Cooking while in college can be a real pain, but that doesn’t mean you have to stick to fast food and ramen noodles. There are meals you can make that are both cheap, healthy, and easy to prepare, even if you’re only working with a hot plate and a microwave.
There are some essentials to keep around at all times, which can help you stay prepared and inspired to cook at home. Items such as: whole wheat pasta, spices, cans of diced tomatoes and beans, a large container of oatmeal, and pre-sliced fruits/veggies that you can keep in your mini fridge. You may think you don’t have room for things like this, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Places like the container store make magnetic spice racks, and you can easily stack cans in a box under the bed, or designate one cabinet to share with your roomie that is to be used only for dried food goods.
Now that you’re stocked, here are some easy recipes you can make in your dorm room.
1) Stuffed Baked Sweet Potato – You can bake a sweet potato in the microwave, and it turns out quite delicious. Simply wash it, keep the skin on, puncture some holes in it with a fork, put it in a bowl with some sort of cover on top. We recommend a microwave splatter protector like this one. Cook it in the microwave for 10-12 minutes. While it is cooking, steam some broccoli, kale or any other veggies you have on hand. When the sweet potato is done, cut it down the middle, add your veggies, and top it with some low-fat cheese or a scoop of sour cream.
2) Three Bean Salad – At Trader Joes or any local super market you can find bags of romaine hearts, pre-washed spinach, pre-cut mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, etc. Grab everything you like on your salad, and then top it with a three bean mix of your choice. We like chick peas, white kidney beans, and red kidney beans. Toss it with your favorite dressing, and you’re ready to go.
3) Spaghetti and Veggies – Since meatballs may not be on the menu if you only have a hot plate, make a pot of whole wheat spaghetti and add in a ton of steamed veggies. You can grab the stir fry veggie pack at the grocery store, and make a simple spaghetti sauce before you start.
4) Oatmeal with Fresh Berries – This is a great breakfast that will keep you full for hours. Grab a large can of plain microwaveable oatmeal. Cook it. Top it off with whatever berries are in season and pair it with a cup of coffee or tea. We eat this on the daily and always leave home feeling full and happy.
What easy recipes do you make? -Sasha Huff