Student Chefs Demonstrate Culinary Prowess at RHA Cook Off

Cooking is not an easy task. What makes it even harder? Cooking in a residence hall. Students who live in residence halls routinely struggle to find the proper cookware, fridge space, and even time to cook delicious food. But on Saturday, April 9, competitors rose to the challenge in the Third Annual RHA Cook Off. 16 students submitted competed to win one of these categories: “Most Healthy,” “Most Original,” or “Most Residence Hall Friendly” dish. Competitors were asked to submit their recipe and their ingredients were purchased and provided for them. They met in residence hall kitchens in the morning to prepare their dishes. Then, competitors and other attendees met to determine whose dish was the best. Dishes were rated on a scale from 1-10 in each category. The dish with the highest score won that category.

This fun event aimed to teach students about healthy eating and nutrition. A nutrition label was prepared for each dish and all attendees received a handout with instructions on how to read a nutrition label. RHA partnered with Mines Dining by Sodexo to put on this event. Before the tasting began, a Sodexo chef did a demo for a super easy and delicious recipe for Bisquick Mug Cake. This adaptable, residence hall friendly recipe involves mixing Bisquick with sugar, oil, milk and eggs and putting in the microwave. During the demo the chef added blueberries and vanilla or cocoa powder, but mentioned that anything could be added to the dish including other fruits, chocolate chips, or even marshmallows. The recipe can be found below.

Following the demo, the taste test began! Students lined up to taste each of the delicious dishes. With so many options, many people found their plates full before they could even sample all of the entries. Competitors prepared a whole host of delicious appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Some of the main courses prepared were “Souper Wonton Soup,” “Mexican Lasagna,” “Chicken with Pineapple,” and “Shrimp Gnocchi in Garlic Crème Sauce.” Appetizers included “Boneless Chicken Wings,” “Kumla,” and “Holy Guacamole and Other Daring Dips.” Some of the desserts were “Vegan Cake Pops,” “Sopapilla Cheesecake Pie,” and “Guten Free Apple Pie.” These delicious dishes and more were tasted and scored to find the winners.

Winners were announced after everyone had tasted and rated each dish. Kelsie Merchant took home the prize for healthiest dish with her vegetable roll recipe. This recipe included spring roll wrappers and a variety of tasty fresh veggies. Bryce Bastian won the most residence hall friendly category with her “Scrumptious Chocolate Tacos.” This decadent recipe involved dipping hard taco shells in chocolate and filling them with milk and white chocolate chips, marshmallows, peanut butter, and maraschino cherries. Marta Ekossi won most original dish with her “Bacalhau with Whipping Cream.” This dish included Bacalhau (codfish) and potatoes in a delicious creamy sauce. All three winners were awarded prizes including a food chopper, a silverware and spatula set, a travel mug, and a set of measuring spoons. Overall this was a fun and educational event for learning about healthy eating, having fun with friends, and eating delicious food.

All of the recipes from this year and from previous years’ events can be found at: Be sure to check out this website to find some new recipe inspiration for healthy and residence hall friendly foods!

Blueberry Bisquick Mug Cake

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes


  • 5 1/2 tbsp Bisquick,
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 3 1/2 tbsp milk
  • 1 medium egg
  • Splash of vanilla
  • 8-12 blueberries
  • Optional: 2 tbsp cocoa powder

Directions: Add all ingredients except blueberries into an oversized mug. Stir with a whisk and mix until most of the lumps are gone and only very tiny Bisquick lumps remain. Drop in blueberries. Cook in microwave for approximately 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Cake may still have wet looking outside, but this is normal. If inside of cake is done (insert a knife to check – the knife should come out clean), then the cake is done. Let cake cool in cup before eating.

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