10 Easy Dorm Meals

by Alice Wen

Overview

Cooking in a dorm room can be difficult, especially when rules restrict bringing kitchen appliances to school. But the typically allowed microwave can do more than heat up last night’s leftovers. Tired of Hot Pockets or Easy Mac for a quick meal? Have an extra 20 minutes in the morning before class starts? Want something more creative than a pint of ice cream for dessert? Here are 10 easy ways to cook in the comfort of your very own bedroom.

Yogurt Parfait

Instead of grabbing that often sugar-packed cereal bar, spare a few minutes and fix yourself a fresh treat: yogurt, fruit and granola are all you need for a quick breakfast or healthy dessert. Need some extra carbs? Grab a muffin or bagel on the go.

Oatmeal

Nothing spells healthy more than oatmeal for breakfast. It's full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and protein too! Though you’ve probably seen this cooked over a stove, the microwave way is easier and quicker. If it’s too plain, add sugar, drop in some blueberries or sliced bananas, or even add ice cream for a cool and refreshing mix.

Scrambled Eggs

Though college dorm cafeterias often have this breakfast staple available, that tray everyone has been digging into all morning may look unappetizing and cold, doing nothing for your taste buds. Make it yourself at home, sprinkle a little cheese, salt and pepper and be on your way to class.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

With a portable sandwich maker, this one’s a no-brainer. But a microwave also does the trick in making this quick and easy lunch. You can even add some bacon bits or sliced tomatoes for more flavor. On a diet but can't resist the melted cheesy goodness? Here's a tip: use whole-grain bread, skim natural cheese and margarine.

Nachos

You can go plain and simple or fancy schmancy on this one, great for a study break or movie munchies with your friends. Instead of the typical chips and salsa, make your own warm yet still crispy snack by sprinkling some cheese on nacho chips and heating it up in the microwave. If you’re craving a bigger burst of flavor, adding guacamole, chives, olives, sour cream and diced tomatoes will do the trick.

Salad

Though many college cafeterias include a salad bar, you may be turned away by less than fresh greens and lumpy dressing that looks like it has seen the day of light just a little too long. Do it yourself with your own ingredients, freshness guaranteed.

Rice

Orange chicken and broccoli beef bowl for one? No thanks. You’re sick of making the trek to the Panda Express in the campus food court, but you just want some plain old rice. It’s possible to make, even without a rice cooker. All you need is rice and water, but add some seasoning, microwaveable sautéed vegetables or precooked meat if you wish.

Pasta

If those Cup o' Noodles and Easy Macs aren’t curbing your evening hunger and you have some extra time before beginning that term paper, try cooking your own pasta instead. Be sure to have pasta sauce, spices and parmesan cheese on hand.

Caramel Popcorn

Give microwaveable popcorn a twist by making and drizzling your own caramel sauce, great for those movie nights in the lounge with the rest of your hall. That bowl of sweet and salty goodness will probably be gone even more the opening credits are finished rolling!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate covered strawberries always seem to make people's eyes light up after dinner. These are also very popular when Valentine's Day is near. Your microwave makes this yummy dessert possible in a few steps. Melt chocolate, drizzle over strawberries or other fruits such as blueberries, bananas and raspberries for a decadent treat.

Photo Credits

  • James Woodson/Digital Vision/Getty Images

About the Author

Alice Wen is completing her bachelor's degree in print/digital journalism and international relations at the University of Southern California. She has been involved with her university newspaper, "The Daily Trojan," as well as the US-China Today online newsmagazine and Annenberg TV News.