College Cooking

First Recipe in a New Column

By Jackie Michel


When you go off to college, or spend lots of time at home by yourself, food suddenly moves to the top of your list. What are you going to eat for lunch? Isn’t ordering takeout all the time really expensive? How do you find something that’s easy and inexpensive to make?

This is what my new column is all about. Easy, cheap meals to make that still taste good and can feed just yourself, your whole family, or your roommates. Today, I want to start with a recipe my family calls Brownie Stew, so dubbed because my mom learned to make it when she was on a camp out as a Girl Scout Brownie. It is a one pot dish that is very versatile!


You need: One large fry pan with sloped sides (this recipe can also be made in large pot or a wok pot, but it needs to be pretty deep if it’s not very wide), stove, tin can to put grease in from the meat, paper towels to soak up grease, and a large spoon to stir and work with a large amount of ingredients.



  • ½ pound ground beef (96% lean works best, but more fat won’t change the recipe)
  • 1 large can of ranch style beans
  • 1 package of flour tortillas 
  • 1 bag of Frito Lays
  • Any toppings you like (sour cream, guacamole, cheddar cheese, salsa, etc)

How to Make:

  1. Brown the ground beef on the stove until all the meat is cooked
  2. Pour off the grease into the tin can and use the paper towels to mop up the excess grease inside the pan
  3. Add the ranch style beans with liquid to the ground beef 
  4. Stir until combined and let simmer for approximately five minutes, or until you can see the stew thicken and get darker brown
  5. Serve either in a warm flour tortilla with toppings, or in a bowl over Fritos with toppings.
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