College Cooking Confessional: Share a Tale and Win a Book at Weekly Open Thread

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Back to school for college kids means no more home cooking, no more eating on the parents' dime.

Fine if you live on campus and have the meal plan. Different story if you're off-campus and doing the cooking yourself.

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I've seen some horrendous pots of slop posing as student food. A pot of beans boiled with potatoes. A pot of enough cooked cabbage to sustain a grad student for a week: Opening the fridge door was like taking in a gust from an urban sewer grate.

My own strategy involved the weekly $10 grocery run for apples, peanut butter, pasta, flour, yeast, bacon, raisins, oatmeal, dry milk and margarine. I made bread, quiche and yogurt from scratch. Breakfast was oatmeal and yogurt. Lunch was apples and peanut butter with raisins. Dinner was quiche or pasta. Lather, rinse, repeat. My roommate was my best customer, and never seemed to tire of the fare, lord love her.

Seems like Andrea Lynn's roommate was luckier. Lynn's new book, The I Love Trader Joe's College Cookbook uses Joe's inexpensive products to make simple meals, more or less on a budget. Forget ramen noodles: tortilla soup, brie and butternut quesadillas, and ravioli in brown butter are a classier class of meal.

Even better, you can select a recipe based on your kitchen situation: one pot, microwave only, five minutes or less, no cooking required.

Want to win a copy from your sugar mama at Bites? Tell your broke-food-survival stories and strategy here. Awesomest coping tale wins The I Love Trader Joe's College Cookbook . Thanks to Andrea for a copy of her super book. Now start your story.

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