45 Simple Recipes to Send with Your Kid to College

Updated: Jan. 25, 2024

Send your kid off with easy food to make in the dorm or their tiny college apartment. One-pot pastas, simple soups and 5-ingredient entrees—these recipes practically belong on a college campus.

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Chicken Burrito Skillet

We love Mexican night at our house, and I love to re-create dishes from our favorite restaurants. This burrito-inspired dish is ready for the table in almost no time! —Krista Marshall, Fort Wayne, Indiana

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Muffin-Tin Lasagnas

This is a super fun way to serve lasagna for make-ahead lunches, potlucks or other fun get-togethers. My daughter took some of these to work and by noon was emailing me for the recipe. —Sally Kilkenny, Granger, Iowa
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Stephanie’s Slow-Cooker Stew

Start this warming one-pot meal before you head out for the day. By the time you get home, the well-seasoned meat will be tender and mouthwatering. —Stephanie Rabbitt-Schapp, Cincinnati, Ohio
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Bacon Breakfast Pizza

I used to make this bacon breakfast pizza for my morning drivers when I worked at a delivery place. And they just loved it. Breakfast pizza is a quick and easy eye-opener that appeals to all ages. —Cathy Shortall, Easton, Maryland
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Chicken Provolone

Chicken Provolone, though one of my simplest dishes, is one of my husband’s favorites. It is easy to prepare and looks fancy served on a dark plate with a garnish of fresh parsley or basil. Add some buttered noodles for an easy side dish. —Dawn Bryant, Thedford, Nebraska
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Peanut Butter Oatmeal

My son and I eat this peanut butter oatmeal recipe every day for breakfast. It's a hearty, healthy way to jump start our morning. — Elisabeth Reitenbach, Terryville, Connecticut
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Sausage Potato Supper

One Saturday night a few years ago, I came up with this dish on the spur of the moment. It was dinnertime, and I had to use what I had on hand. It's been a hit with my family ever since. —Nancy Russell, Englewood, Colorado
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Skillet Mac & Cheese

This creamy mac ’n’ cheese is so simple it’s almost too easy! —Ann Bowers, Rockport, Texas
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Sesame Cilantro Shrimp

On days when I don’t feel like spending much time in the kitchen, I reach for shrimp. I can have a hot meal on the table in 10 minutes. —Tami Penunuri, League City, Texas
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Salsa Steak Garlic Toasts

These open-faced steak sandwiches play up the popular combo of steak and garlic bread. The salsa, sour cream and garnish elevate it into a quick, satisfying meal. Substitute chopped green onions or chives for the cilantro if desired. —Arlene Erlbach, Morton Grove, Illinois
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Thai-Style Chicken Chili

I love this Asian take on the classic one-pot meal. This Thai chili recipe is quick, easy, nutritious and delicious. —Roxanne Chan, Albany, California
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Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

This biscuits and sausage gravy is an old southern recipe that I've adapted. Homemade sausage gravy is a classic, hearty breakfast that takes you on a trip to the South every time it's served. —Sue Baker, Jonesboro, Arkansas
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Waffle-Iron Pizzas

These little pizza pockets put together using the waffle maker are a fun mashup. Try your favorite toppings or even breakfast fillings like ham and eggs. —Amy Lents, Grand Forks, North Dakota
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Creamy White Chili

Years ago, as a time-starved college student, I got this wonderful recipe from my sister-in-law. She had made a big batch and served it to a crowd one night. It was a hit—and easy and quick. In all my years of cooking, I’ve never had another dish get so many compliments. —Laura Brewer, Lafayette, Indiana
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Mom’s Meat Loaf

Mom made the best meat loaf, and now I do too. When I first met my husband, he wasn't a meat loaf guy, but this recipe won him over. —Michelle Beran, Claflin, Kansas
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Sheepherder's Breakfast

My sister-in-law always made this delicious breakfast dish when we were camping and had to come up with good, easy breakfast ideas. Served with toast, juice and milk or coffee, it's a sure hit with the breakfast crowd! One-dish casseroles like this were a big help while I was raising my nine children. Now I've passed this recipe on to them. —Pauletta Bushnell, Albany, Oregon
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Carolina-Style Vinegar BBQ Chicken

I live in Georgia, but I appreciate the tangy, sweet and slightly spicy taste of Carolina vinegar chicken. I make my version in the slow cooker. After the tempting aroma fills the house, your family is sure to be at the dinner table on time! —Ramona Parris, Canton, Georgia
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Fiesta Ravioli

I adapted this recipe to suit our taste for spicy food. The ravioli taste like mini enchiladas. I serve them with a Mexican-inspired salad and pineapple sherbet for dessert. —Debbie Purdue, Freeland, Michigan
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Grilled Brown Sugar-Mustard Chicken

I came up with this recipe in college and it's been a household staple ever since. It's a snap to throw together with ingredients I have on hand. —Kendra Doss, Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Cheddar Ham Cups

When a college classmate and I threw a party for our professor, a friend contributed these savory appetizers. Everyone in the class requested the recipe before the party was done. Try the cups with chicken instead of ham if you’d like. —Brandi Ladner Gulfport, Mississippi
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Smothered Burritos

My brother-in-law teased that I only knew five ground beef recipes. I proved him wrong with my inventive spicy burritos. —Kim Kenyon, Greenwood, Missouri
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BBQ Meat Loaf Minis

Kids can have fun helping to prepare these mini meat loaves in muffin cups. For extra spice, we sometimes add 2 teaspoons chili powder and 1 cup of salsa. —Linda Call, Falun, Kansas
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Tortellini Carbonara

Bacon, cream and Parmesan cheese make a classic pasta sauce that's absolutely heavenly. It's a delightful option for company! —Cathy Croyle, Davidsville, Pennsylvania
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Sweet 'n' Spicy Chicken

My husband and children love this tender chicken with its spicy sauce. Peach preserves add just a touch of sweetness, while taco seasoning and salsa give the dish some kick. —Sheri White, Higley, Arizona
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Buffalo Pulled Chicken

This slow cooker dump dinner is one of my go-to's. The lighter chicken is a nice alternative to pulled pork. —Kim Ciepluch, Kenosha, Wisconsin
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Black Bean and Beef Tostadas

You only need a handful of ingredients to make one of our family’s favorites. It's also easy to double for company! —Susan Brown, Kansas City, Kansas
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One-Pot Spaghetti Dinner

All you need is one pot to make this meal that features a simple homemade sauce. Allspice adds a unique taste, but you can use Italian seasoning if you prefer. —Carol Benzel-Schmidt, Stanwood, Washington
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Parmesan Chicken Nuggets

My 3-year-old went through a chicken-nuggets-and-french-fries-only stage, so I made these golden nuggets for him. Even the grown-ups like them! —Amanda Livesay, Mobile, Alabama
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Chicken & Cheese Tortilla Pie

Trust me when I say this hearty dish can be assembled in minutes, then devoured even quicker with no leftovers. —Karen Kuebler, Dallas, Texas
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Mango Chutney Chicken Curry

My father dreamed up this curry and chutney combination. Now my family cooks it on road trips—in rain and sun, in the mountains, even on the beach. Adjust the curry for taste and heat. —Dina Moreno, Seattle, Washington
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Mediterranean Tilapia

I recently became a fan of tilapia. The mild taste makes it easy to top with our favorite ingredients. And it’s low in calories and fat. What’s not to love? —Robin Brenneman, Hilliard, Ohio
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Fluffy Scrambled Eggs

When our son, Chris, wants something other than cold cereal in the morning, he whips up these eggs. Cheese and evaporated milk make them especially good. They're easy to make when you're camping, too. —Chris Pfleghaar, Elk River, Minnesota
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Zippy Breaded Pork Chops

Need a perky update for baked breaded pork chops? These chops with ranch dressing and a light breading will bring a delightful zing to your dinner table. —Ann Ingalls, Gladstone, Missouri
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Burrito Bake

Back when I was in college, my roommate would frequently make this economical baked burrito casserole. It's so easy to put together, and one serving goes a long way. —Cindee Ness, Horace, North Dakota
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Baked Salmon

I often make this very moist and flavorful baked salmon for company because I can have it ready in less than half an hour. This salmon with lemon is well complemented by rice or a green vegetable and a tossed salad. —Emily Chaney, Penobscot, Maine
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Black Bean & Corn Quinoa

Some vegan quinoa recipes are boring, but this one definitely isn't. My daughter’s college asked parents for the best quinoa recipes to use in the dining halls. This healthy quinoa recipe fits the bill. —Lindsay McSweeney, Winchester, Massachusetts
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Quick & Easy Turkey Sloppy Joes

When we were first married and poor college students, I found this sloppy joe recipe and tweaked it. The fresh bell peppers give it a wonderful flavor. —Kallee Twiner, Maryville, Tennessee
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Beef & Bacon Gnocchi Skillet

This gnocchi dish tastes like a bacon cheeseburger. Go ahead and top it as you would a burger—with ketchup, mustard and pickles. —Ashley Lecker, Green Bay, Wisconsin
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Pulled Pork Nachos

While home from college, my daughter made these tempting pork nachos—her first recipe ever. My son and I couldn't get enough. —Carol Kurpjuweit, Humansville, Missouri
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Chicken Cordon Bleu in Pastry

Baking chicken breasts in a flaky dough makes them turn out moist and delicious every time. This fancy dish is nice to serve family as well as guests. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Grandmother's Toad in a Hole

I have fond memories of my grandmother’s Yorkshire pudding wrapped around sausages, a puffy dish my kids called The Boat. Slather it with butter and maple syrup. —Susan Kieboam, Streetsboro, Ohio
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Mom's Sloppy Tacos

No matter how hectic the weeknight, there's always time to serve your family a healthy meal with recipes this easy and delicious! —Kami Jones, Avondale, Arizona
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Shrimp Pasta Alfredo

My son loves any recipe with Alfredo sauce. When he cooked as a bachelor, shrimp pasta was one of his first recipes. Now his children ask for it. —Gail Lucas, Olive Branch, Mississippi
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Quick Chicken Piccata

Laced with lemon and simmered in white wine, this stovetop entree is super easy and elegant. Just add a side of veggies and bread to make it into a wonderful meal. —Cynthia Heil, Augusta, Georgia