It can be challenging to get a decent meal when you’re living in a dorm. With a few staple gadgets and ingredients anyone can be an iron chef and improve dorm life. Follow these great tips to get you started! Just, please, check with your campus’ regulations for dorm room appliances before you go spending that IRS refund check.
First things first
You’ll need to have the right equipment on hand before you begin cooking. Most likely you don’t have a ton of space in your dorm room, so here are a few space-saving appliances that allow more bang for your buck.
- Nostalgia Electrics Egg and Muffin Toaster, $39.99: Allows you to not only toast a bagel but cook an egg and a sausage patty at the same time.
- Sunbeam Hot Shot Hot Water Dispenser and Bowl, $19.99: Up to 16 ounces of hot water can be heated in under two minutes and can be used for your favorite instant soup, hot tea, or oatmeal.
- Cuisinart Griddler with Removable Plates, $99.99: This little griddle does it all: grills chicken and burgers, fries bacon and eggs, makes pancakes and presses a perfect Panini together in no time! Plus, it’s easy to clean.
- Oster 4-Slice Stainless Steel Toaster Oven, $39.99: Toaster ovens are much more practical than a basic toaster: They can cook your personal pizzas, reheat leftover Chinese and bake a small batch of cookies without taking up too much space.
- Microwave: There are many sizes, styles, and prices for this classic kitchen appliance.
Slow cookers, one-cup coffee makers, and blenders are all excellent additions to your dorm room iron chef equipment. As stated above, be sure to check with your campus guidelines to make sure the appliances you’d like to purchase are allowed in your dorm.
Staple ingredients to have in your dorm room
Now that you have the right equipment, you need the right ingredients to begin cooking! Some quick and easy items to have on hand include:
- Rice: Minute rice can be cooked in a microwave
- Canned chicken: Perfect for chicken salad or as a cracker topping
- Quinoa: Very versatile and can be cooked in the microwave
- Sriracha: A hot sauce used in many Thai dishes
- Pasta sauce: Keeping a few jars in your room can help when you need a quick meal to prepare
- Boxed pasta: To use with the pasta sauce
- Veggies: If you don’t have a mini fridge to keep the fresh ones, at least have a few cans on hand to add to dishes
- Olive oil, balsamic oil, and vegetable oil are all great to keep in the cupboard
A few quick recipes that will have you coined as the Iron Chef of the Dorm Room
Kraft Recipes Quinoa Chicken Salad: A twist on an old favorite
- Cook 1 cup quinoa in microwave (Combine water and quinoa in microwaveable bowl; cover loosely. Microwave on HIGH 8 min.; stir. Let stand 10 min. Microwave 2 min; stir. Let stand 1 min. before serving.)
- Add 1 can of cooked chicken pieces; 6 green onions, chopped; 1 cup seedless red grapes, halved; ½ cup walnut pieces and ½ cup Italian dressing
- Mix ingredients together and serve on toasted wheat bread or on top of crackers.
- Refrigerate any remaining salad, or share with friends down the hall.
Sriracha is a very versatile hot sauce and can be used to add spice to many different dishes. Merritt Watts posted “Sriracha recipes: 20 fun ideas for our favorite chili sauce” for Martha Stewart’s Everyday Recipes on January 29, 2013 and included these suggestions:
- Mix it with your favorite marinara sauce and serve over pasta and veggies
- Blend it with hummus to use as a dip for pita and celery
- Squirt some onto your pizza or into your mac and cheese for an extra kick
If you’re feeling really adventurous…
You could always invite a few friends over and try these recipes:
- Strawberry Balsamic Pizza with Roasted Chicken, Sweet Onion and Applewood Smoked Bacon: (You’ll have to modify to make in your dorm’s toaster oven, but with a little imagination you can do it!)
- Apple Cinnamon Mug Cake: Single-serving desserts are all the rage these days! Don’t store baking items in your dorm room? Look for a bulk food store and only purchase what you need.
- Breakfast in a Mug: Ever thought of cooking eggs and bacon in the microwave? Give this recipe a try.
The trick to becoming a good cook is to keep trying different combinations of ingredients to see what works for you. You don’t have to add to the stereotype that all college students eat is noodles and cereal.
Do you have some other delicious and easy college recipes? Share them with us in the comments below!