UC Santa Barbara’s food program offers free cooking classes at a resource center on campus open to students, faculty and staff. Last week’s cooking class was one of the many workshop classes provided by a program created as part of a larger initiative to help participants learn about meal-prepping and stretching the dollar, all while learning about mindful eating.

Marilu Bedolla / Daily Nexus

Last Tuesday’s class was led by Edit Hosisminasians, third-year financial math and statistics major, who interns for the Food, Nutrition and Basic Skills program (FNBS). Hosisminasians said that the classes are made to benefit the participants.

“I think essentially to help out students that don’t know how to necessar[ily] cook or shop on a budget, and it’s difficult to have nutritious food for them at home because of it. So we really wanted to tackle that,” Hosisminasians said.

On the university’s website, FNBS is described to have come together thanks to the partnership of the community, university programs and students. Also mentioned in the website was the program’s purpose to reduce food insecurity for college students. Hosisminasians said that from pre-surveys and post-surveys participants fill out during the workshop, she has noticed participants are changing their eating habits.

“I don’t have the numbers right now, but we noticed that it actually does help the students learn skills necessary to cook better or make better choices when they’re eating and eat less processed foods,” Hosisminasians said.

The intern said that the program is developing and is expanding the services provided.

“It is basically about doing like a series of cooking classes,” Hosisminasians said. “So series one would be you would learn how to do like basic knife skills. The next one would be you would learn how to wash vegetables and produce and like how to shop.”

The intern said that people who complete the series of classes would receive a certificate of completion and the program would be free of cost for participants.

The multipurpose room located inside the Student Resource Building — the space used to host the workshop — made use of the space and makeshift cooking stations, made up of a single pot burner and a cutting board.

On the menu was a one-pot mac and cheese recipe that called for vegetable broth to boil and cook the pasta. Not much broth was used in the recipe, which allowed for the noodles to cook fast and capture the broth’s flavor.

For the recipe itself, students do not have to follow it strictly, as they can modify the quantity of ingredients. This mac and cheese called for three types of cheese and soy milk to create a white sauce for the pasta shells. The instructor told participants that the best time to add their vegetable toppings was after the cheese sauce was fully melted. This recipe is unique because it is loaded with vegetables, inclusive to people with dietary restrictions and satisfying.

Students are able to sign up for these classes online through Health & Wellness or at the program’s table before the workshop starts. For the full mac and cheese recipe, follow the ingredients and instructions below:

Marilu Bedolla / Daily Nexus


Servings: 4

Start to finish: 30 minutes


  • 8 oz. whole wheat elbow pasta
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable stock or water
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ onion powder
  • ½ tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of prefered milk
  • ½ cup shredded sharp white cheddar
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan
  • Toppings: broccoli, peas, bell peppers, parsley, spinach, mushrooms


  1. In a 12-inch pan or skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms and stir until soft, about five minutes. Once done, set mushrooms aside in a bowl.
  2. Using the same pan, bring pasta, stock, seasoning and butter to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until pasta has absorbed most of the stock and is firm. The pasta takes about seven minutes.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, use a cutting board to chop up any of the toppings you would like to use. Set aside.
  4. Add in milk and cheese and cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until the pasta has absorbed the milk and the cheese has melted. This should take about five minutes.
  5. Add in additional toppings. Serve warm.