The College Dorm Cooking Method Ina Garten Swears By

If you could do college all over again and pick one superhero to be your roommate, who would you choose? "Iron Man" is the obvious choice, since parties would be epic and you'd have the best lab partner for chemistry every time. A case could be made for "Wonder Woman," whose first-hand experience with Greek mythology might come in handy as you get those humanities courses out of the way ... plus, you know, she has an invisible jet. But if you choose any superhero other than Ina Garten, you are doing yourself and the rest of your dorm buddies a huge disservice. 

On Garten's website, Jack Crossley from Amherst, Massachusetts, sent the chef the following message: "I am an incoming college student, and would love some tips. What are some staple ingredients that I should have on hand, and what are some recipes that would work well in a college setting?" If you're on the edge of your seat waiting for Garten's response, you're not alone. Crossley unknowingly asked the question that all of us want to know, really: How can I make cooking easier? Because the truth is, no matter how old you are, or how many pro tools your kitchen is stocked with, you still have to come up with something to make with the ingredients you've got on hand. 

A sheet pan, an oven, and a few staple ingedients are all you need

"Assuming that you have an oven, there are a million things you can make on a sheet pan (with 12x18 with a 1-inch lip.)," Garten replied on her site. "You can roast chicken breasts, Brussels sprouts, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, really any vegetable! You can even make brownies for dessert." She's right, of course. Garten's take on garlic roasted potatoes look delicious and they are super easy to make — all you need are potatoes, garlic, salt, and pepper, plus good olive oil and that trusty sheet pan. Most of those things also have a long shelf-life, which makes them ideal for a busy college kid. 

The kitchen in Crossley's dorm is also bound to be stocked with the ingredients for Garten's brownies. The sweet treats are even made with instant coffee granules — perfect for a study-session sugar rush. And when you're stuck for groceries (and inspiration) and visiting day is still months away? "It never hurts to have a box of pasta and a jar of Rao's marinara sauce on hand for dinner in ten minutes," Garten said. She makes it all sound so easy, doesn't she? But even the celebrity chef admits that first step into the big world was scary for her as well. However, Garten admitted to People, "I love to jump off the cliff and figure out how to fly on my way down."