I have a kitchen, now what?


Jordyn DuBois [email protected]

For students new to renting and the culinary world, facing their new kitchen may be overwhelming. The Iowa State Extension and Outreach blog, “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” offers cooking guides and recipes for those looking to improve their culinary skills and start using their kitchen.  

Jordyn Dubois

Students are back and settling into their places; for those new to apartment living, the question may arise: What do they do with their new kitchen?

Lisa Nolting, a registered dietitian and member of the Student Wellness office, said, “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” is a good resource that she recommends to students. 

Found on the Iowa State Extension and Outreach website, the “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” blog is a helpful resource for students looking for easy and cost-efficient recipes. The blog offers many resources including meal planning, shopping tips, recipes and more. 

For first time kitchen owners or renters you can find how-to videos to guide you step-by-step in the meal making process. There are also videos sharing tips and tricks for getting motivated. 

Nolting says, “The recipes are low cost and can easily be made in an apartment. The meals and recipes are also balanced and contain multiple food groups.”

Meals on the website range from snacks and desserts to main dishes as well as slow cooker meals and meals that can easily be frozen.

For the upperclassmen that have had a kitchen to take advantage of over the years, many have learned a thing or two. 

Aerielle Burnett, a senior in dietetics, said, “Cooking is learning how to nourish our bodies everyday. My advice for anyone who is just starting to learn how to cook in a college environment is that meal prepping is a life saver.”

For other students the dive into the cooking and kitchen world on their own wasn’t quite as successful. Some have shared those disasters in the kitchen and offer advice to new cookers that may be of use when they face the kitchen for the first time.

“Watch expiration dates!” said Sydney Kirschner, a sophomore in industrial engineering.

Rachel Feikema, senior in public relations, said, “Make sure to double check that your plates are microwave safe. When I was a freshman I threw a delicious and nutritious hot pocket into the microwave on a plate. I took it out after that lovely *BING* and couldn’t even eat it because the plate melted to the hot pocket. Good thing Kraft comes with its own bowl.”

“How to cook when you’re poor … peanut butter and jelly, that’s all you need,” said Henry Pham, a senior in kinesiology and health.

No matter the level of skill or amount of time spent in the kitchen, either in an apartment or rented house, your first kitchen will surely be full of memories and adventures.