Between trying to find time around the mountains of school work, extracurricular activities, and hanging out with friends leaves a limited space for a home cooked meal (or as close to home as you can get while you're at school).

When you happen to find time out of your busy day, you're greeted to a fridge of rotten fruits and veggies that you meant to cook last week (yikes.) If you hardly have any time for meal preparations, then grocery shopping is made impossible. And you definitely don't want that boring plain pasta again this week.

What is a frugal college student supposed to do in this situation? Just look to the resources that are already provided for you. The solution to this problem only consists of essentially of 2 ingredients....I'm serious, you read right. 

1. Fresh Vegetables:

i.e. spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, cucumbers, peppers, etc.

Where can you find these ingredients without needing to drive or call an Uber to the grocery store? Surprisingly, the school dining hall. 

Dining halls are a great resource to pick and choose from when it comes to fresh greens and vegetables at the salad bar.

Jingtong Zhi
Jingtong Zhi

2. Pasta

either leftover pasta or uncooked in the box

If you have a mini mart on campus, the best way to go is using meal points to stock up on pasta or grab some already cooked pasta from the dining hall and spice it up.

#Spoontip: When you’re in an even more of a time crunch, prepare a large portion of plain pasta the night before to save time.

Okay, here's the "hard part"

Now you have the ingredients, the next step is actually preparing the food. For those amateur chefs and those who have never used a stove before, this recipe is made for your level of cooking. It's simple, fast, and delicious so you diligent students can return back to your busy college schedules.


1. Take the veggies of your choice and toss them in a pan (make sure to coat the pan with a nonstick ingredient such as Pam, butter, olive oil, etc.)

2. Let the ingredients cook for about 5-10 minutes or until golden brown on medium heat. Make sure to remember to evenly stir the vegetables in the pan.

#SpoontipToss the spinach in last because it takes the shortest time to cook!

3. As the veggies are cooking, take out leftover pasta and pour the amount you desire into a bowl and heat it up in the microwave.

If you're feeling adventurous, boil a pot of water and pour the desired amount of boxed pasta into the pot. Stir for 10-15 minutes depending on how al dente you want your pasta. 

4. After the veggies are done cooking, (i.e. spinach has wilted), place them on top of the preheated pasta. Voilá, not your typical boring plain pasta dinner anymore, is it?

Jingtong Zhi

#spoontip: For an even more healthier option, opt for whole grain pasta.

After this recipe hack, there should be no more complaints about having to eat boring plain pasta ever again. Plus, the added veggies on top adds just the perfect amount of flavor and it makes eating straight carbs a lot less self-conscious.

This easy recipe is inexpensive and at your fingertips whenever you are in the mood for it, with the dining hall maintaining fresh ingredients everyday. 

#Spoontip: Add some butter, salt and a little pepper to add more flavor.