College Kids Cooking Show: Episode 1

The first recipe of the show was inspired by a friend of mine who is vegetarian and recently found out that she has to be gluten-free. These dietary restrictions got me thinking about how hard it is for her to find things to eat while living on campus and what it must be like for others who have dietary restrictions, whether that be because of preference or because of allergies.

The goal of this video was to show that one, with minimal resources it is possible to make a dish that is healthy and meets all the dietary requirements and two, cheap. As a college student myself, I know how hard it is to have enough cash to go out and buy groceries every week. This meal is filling, large and cheap, making this a very convenient meal for those who have financial instability. (I mean, come on, who doesn’t nowadays?)

When I did the shopping for this meal, I also bought other things for other recipes I was going to make. I made sure to stay away from name-brand ingredients, which helped me reduce the price of the contents greatly. After subtracting the costs of the other items I bought with the ingredients for this meal, the price was approximately $22 dollars. This meal fed five very hungry college students, or should I say, the hungry camera crew, the host and her co-host.

Below is the recipe for those who are interested: This recipe was found on Pinterest, where my co-host and roommate, Mikaela Clary, likes to often browse for ideas. The recipe was originally posted on BudgetBytes.


Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes


½ tsp basil, dried

2 cloves garlic

1 small onion

½ tsp oregano dried

½ 9 oz. bag of spinach

2 tbsp tomato paste

½ lb of gluten-free penne

1 pinch pepper flakes

½ tsp of salt

½ tsp of pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

¼ grated parmesan  



Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender (7-10 minutes.) Drain the pasta in a colander.

While waiting for the pasta to cook, dice the onion and mince the garlic. Cook both in a large skillet with the olive oil over medium-low heat until softened and transparent (about 5 minutes.) I would even start this process while the water is boiling.

Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and some freshly cracked pepper to the skillet with the onions and garlic. Stir to combine. Add the tomato paste and a 1/2 cup of water to the skillet and stir until the tomato paste is dissolved into the sauce. I thought that after the food was finished that there was not enough salt in the dish and then added more with the finished product.

Turn the heat down to low. Cut the cream cheese into a few pieces and then add them to the skillet with the tomato sauce. Use a whisk to stir the sauce until the cream cheese has fully melted in and the sauce is creamy. Add half of the Parmesan to the skillet and whisk until it is melted in. Add the remainder of the parmesan and whisk until melted in again. (I didn’t have a whisk, it’s not necessary.)

Add the fresh spinach and gently stir it into the sauce until it has wilted (3-5 minutes.) Add the pasta and stir until it is well-coated in the creamy tomato sauce. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.

I chopped up the spinach when adding it to the sauce, I also realized that there was WAY too much spinach for my liking and opted to only use half of the requested amount.

The finished product was liked by everyone who tried it, the only comment was the lack of salt.

Check up on Mikaela and I again in the near future! we will be doing other delicious recipe!


Video Credits

APN Staff Writer/Host: Kiana Myers
Co-Host: Mikaela Clary
Videographer #1: Meghan Murphy
Videographer #2: Tyler Warner
Video Editor: Alyssa O’Donnell


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