Favorite Recipes of the Purdue Residence Halls

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This is the time of year when many high school students are anxiously awaiting to receive college acceptance letters or emails.  No matter where they decide to attend, upon arrival on that first day, it is discovered that there is no more mom’s cooking.  Dorm food awaits.  Sometimes it’s good, sometimes not so good, but many times there might be one or two favorites that will help get through the late night studying.

When my youngest daughter Kara attended Indiana University the treat of choice for the students was the Special K Cookies, which are similar to Rice Krispie Treats but made with Special K cereal instead.  When Kara graduated, I bought a cookbook of student favorites so I would have the recipe to surprise her here and there.  She still loves them.

When I received many boxes of cookbooks from Polly in Washington (more on Polly and her books in a future blog!), included was this cookbook of favorite recipes from the residence halls of Purdue University.

I was immediately intrigued to see what Purdue students enjoyed.  Turns out, it was quite a bit.  Favorites included entrées like enchiladas, sweet-sour pork, chicken chimichangas, Monte Crisco sandwiches, and tuna-potato chip casserole.  They loved salads like garden vegetable, Hawaiian ambrosia, and pasta salads.  Side dishes such as cheesy and rich New Orleans potatoes, or noodles Romanoff.  To warm up in the cold Indiana months chili was popular, along with cream of broccoli and Canadian cheese soups.  I am betting the warm and gooey butterscotch rolls were popular before an early morning class.  And for desserts, who doesn’t love a good chocolate crinkle cookie, Scotcheroos, turtle brownies, chocolate eclair torte, Hello Dolly Bars, or the one I decided to make, Banana Oatmeal Cookies.

While those warm gooey butterscotch rolls sound wonderful, sometimes it’s just easy to grab and run with a cookie that is a little healthier made with lots of fresh mashed bananas, oatmeal, and aromatic spices.  These cookies could be named Breakfast Cookies.  They are not a crispy cookie; it’s cake-like as a muffin or banana bread.  My husband loved having them for coffee in the morning, and even my 10-month old granddaughter liked having tiny bites.  They were easy for her to chew since they are so soft, plus she loves bananas.

If any of you reading this attended Purdue or had a child attend, was there a favorite food you remember?  Or chime in with a favorite from any college!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Banana Oatmeal Cookies
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup plus 1 Tablespoon softened butter
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ¾ cup finely chopped pecans
  1. In bowl of electric mixer, cream together brown sugar and butter.
  2. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Cut in butter mixture to flour mixture using a pastry blender. Stir in beaten eggs, mashed bananas, oats, and nuts until well-blended. Cover bowl and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a nonstick baking sheet, or a lightly greased cookie sheet to make about 3-1/2 dozen cookies. These will be smaller cookies, but if you like them little bigger (as my husband does) make 2-1/2 dozen using a cookie scoop.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden around the edges and cookies are done in the middle. Remove from oven and let sit for a minute on the baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.


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17 Responses to Favorite Recipes of the Purdue Residence Halls

  1. May 15, 2023 at 1:50 pm #

    Sounds yummy! At college, with my class of 18 Dental Hygiene students, our favorite was a banana cookie, also. Made by the sweet receptionist on staff in the clinic, Serena, who baked them fresh with cream cheese icing on top for all of us during finals each quarter. She was such a joy filled sweet lady, who we all loved, & we all loved her fresh baked Banana Drop Cookies.

    • May 15, 2023 at 11:25 pm #

      What a sweet story, Kim! Such a nice memory for you.

  2. May 15, 2023 at 1:51 pm #

    Oh how WE also loved Special K treats! I grew up in Indiana and my Daddy went to IU and IU Medical school! I think the Purdue cookbook has to be a great findHope your Mother’s Day was great!

    • May 15, 2023 at 11:24 pm #

      Lori, those are so good! The cookbook was a fun surprise to receive. I love books like that!

  3. May 21, 2023 at 6:26 pm #

    Any chance you can post that potato-chip tuna casserole? Used to live in Terry Courts and Owen Hall.

    • May 21, 2023 at 11:17 pm #

      I can do that, Brian! I’m so happy to hear from a former student! Check your email.

  4. July 29, 2023 at 9:29 am #

    My husband and I attended Purdue in the early ’80s. Both of us fondly remember the Bing cherry jello with walnuts. It’s probably a ridiculously easy recipe to make.
    Any chance it is included in the treasure cookbook you found?

    • July 31, 2023 at 9:38 pm #

      Hi Linda- I just checked the cookbook and unfortunately there was not a Bing Cherry jello with walnuts. Sorry!

  5. September 27, 2023 at 1:14 pm #

    I REALLY wish I could get my hands on that Purdue cookbook.
    There are 3 recipes in particular I’ve yearned for since I last lived in Owen Hall since the early 80’s: CANADIAN CHEESE SOUP, CHICKEN POT PIE, and TEXAS STRAW HAT.
    I certainly would be much obliged if you wouldn’t mind sharing those with me; or even let me know how I could get a copy of the book. THANKS!!

    • September 27, 2023 at 10:54 pm #

      Hi Steven- I’ll go find the book on my shelves and will send you the recipes if they are in the book. I’ll get back to you soon. The copy I have was given to me so I don’t know how to find another.

    • September 28, 2023 at 9:23 pm #

      Hi Steven – Check your email. I just sent you the Purdue recipes!

  6. December 17, 2023 at 7:20 pm #

    Hi there, I’m a Purdue graduate and so were both of my parents before me, I’ve been hunting down the New Orleans potatoes and this is the only mention of them I’ve found, is there a recipe for them in this book? Thank you!

    • December 17, 2023 at 10:26 pm #

      Hi Anthony- I would be happy to look up the recipe and email it to you. Watch for it soon!

  7. March 1, 2024 at 8:47 am #

    Windsor sandwiches. A great residence hall lunch

    • March 1, 2024 at 9:38 am #

      Thanks, Laura. That sandwich is not in this version of the cookbook. Sounds interesting- what is in it?

  8. March 13, 2024 at 4:26 pm #

    I’m looking for the Baked Oatmeal recipe they served in Purdue’s Wiley Hall. If it’s I. The cookbook, can you share the recipe?

    • March 13, 2024 at 9:13 pm #

      Hi Linda- I just checked the cookbook and the Baked Oatmeal is not in there. I think there are other residence hall cookbooks, so maybe you can track it down somehow. Sorry I couldn’t help!

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