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Indiana Daily Student

Cook in, instead of ordering out, with these easy recipes

Moving into your first apartment can be a fun experience, but after a day of enjoying your newfound freedom, you are going to need to eat. While it can be tempting to order out every night or heat up some frozen chicken tenders, you can’t maintain this forever.

Here are some easy recipes that anyone can do, from a 5-star chef to someone who burns cereal. 

Easy, Cheesy 5-Ingredient Pizza Pasta Bake


-       12 to 14 ounces whole grain rotini pasta, uncooked

-       1 (23.9-ounce) jar of your favorite pasta sauce

-       2 cups water

-       2 cups (8 ounces) shredded, reduced-fat mozzarella cheese (divided)

-       4-5 ounces turkey pepperoni (quartered)

-       2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese

-       Additional parmesan cheese and fresh basil for garnish, if desired


-       Preheat the oven to 425°F.

-       In an ungreased 9x13 baking pan, combine uncooked rotini, pasta sauce, water, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, and pepperoni, stirring thoroughly to combine.

-       Top with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and parmesan.

-       Cover tightly with foil.

-       Bake for 30-40 minutes, until pasta is tender.

-       Garnish with additional parmesan and fresh basil, if desired.


2-Ingredient Banana Pancakes


-       1 ripe banana

-       2 large eggs, lightly beaten

-       Butter or oil, for cooking (optional)

-       Maple syrup, jam, powdered sugar, or any other toppings, for serving

Optional Mix-ins

-       1/8 teaspoon baking powder, for fluffier pancakes

-       1/8 teaspoon salt

-       1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

-       1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

-       1 tablespoon honey

-       1/2 cup chopped nuts, chocolate chips, or a mix

-       1/2 cup granola

-       1 cup fresh fruit, such as blueberries, raspberries, or chopped apples


-       Mash the banana. Peel the banana and break it up into several big chunks in a medium bowl. Use a dinner fork to thoroughly mash the banana. Continue mashing until the banana has a pudding-like consistency and no large lumps remain; a few small lumps are okay. You should have 1/3 to 1/2 cup of mashed bananas.

-       Add mix-in’s as desired.

-       Stir in the eggs. Pour the eggs over the banana and stir until completely combined. The batter will be very loose and liquidy, more like whisked eggs than regular pancake batter.

-       Heat a pan over medium heat. Heat a cast iron pan, nonstick frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Melt a little butter or warm a little vegetable oil in the pan if desired.

-       Drop the batter on hot surface. Drop about 2 tablespoons of batter into the pan. It should sizzle immediately – if not, turn up the heat slightly. Repeat with dropping more batter into the pan, leaving at least an inch or two between pancakes.

-       Cook for about 1 minute. Cook the pancakes until the bottoms look browned and golden when you lift a corner, about 1 minute. The edges should also be starting to look set, but the center will still be loose, like barely set Jell-O.

-       Sprinkle with toppings. Sprinkle any loose toppings, such as nuts or chocolate chips, over the top of the pancakes as the first side cooks.

-       Flip the pancakes. I've found it best to do this very gently and fairly slowly — the opposite of regular pancakes. Gently work a thin, flat spatula about halfway under the pancake, then lift until the unsupported half of the pancake is just barely lifted off the skillet. Flip the pancake. Some of the loose batter will probably spill onto the skillet as you do this; just be sure to lay the pancake on top of the spill and nudge any excess back under the pancake.

-       Cook for another minute or so. Cook until the other side is also golden-brown, about 1 minute more. You can flip the pancakes a few times if you need to in order to get them evenly browned (Flipping is much easier once the second side is set).

-       Continue cooking the pancakes. Transfer the cooked pancakes to a serving plate and cook the rest of the batter. Keep the finished pancakes warm in the oven if cooking more than a single batch.

-       Serve warm. These pancakes are best when eaten fresh off the griddle and still warm. Serve with maple syrup, honey, jam or any extra toppings you'd like.

Chocolate Brownie


-       1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

-       3/4 cup all-purpose flour

-       2/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy

-       1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy

-       1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

-       3/4 teaspoons sea salt

-       2 large eggs

-       1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

-       2 tablespoons water

-       1/2 teaspoon vanilla


-       Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly spray an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray and line it with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper.

-       In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, chocolate chips, and salt.

-       In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, olive oil, water, and vanilla.

-       Sprinkle the dry mix over the wet mix and stir until combined.

-       Pour the batter into the prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth the top. 

-       Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with only a few crumbs attached (note: it's better to pull the brownies out early than to leave them in too long). 

-       Cool completely before slicing. 

-       Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. 



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