If you’ve ever had to fend for dinner yourself, you may have been tempted to just order some takeout and call it a day. But this can easily become a habit that’s hard to break (especially once you’re living on your own). While convenient, takeout tends to be not as nutritious as a homecooked meal, and it’s definitely hard on your wallet.
“My parents don’t cook, and I don’t have the money to be eating out all the time, so cooking my own meals is what works for me, price-wise and circumstance-wise.”
—Yael, senior, Concord, Massachusetts
We promise, cooking a meal doesn’t take as long as you think—and one student is here to help.
Meet Brittaney, who’s about to show you how to make awesome Pad Thai at home. It’s quick, easy, healthy, and budget-friendly. Throw it together next time you’re home alone, or, better yet, surprise your family with a homecooked meal.
- 1 package dried flat rice noodles (noodles that you use for pho; find these at any Asian grocery store or look for the brand Thai Kitchen at your usual store)
- ¼ cup tamarind paste (alternative: ketchup)
- ¼ cup crushed peanuts
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce (alternative: 1 teaspoon salt)
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon powder
- ½ lime
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon Thai chili flakes
*For extra protein, add shrimp or chicken, a handful of chopped green onion for garnish, and a some bean sprouts for crunch.
- Fill a large bowl with warm water and let your noodles soak for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, drain and set aside. To make sure your noodles don’t stick, add a few drops of sesame oil. You can also cut the noodles into smaller pieces.
- In a large wok or skillet on medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and a diced garlic clove.
- Add your shrimp, if using, and stir until they turn pink. If using chicken, make sure to fully cook it so that the interior is white all the way through.
- Add your rice noodles and stir for about 1 minute.
- Mix your tamarind/ketchup, brown sugar, fish sauce/salt, soy sauce, and chicken bouillon powder in a cup and pour on top of noodles. Stir around until noodles are cooked (soft but not soggy).
- Put noodles to one side of the pan and scramble your eggs on the other. Once eggs are cooked, mix the eggs and noodles together. Add your handful of bean sprouts to the pan as well.
- Plate your noodles and garnish with crushed peanuts and green onion.
—Submitted by Brittaney, Bothell, Washington
“I’ve made pot stickers, French fries, and McDonald’s-style hamburgers before, and they’ve all tasted amazing.”
—Allyson, senior, New Port Richey, Florida
“I’ve cooked pizza and it was really good. The crust came out much different from what you get at restaurants since it was more doughy, but I actually liked it a lot better.”
—Cameron, senior, Pleasant Hill, California
“I’ve had success making Chinese. I make a really good egg drop soup and General Tso’s chicken.”
—Kiersten, junior, Virginia Beach, Virginia
“I love to make pasta and sauces. And I’m talking pasta from scratch, without a machine. Pasta is my favorite food, and I want to master it!”
—Cas, senior, Providence, Rhode Island
“I like to make macaroni and cheese. It’s fun and it’s easy, and it makes me feel responsible.”
—Biore, junior, Rustburg, Virginia