Cooking On A College Budget

Cooking On A College Budget

By Angelica Cullen, Feature Editor Originally published in Issue 8, Volume 33 of The University Register on February 26, 2021

Since last March, dining out has not been feasible (or safe) for most people. The initial quarantine period allowed people who were stuck at home all day to experiment in the kitchen and to improve their cooking skills. During my time in quarantine last spring and summer, I found several recipes online that I was able to test and adjust to my liking. I have found in making these dishes again during fall semester this past year that most ingredients were easily accessible, fairly inexpensive, and able to be modified as needed. All of these recipes are vegetarian-friendly and have vegan substitution options as well.

Vegan Brownies- makes 12


• 3/4 cup cocoa powder

• 1/2 cup coffee

• 1/2 cup soy milk

• 1 1/4 cup sugar

• 1/4 cup vegetable shortening

• 1 teaspoon vanilla

• 1 1/4 cup flour

• 3/4 tsp baking powder

• Dash of salt

• 1 tablespoon cream cheese (can be vegan)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. Mix dry ingredients in large mixing bowl until fully combined.

  3. Mix wet ingredients in separate mixing bowl.

  4. Add wet ingredient mixture slowly to dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.

  5. Pour batter into glass baking dish 3/4 of the way full.

  6. Bake for 28-30 minutes and check for doneness with a toothpick.

Grilled PB+Banana Sandwich


• Peanut butter

• 1/2 large banana (or 1 small banana)

• 2 slices of bread (most breads work for this, I recommend sourdough or multigrain)

• pinch of cinnamon

• pinch of sugar

• Unflavored oil (such as canola)

• Butter (I used vegan butter; either works)


  1. Place large frying pan on medium-high heat.

  2. Peel and cut banana into thin slices (ideally no more than 1/2 inch thick).

  3. Spread a generous amount of peanut butter onto both slices of bread.

  4. Arrange banana slices on one slice of the bread to cover evenly.

  5. Add a small amount of oil to the pan (quarter-sized).

  6. Sprinkle a pinch of sugar and a dash of cinnamon onto the slice of bread without banana.

  7. Put the slices of bread together (from personal experience, put the non-banana slice on top).

  8. Spread a thin layer of butter on the outside of one side of the sandwich and sprinkle more sugar and cinnamon on that side.

  9. Place sandwich in the hot pan, buttered side down.

  10. Wait until that side has turned golden brown (you should be able to smell the caramelized sugar).

  11. Flip with a spatula (also from personal experience, very carefully).

  12. Repeat step 10 and check that the peanut butter has melted slightly.

  13. Remove from pan, cut in half, and enjoy!

Loaded Vegan Potato Chip Nachos


• 4 medium-sized potatoes

• 1 large whole carrot

• 1/2 white onion

• 1 cup vegan cheese, shredded (I recommend pepper jack, cheddar, or mozzarella, can also use regular cheese)

• 1 cup tomato basil pasta sauce

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

• 1 tablespoon flour

• Canola oil for frying

• Oregano to taste

• Cumin to taste

• Salt to taste

• Chili flakes to taste


  1. Wash and dry the carrot and potatoes.

  2. Peel the carrot and potatoes and slice the potatoes thinly.

  3. Add oil to a large pan.

  4. Dice the white onion, garlic, and carrot and add to the pan.

  5. Cook the white onion, garlic, and carrot on medium low heat until softened.

  6. Add a pinch of oregano, salt, cumin, and chili flakes to the pan and stir.

  7. Once the onions have fully cooked (become translucent), add the tomato basil sauce and flour to the pan and mix well.

  8. Turn off the heat after a few more minutes and let it sit until fully cooled.

  9. In a separate pan, add enough oil to completely cover the bottom of the pan and put it on medium high heat.

  10. Place 6-8 potato slices in the pan with metal or silicone tongs once the oil is hot and shimmering slightly.

  11. Use tongs to flip the potatoes over once they become golden brown.

  12. Once chips are fully cooked and crispy on both sides, place on a paper towel covered plate or tray to soak up any excess oil.

  13. Repeat steps 9, 10, and 11 with the remaining potato slices.

  14. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  15. Once all chips have fully cooled, arrange them to cover a large baking sheet.

  16. Spoon the vegetable sauce mixture onto chips evenly.

  17. Sprinkle the cheese over chips to cover completely.

  18. Bake for 10-15 minutes until cheese has fully melted and enjoy!

Veggie Fritters

Adapted from


• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

• 1/4 cup cornmeal

• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

• 2 cloves (1 teaspoon) of garlic, minced

• 3/4 teaspoon salt

• pinch of ground black pepper

• 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon milk (can substitute unsweetened vegan milks)

• 1 cup frozen or canned sweet corn

• 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped

• 1/4 cup white onion, chopped

• Canola oil for frying (any high smoke point oil will work)


  1. Cover a large plate or tray with paper towels and set aside.

  2. Add flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and pepper to a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine well.

  3. Add milk to dry ingredients and whisk until fully incorporated. The batter should be thick, but a few teaspoons of milk or oil can be added if it seems too dry.

  4. Add the corn, bell pepper, onions, and garlic to the batter. Fold with a spatula to combine.

  5. Heat up a large pan or skillet over medium heat. When hot, drizzle oil to coat the bottom of the pan.

  6. Using a large spoon or cookie scoop, spoon about 3 tablespoons of batter into the pan. Gently press down on the fritter to flatten. Repeat with remaining batter. Make sure to not crowd the pan so they will be able to crisp.

  7. Cook fritters for 2-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

  8. Place fritters on paper-towel lined plate or tray and let sit for a few minutes.

  9. Serve with desired dipping sauce (I recommend sweet chili sauce).

Cherry-Blueberry Cobbler

Adapted from The Spruce Eats



• 1.5 bags of frozen cherries, slightly thawed

• 1.5 bags of frozen blueberries, slightly thawed

• 2 tablespoons brown sugar

• 1 tablespoon cornstarch

• 1 tablespoon cold water

• pinch of ground black pepper

• pinch of cinnamon


• 1.5 cups all-purpose flour

• 1.5 tablespoons baking powder

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1⁄4 cup brown sugar, reserve small amount for sprinkling

• 6 tablespoons butter (or vegan butter)

• 1/2 cup milk (or unsweetened soy milk/vegan milk of choice)

• pinch of cinnamon


For the filling:

  1. Gather ingredients.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 11 inch (or similarly sized) glass baking dish.

  3. Place cherries, blueberries, cinnamon, pepper, and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.

  4. Mix cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of cold water until cornstarch is dissolved.

  5. Add cornstarch mixture to filling, stirring until combined thoroughly. Cook filling while stirring occasionally until slightly thickened, about 7-10 minutes.

  6. Pour the filling into the prepared glass baking dish.

For the topping:

  1. Gather ingredients.

  2. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and sugar in a large mixing bowl until well mixed.

  3. Add butter in pieces and mix until topping is crumbly.

  4. Add milk slowly while mixing until topping holds together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.


  1. Using your hands, pull and stretch medium-sized pieces of dough and lay gently on top of the filling, covering as much of the fruit as possible.

  2. Sprinkle the laid-out topping with leftover brown sugar (and cinnamon to taste).

  3. Bake until topping is golden brown and puffed up, about 35-45 minutes.

  4. Serve warm by itself or with vanilla ice cream.

Image on top courtesy of Vecteezy