Prep - The Essential College Cookbook: GIVEAWAY

May 22, 2019   85 Comments

Are you looking for the perfect high school graduation gift? Know someone who has limited time and money but needs to cook?

Prep - The Essential College Cookbook

Prep: The Essential College Cookbook by Katie Morford is your solution! She has created an excellent guide to making whole foods for those who need the cooking basics.

When I went to college, ramen and mac and cheese (from a box) with tuna mixed in was my go to meal. I wish Katie had written this book because I would have used it. I ended up anemic in college and had to pick up my game quite a bit to get the proper nutrition.

Katie has put together a guide that will turn any young adult into someone who can take control of their diet - and like their food! You can do much better with ramen with the right food in your pantry and a few good cooking techniques (like knife skills).

To celebrate the book’s publishing - we are giving away a great set to a lucky reader.

Above is a photo of a starter kit for the beginning cook which includes a copy of PREP, a Zwilling Santoku knife ($175 value), a small bamboo cutting board, and a set of sturdy Zwilling tea towels.

To enter to win the starter kit, please comment below on the worst meal that you ever ate as a young person.

I will go first (but I cannot win - duh). I used to eat strawberry Poptarts for breakfast since all I had was a toaster in my dorm room and I didn’t want to eat in the dining hall (the food was BAAD).

Check out an example recipe from Prep and see the rules of the giveaway below. Good luck!!

UPDATE - Our winner is Alma!! - Thanks everyone for entering!!

She shared:

Way back when in yonder college days, I thought a ketchup sandwich was pretty yummy...ketchup on white bread, nothing else...completely void of any nutrition...YUCK! I was also pretty fond of that fluorescent, glow-in-the-dark, bright orange mac-n-cheese in a box. I used margarine, before we knew what trans fats do to us. Yikes...what was I thinking? Budget was important, but health should've been #1 priority. Now I know! :)

Prep - The Essential College Cookbook

Reprinted with permission from Prep by Katie Sullivan Morford © 2019 by Katie Sullivan Morford. Photographs © 2019 by Alanna Taylor-Tobin. Reprinted in arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc.


1.6 from 24 reviews


If you’ve ever had spicy peanut sauce at a Thai restaurant, you’ll recognize the flavors in this dish, which are peanutty, a little salty, and just spicy enough. It’s super-easy to make because the sauce is just peanut butter with a few other ingredients whisked in a bowl, then tossed with cooked pasta. For vegetables, use whatever you like in any combination. (I’m partial to snap peas, red bell pepper, and cucumber.)

Kosher salt for the pasta cooking water
1 pound spaghetti
1 lime
½ cup unsweetened, creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1⁄3 cup water
1½ teaspoons sriracha (more if you want it spicier)
3 green onions
2½ cups diced crunchy raw vegetables in any combination, such as cucumbers, bell peppers, celery, carrots, and snap peas

KEY EQUIPMENT: large pot, large bowl, whisk, chef’s knife, cutting board, colander

Fill a large pot with water and add enough salt so that the water tastes slightly salty. Put the pot on the stove over high heat. When the water boils, add the spaghetti, stir, and cook according to package directions until al dente (see page 56).

While the pasta cooks, cut the lime in half and squeeze enough juice to fill 1 tablespoon. Put the lime juice into a large bowl with the peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, water, and sriracha. Stir with a whisk until creamy and smooth. Set aside.

Lay the green onions on a cutting board. Trim off the hairy-looking tips and the dark green ends and discard. Cut the white and light green parts into very thin, round slices.

Once the pasta is done, set a colander in the sink, and pour in the pasta to drain well.

Add the pasta, vegetables, and green onions to the peanut sauce and mix well. If the sauce thickens and the pasta gets sticky as it sits, add another 1 to 2 tablespoons of water (or a splash of sesame oil if you have it) to thin the sauce. Serve immediately.

PRO TIP: Instead of making these noodles with spaghetti, try substituting Asian noodles, such as soba or udon. Be sure to read the package for cooking instructions, since they will be different from conventional spaghetti.

Avoid the Burn

Maneuvering around the stove with a pot of pasta in boiling water takes extra care. Here are a few tips to prevent kitchen mishaps:

Set your colander in the sink before you carry the pasta pot over to drain. 

Use 2 good pot holders and never pick up a pot with a cloth that is damp. 

Before you carry a heavy pot over to the stove, do a trial run by lifting the pot up just a 
little to make sure you can handle the weight. If it’s too heavy, ask for help or use a slotted spoon to transfer the pasta from the pot to a bowl and then drain in the sink.

Carefully lift the pot and carry it to the sink. Tip it away from you, pouring hot water and pasta into the colander.

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

What will I win?

A starter kit for the beginning cook which includes a copy of PREP, a Zwilling Santoku knife ($175 value), a small bamboo cutting board, and a set of sturdy Zwilling tea towels. How do I enter?
Please comment below on the worst food that you made as a young adult. Am I eligible to enter?
This giveaway is offered to residents of the USA and Canada. When do I find out if I am the winner?
One randomly chosen winner will be announced on Thursday, May 30, 2019.

Get Free Email Updates! Yes please!

First 20 Comments: ( See all 85 )

I used to eat two hot dogs in a cup of sauerkraut from a cart at school because I thought without a bun, it’s healthy!

I made Spaghetti and meat sauce for my family. I thought it would be "fun" to put blue food coloring in the pasta water... it made everything blue. My parents were not pleased. Lol

I also ate poptarts; I read the label on the box and thought they were a treasure trove of vitamins. :D

I also had an afternoon snack everyday of a candy bar and coke from a vending machine between classes. :o

Beef ravioli out of the can. At the time it sounded like a balanced

My roommate put a london broil in the broiler and forgot about it. When we returned to the room we found it shriveled and burnt to a crisp. But because it was a "lonon broil" given to us by my mom I felt compeled to save it, so I cut off all the char and we were left with a small hunch of meat which i cut into cubes( more like rocks) and threw in onion soup with wine and ketchup.

Banana and Peanut Butter

I made macaroni and cheese and cut up a hot dog to put in in and topped it with ketchup. Now I think ew, gross. I would not encourage my college daughter to do that!😫

I lived on cereal like Lucky Charms.

I lived by myself senior year of school and after living all my life with my mom cooking and dining hall food, I thought I would be a great cook! WRONG! Easy peasy lunch: brown some ground turkey, throw in some kidney beans and either sour cream or salsa so I had turkey stroganoff or taco fixings. Somehow, I managed not get food poisoning that year, and since then I’ve improved leaps and bounds.

Fake beef with gravy in a pouch in frozen section, put on bread.

Turkey and cheese Lunchables and microwavable beef stew.


I have always been worried about my weight. When in college, trying to take off the “Freshman 10#, my sister told me about this diet she was on. It sounded like a good idea at the time, which tells you how screwed up your mind can get in college! She called it the egg and wiener diet. Here’s the complete crux of it: you ONLY ate eggs and wieners at all times. Cooked any way. But nothing else...not even condiments. Good heavens.

I used to eat those orange peanut butter-filled crackers with a soda for lunch!

Cold spaghettio’s, straight out of the can. For variety I would sometimes add a box of dry Rice A Roni and let it set awhile to soften up. I can't believe I survived it.

Pint of ben and jerry’s ice cream for dinner

I would eat a big bowl of popcorn. I know its whole grain but there was not a vegetable in sight .

For tomato soup, we would boil some water and add free packets of ketchup and free packets of saltines, both from the dining hall.

I used to eat a can of Alphaghetti every day for lunch. On the days I was REALLY hungry, I would eat it poured over a slice or two of toast. When I got tired of that, I switched to Kraft Dinner 😁 It was considered a treat if I had wieners to throw in 😁

I tried to make hamburger stroganoff and misread the instructions. Instead of using 2 tablespoons of flour, I added 2 tablespoons of salt. Then I tried to counteract the salt with more flour and more flour until the fork stayed up in the mess all be itself. Concrete glue... Still remember this ultimate fail.

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