If your high school graduate is heading to college in the Fall, you might want to embark on a culinary adventure right from home to be sure his or her new dining repertoire consists of more than the standby Ramen noodles and Red Bull binges.

Learning this roundup of easy dishes will help your frosh fend for themselves with just about any recipe, and they’re equally as good for kids of any age, as long as supervised by an adult (for the wee ones). Another bonus is your student can take this knowledge forward and get creative to fancy things up, such as swapping ingredients or toppers to taste.

Fancy Grilled Cheese
Photography by Harmony Lynn Goodson

Fancy Grilled Cheese


  • 1 Tbs Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 2 Slices Artisan White Bread
  • Cheddar Cheese, 3-4 thinly sliced pieces
  • Gruyere Cheese, 3-4 thinly sliced pieces


1. Preheat a cast-iron grill pan on a stovetop over medium heat.
2. Spread the butter on one side of each piece of bread.
3. Lower the pieces of bread to the pan, buttered side down.
4. Add the cheese evenly on one piece of bread.
5. Let cook for a few minutes, until the cheese starts to melt.
6. With a spatula or tongs, combine the bread pieces to make a sandwich.
7. Cook and flip until grill marks are visible (but not burned) and cheese is melted.

Lemon Brown Butter Chicken & Rice


  • 2 Boneless Chicken breasts
  • 1 Cup Rice + 2 Cups Water
  • 4 Tbs Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Tbs Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste


1. In a small pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Stir in the rice, reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and let cook for 20 minutes or until the rice has absorbed all the water.
2. While the rice cooks, heat 1 Tbs of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Cook the chicken for 5-7 minutes on one side, flip and repeat on the other side.
4. In a medium skillet, melt 4 Tbs of butter over medium heat. Stir continuously for about 3 minutes or until the butter becomes a light brown color. Remove from heat, add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
5. Plate the rice and chicken and pour the brown butter and lemon sauce on top.

Lemon Brown Butter Chicken & Rice
Photography by Harmony Lynn Goodson

Homemade Macaroni & Cheese


  • 1 Box (16 oz) Elbow Macaroni
  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cups Whole Milk
  • 2 1/2 Cups Half & Half
  • 4 Cups Cubed Velveeta Cheese
  • 2 Cups Grated Gruyere Cheese
  • 1/2 Tbs Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Tsp Paprika
  • Optional Toppings: Crumbled Spicy Doritos or Cheese-Its!
Homemade Macaroni & Cheese
Photography by Harmony Lynn Goodson


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente, about two minutes less than the recommended time, drain and toss with a little bit of olive oil to keep from sticking. Set aside.
2. Grate the Gruyere cheese and cube the Velveeta.
3. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.
4. Once melted, add the flour and whisk to combine, creating a roux.Slowly pour the milk and half & half to the pot and whisk continuously until it thickens.
5. Remove pot from heat, add the cubed Velveeta, 1 Cup of the Gruyere Cheese, and whisk until melted and combined.
6. Combine the cooked macaroni and cheese sauce into one large pot and stir together.
7. Pour macaroni and sauce into the greased casserole dish, top with remaining grated Gruyere cheese, and bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
8. Serve hot with optional toppings!

Scratch Brownies


  • 1 Cup Unsalted Butter, Melted
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips


1. Preheat the oven to 350 F, grease an 8×11” casserole or non-stick pan
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and eggs with a spatula.
3. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Stir until well mixed.
4. Stir in the chocolate chips.
5. Pour batter into casserole dish.
6. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.
7. Let cool on the counter until firm for an additional 30 minutes before cutting.

Scratch Brownies
Photography by Harmony Lynn Goodson

Here’s a sampling of a few well-reviewed cookbooks for college-bound students:

How to Cook Everything

1. The best of the basics (and a whole lot more) from the former NY Times Food Columnist, Mark Bittman. This book is a treasure trove of easy to follow recipes for all occasions using simple techniques, basic kitchen equipment and fresh ingredients.

From $12.49 on Amazon Prime

The Everything College Cookbook

2. The Everything College Cookbook will help jumpstart your meal plan in minutes. Whether you’re cooking for one or multitudes with a hot plate, studio stove or microwave, you’ll find everything you need to create fantastic meals that won’t take tons of time.

From $16.99 on Amazon Prime

Eating Vegan

3. Eating Vegan is packed with vegan recipes that are simple to make and includes a starter guide to plant-based eating. You’ll also find nutritional information with every recipe, plus first-timer tips to help you get the most out of your meals.

From $13.20 on Amazon Prime

Prep: The Essential College Cookbook

4. Real meals with real food, in an easy to follow guide that is centered around 10 basic lessons to inspire confidence in the kitchen. Also included are notes on knife skills, essential (and nonessential) cooking tools, and stocking your pantry.

From $12.29 on Amazon Prime

Harmony Lynn Goodson

Harmony Lynn Goodson is an editorial stylist, content creator, and contributor for lifestyle and entertaining publications. She is a photographer for local restaurants and magazines via her business, Harmony Lynn Photography. Harmony also aims to inspire people who entertain to create lavish parties with her DIY tips and tricks which she enjoys sharing on her personal blog and social media accounts.