Cooking for hungry, hurried students
January 15, 2009 5:33 PM   Subscribe

What should I make for breakfast? I'm giving away the food to students who are on their way out of the dorm, heading to class. Easy to eat and easy to cook are both appreciated!

This is a social event at college, for recruitment / rush but hopefully unintrusive about that.

-I have access to one kitchen, but there are others nearby if necessary (only for prep work)
-The space is small-ish and I'm told that the oven burns things easily; maybe it's hotter than it claims?
-No specific restriction on ingredients except that I have to buy it at an average supermarket and prefer cheaper things

The only thing that comes to mind for me is pancakes, but since we are having multiple breakfast events throughout the next month, I want more ideas to break up the tedium. Bonus points if you can offer advice on what works well in a hectic setting like this.
posted by scission to Food & Drink (31 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
oatmeal, and can be served with many side items like granola, sugar, dried fruit, coconut, sliced almonds, to give everyone a choice of toppings.
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 5:39 PM on January 15, 2009

French toast sticks, bagels, fruit kebabs. Each are cheap, quick to make, and easy to grab while running out the door to class. You could even try other types of kebabs.
posted by thatbrunette at 5:41 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Cover n amount of muesli with boiling water. Stir a little bit. Result: nearly-instant fruity, nutty oatmeal. If there is a little brown sugar available for those who want it, so much the better.
posted by everichon at 5:42 PM on January 15, 2009

Bagels (toasted, if possible) with choice of spreads: cream cheese, peanut butter, jelly, etc.

Maybe have some hard-boiled eggs available, too, for extra protein.

Healthy pastries, like banana-nut bread or carrot muffins.
posted by scody at 5:45 PM on January 15, 2009

I personally love anything sandwich or sandwich-like. Easy to hold, store and prepare!

You can recreate a lot of classic breakfast dishes in the form of a sandwich. Bacon and egg in brown bread, salmon and cream cheese in a bagel... I'd list some more, but I fear it would just make me hungry.

But for something really simple and cheap, fresh toast could work well. Could you actually set up a toaster or two on site? The smell of hot, buttered toast would be dangerously attractive to many a hungry student.

Or, as others have suggested, simple bases that people can add things to. Like outmeal, yoghurt, wheatabix type cereals.

Man. I wish I had a bagel right about now.
posted by lucidium at 5:51 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Quickbreads and bagels are great ideas. (My oven is definitely hotter than it claims -- I adjust the dial to 25-50 F below the stated temp in whatever recipe I'm using.)

You might also consider making a large batch of French toast and freezing it. I used to make an entire loaf of bread into French toast, cool it down in the fridge, then put it right back into the bread bag it came from, and freeze it. When I wanted breakfast, I just grabbed a slice or two and put it in the microwave. Can be eaten plain, with jelly, or with butter and syrup. And it smells incredibly good when reheated.
posted by peggynature at 5:55 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Breakfast Corndogs!! Sausage wrapped in a pancake on a stick!! Not healthy but oh so good!!
posted by pearlybob at 5:57 PM on January 15, 2009

Breakfast burritos! If you want, you can make and freeze them ahead of time and just nuke to heat up and serve. Fillings are usually scrambled eggs + cheese and any number of other things: sausage, ham, onions, peppers, salsa...go wild here.

Very easy to handle and every easy to eat. Wrap in wax paper to take away.
posted by jamaro at 6:01 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

A personal favorite: peanut butter sandwiches made with toasted frozen waffles.
posted by Andy's Gross Wart at 6:03 PM on January 15, 2009

Bagels and cream cheese, apples, oranges, bananas, muffins.....
posted by Grlnxtdr at 6:03 PM on January 15, 2009

Breakfast Burritos - Cook chorizo in a large skillet, scramble eggs in the grease and add in sliced potatoes. Wrap in a tortilla, with taco sauce available as a condiment.
Perfect for eating on the run. I make these all the time
posted by readery at 6:03 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Another vote for breakfast burritos - easy to eat, easy to make. For veggie burritos, just saute/scramble whatever all together and put some of it on a burrito shell. Add some cheese, roll it up, done. You can make vegan and vegetarian too, with tofu etc.

More specifically - chop up some bell pepper and onion and mushrooms into small bits and saute them. Put them aside in a bowl. Scramble up a bunch of tofu and/or eggs, and then add the veggies, or leave them separate. Build the burritos using cheese and your mixtures, roll them up, and you're done. Easy to hold too. Fine to eat at room temp. Add tomato, bacon, etc according to your budget and how much you want to fuss.
posted by iconomy at 6:07 PM on January 15, 2009

Whatever you pick, please make sure there's a protein option. I've been to conferences where there's nothing to eat for breakfast but carby stuff -- pancakes, fruit, etc. For some people that's worse than nothing.

I like breakfast burritos, as mentioned above. Plus they're way easy to customize.
posted by sugarfish at 6:11 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

I'd set up a cereal bar of every kind of kiddie-ish cereal available. If my dorm dining hall was any indication, college students love that.

Dang, now I have a hankering for some Froot Loops.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:19 PM on January 15, 2009

(as for ease of eating, serve the cereal in styrofoam cups with spoons)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:19 PM on January 15, 2009

Little individual quiche things with lovely breakfast fillings, like bacon.
posted by lottie at 6:20 PM on January 15, 2009

Last summer we went hiking in the White Mountains and stayed at Cardigan Lodge in NH. One morning for breakfast the kitchen crew served these delicious muffins with a hard-boiled egg cooked inside. They told me they used Hungry Jack biscuits and put the dough in the muffin tin, created a well in the center and cracked an egg inside, sprinkled with a bit of grated cheese. Baked at 350 degrees until done. (Depending on the size of your muffin tin you may have to be mindful of using both biscuit top & bottom or just bottom or top.) We packed up a few extra to take as a trail snack. They're grab & go and still good at room temp.
posted by Bronx Bohemian at 6:22 PM on January 15, 2009

A personal favorite that scales up well (no guarantees of weight maintenance though):

Hash browns with veggies and cheese, topped with (optional) sausage, hot sauce and sour cream.

I use pre-cut and frozen "normandy mix" veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, squash, carrots).

If you have access to a big griddle, you can prepare a bunch at once. Otherwise, non-stick pans work great.

Just cook the hash browns and veggies with non-stick spray (or butter/margarine). Flip once to brown both sides. After flipping, sprinkle with seasoning salt and grated cheddar cheese. The cheese will melt and you can offer hot sauce and sour cream as condiments.

For protein, you can add sausage to the offering. Pre-cook, drain and cut up the sausage. You can then offer "with" and "without" meat by just adding it to the top when serving.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 6:23 PM on January 15, 2009

When I was in college there was a day where the student government handed out freshly toasted Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Pop Tarts to everyone as they walked to class. It was completely AWESOME.
posted by banannafish at 7:16 PM on January 15, 2009

I would make basically make home made style egg mcmuffins. Prep time and ingredients are very minimal. Eggs are also brain food, so they are a great thing for students to eat. All you would need are eggs, sausage patties(or regular or pemeal bacon) , English muffins and butter(or margerine). for tools all you would need would be a couple of non stick pans, two spatulas, a toaster(optional) and some rubber egg rings(optional) and foil sandwich bags to package them.
posted by DorothySmith at 8:34 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

You could easily make a bunch of the egg mcmuffins ahead of time, put them in foil sandwich bags and keep them warm in a 150- 200 degree Fahrenheit oven.
posted by DorothySmith at 8:40 PM on January 15, 2009

Nthing scody's bagel's with proteins: cream cheese, peanut butter , tofu spread....
posted by brujita at 10:39 PM on January 15, 2009

posted by brujita at 10:39 PM on January 15, 2009

In the UK, this would almost certainly be a situation for breakfast rolls. Bacon, egg, sausage, black pudding, or any combo thereof, fried and stuck in a bread roll. Easy to cook, easy to carry, easy to eat.
posted by Jakey at 3:03 AM on January 16, 2009

As iconomy mentions, adding some vegan breakfast burritos to the mix (if burritos are the route you choose to go) would be a very good idea. Veganism is pretty popular among college students, though that varies from school to school, and you'll certainly run into a few students who can't eat pork for whatever reason.

(Personally, I just hate eggs, and am always disappointed by my options at restaurants/catered breakfasts. Eggless savory protein-y breakfasts make a big impression on me.)
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:58 AM on January 16, 2009

I immediately thought of a homemade English Muffin type sandwich - sausage, egg, and cheese.

I would want something easy to grab and eat either walking or when I got to class - so I would want to be able to toss it into a bookbag or tote. Oatmeal or something I couldn't toss in my bag wouldn't be as good.

Muffins or fruit kebabs would be good, but I would need a little plastic bag to stick them in if I had to walk across campus with them. Toasted has browns sound good, as do the breakfast burritos above - except it's kind of hard to eat a burrito while rushing to class.

(Although a fresh toasted brown sugar and cinnamon pop tart does sound sooo good...)
posted by KAS at 9:01 AM on January 16, 2009

Breakfast burritos are one of my husband's favorite snacks. He can grab one going out the door to go bike, play tennis, work, etc. Fat makes you feel full, protein keeps you sated for a longer period of time, and carbs give you energy to face the day, so breakfast burritos have it all. It's a good idea to use whole wheat tortillas, and to keep your eggs from getting soggy, it is best to cook them separately. Also, you can make them in advance, wrap them up in plastic and refrigerate for 3 days.

Sausage-Egg- Cheese Burritos
(Makes 6 fat burritos)
1 lb loose sausage meat
6 eggs
2 TB cream or water
Dash of Tabasco
1/2 C shredded
6 flour tortillas

Saute the sausage in a small pan until just brown. Drain in a paper towel-lined sieve. Wipe out the pan, spray with Pam or use a sliver of butter, and return to very low heat. Beat the eggs, cream, and Tabasco together until creamy. Add cheese and pour mix into prepared pan. Let sit for a minute and slowly scramble by pushing the cooked center out to the edges. The creamiest eggs are achieved by low heat and minimal stirring. Cook just until set.

Lay out 3 paper towels or squares of plastic wrap. Zap 3 tortillas in microwave about 10 secs. Lay on towels. Divide sausage into thirds and place on tortillas, followed by eggs. Fold tortilla bottom and top and then sides.

I sometimes add bell pepper, black olives, onion, and/or mushrooms. All of which can go in the pan with the sausage. Also for a vegetarian option, a couple of Morningstar black bean burgers cut into bite-size bits is a yummy addition.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:28 AM on January 16, 2009

Whoops. Should be "Zap 6 tortillas in microwave"

Fried Egg sandwich is another possibility. English muffin with Canadian Bacon or sliced ham on one side, Sliced cheese on the other, fried egg in the middle.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:31 AM on January 16, 2009

Breakfast smoothies which can be prepared the night before and then poured the morning of are a good option because you can provide both a sweet and savory option.

I will also vote for the breakfast burrito. Varieties to include: heavy protein; vegetarian/vegan; combo.

Now if you want to do something sweet but can be prepped easily as well then I suggest crepes/thin pancakes with combos incuding honey/lemon, nutella/bananna, fruit preserves and something unique like chestnut preserves.

All of these can be made the night before and only need a microwave or a warming oven and give you the option of creating a buffet environment or simply platters of wrapped, ready to go items.
posted by jadepearl at 10:39 AM on January 16, 2009

French toast sandwiches, which keep pretty well in a warm oven.

Leave bread out overnight to get it slightly stale. Spread with cream cheese and jam.

Whisk up eggs and a little milk (if you're fancy and it goes with your jam choices, you can also whisk in cinnamon, or extracts, or citrus zest, or honey). Dunk each sandwich in the egg mixture until well coated. Cook in a pan with melted butter over medium heat.

Keep in a single layer in a warm oven until ready to serve. I have kept them successfully for up to an hour, but they do start to get soggy, so try not to keep them too long.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:36 AM on January 16, 2009

once again, apartment therapy has anticipated this question & offers 10 ideas/recipes, plus reader contributions.
posted by msconduct at 12:56 PM on January 16, 2009

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