I was done!

Look how happy the Cap'n is./PHOTO BY Nicole McMillen

Look how happy the Cap’n is./PHOTO BY Nicole McMillen

BUT DON’T USE CAP’N CRUNCH!!! I read the ingredients list and immediately I said to myself, “Wheaties? Lame. I hate Wheaties” and made a beeline for the sugar. The result was an insanely sweet cereal ball that tastes absolutely delicious but really isn’t something that most people would want for breakfast (I am an exception — I eat apple pie for breakfast, so I clearly I don’t fall under the category of “most people”).

Overall, this whole thing took me about 10 minutes, the ingredients cost around $20 and I have enough cereal balls to last me at least a week’s worth of breakfasts. Compare that to some breakfast bars that cost around $3-4 each, if you buy them separately at a convenience store. The 10 minutes of prep and about 15 of clean up are definitely worth it to me.