When in college, students need quick, cheap and easy foods to keep themselves alive. I’ve found, now living in my own apartment for the first time, that one of the most versatile ingredients to have around is fresh mozzarella cheese.  

Here are a few examples of the numerous types of dishes you can make.

1. Chicken Parm (or eggplant parm)

Chicken (or eggplant) parmigiana is super easy to make and perfect for a quick, homemade dinner.

I pop frozen chicken cutlet strips into the microwave (or oven) topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella. In no time, you have a hot plate full of protein, warm sauce, and melted heaven. 

Time to make: 4 minutes 

Extra ingredients: chicken cutlet strips, tomato sauce

2. Sandwich (or panini)

A sandwich can fulfill any meal of the day – and is especially convenient if you’re on-the-go.  

Most importantly, you can put ANYTHING on it. Mozzarella, whether cold and fluffy or melted and warm, is glorious on a sandwich no matter what else is on it.

Time to make: 4 minutes (add 4 minutes for panini press)

Extra ingredients: bread, lunch meat, condiments, really anything else

3. Quesadilla

Whipping up a quesadilla is a convenient way to make you feel like you’ve actually cooked yourself a meal.  

All you have to do is throw a tortilla in a pan and melt the mozzarella cheese. You can even get creative with additional ingredients.

Time to make: 11 minutes

Extra ingredients: tortilla, optional: chicken, lettuce, tomato, sour cream

4. Salad

Making a salad for lunch or dinner is a great way to eat a healthy meal.  

Mozzarella in a salad is the bit of joy that you pick out with your fork in the midst of a plate of green. Whether in a bite full of lettuce, tomato, or avocado, there is no salad that mozzarella won’t complement perfectly. 

Time to make: 9 minutes

Extra ingredients (for my personal favorite combination): lettuce, salad dressing, tomato, artichoke hearts, avocado 

5. Omelette

Eggs are always a delicious and nutritious choice of breakfast, but adding cheese elevates them to a whole ’nother level.

Ripping small pieces of mozzarella cheese and throwing it into the egg-y fluid in the pan will allow it to melt into warm yumminess and give your omelette the extra flavor it needs. 

Time to make: 8 minutes

Extra ingredients: eggs, milk (~ 2 tbsp)

6. Cheese and Crackers

Cheese and crackers is one of the most classic hors d’oeuvres, but who says college students can’t be classy? 

It’s the perfect between-meals snack, and you even feel sophisticated while eating it.  My preference is slices of mozzarella cheese on top of Ritz crackers or Club crackers.

Time to make: 1 minute

Extra ingredients: crackers

7. Pizza Topping

Mozzarella cheese is one of the main ingredients in a classic margarita pizza.  With ready-made pizza dough from Trader Joe’s, thin slices of mozzarella can make a homemade pizza feel like it’s from an authentic Italian pizza parlor. Making your own pizza it also a creative dinner idea to tackle with roommates or friends.

Time to make: 20-30 minutes (depending on the dough)

Extra ingredients: pizza dough, pasta sauce, other toppings (optional)

8. Pasta Garnish

Pasta is commonly thought of as a college student’s best friend when it comes to food. It’s super easy to cook up a quick pot, and then enhance its flavor with bits of mozzarella.  

Truly, something as simple as this makes for the perfect late-night snack. And, recently, I’ve discovered just how far a little bit of olive oil goes.

Time to make: 20 minutes (depending on how fast it takes the water to boil

Extra ingredients: pasta, water, olive oil

9. Plain Mozzarella

As you can tell, mozzarella cheese is my favorite kind of cheese – and I love eating it plain.

Whenever I pull mozzarella out to make something with it, I always sneak a slice into my mouth. The key is to always use fresh mozzarella – that’s what makes each combination so heavenly.

Time to make: 0 minutes

Extra ingredients: nothing 

Everyone has their own opinion on what the best college snacking must-haves are. Mozzarella cheese isn’t as popular of a kitchen or dorm staple, but it is definitely one that more people should believe in.