Getting used to dorm life again after spending a summer at home is a serious adjustment–small rooms, more people, fewer bathrooms and a half-ass kitchen to top it all off. If you’re sick of dining hall food and your dorm room “kitchen” only has a microwave, here are 10 recipes you can pull off anyway.
1. Cheese Fondue
Cheese fondue is a delicious and low-key recipe to make in your dorm, with the added bonus that it doesn’t even feel like dorm room food. The ingredients: Swiss cheese, Gruyere cheese, white wine, flour, nutmeg, salt and a loaf of bread. All super easy to get (with your I.D.), and you can find them all at your local grocery store. And who doesn’t like cheese?
2. Pizza Bagels
If you’ve been spending too much money ordering Domino’s but still want to get in your pizza fix, pizza bagels are calling your name. All you need are bagels, your favorite tomato sauce, shredded cheese and whatever toppings your heart desires. The best thing about pizza bagels is that they’re classic but also versatile, because you can add anything from pineapples to peppers. A microwave will work just fine in a dorm, but you could always use a toaster oven if you’re feeling fancy.
3. Brownie in a Mug
Who says you need an oven to make brownies? Certainly not food.com. This recipe is an ultra-fast and simple way to make a brownie. Best of all, you just need a microwave and your favorite coffee mug. Get some cocoa powder, sugar, flour, vanilla, butter and salt when you head to the grocery store. All you have to do is mix them together in a mug, microwave it for a little over a minute and you’ve got yourself a quick and delicious brownie. Plus this is probably one of the most “college” things you’ll ever do, which is strangely satisfying.
4. Fancy Salad
Most people hear salad and think of diets or a meal that won’t hold you over for more than two minutes. But they make the list of college-y meals, because they’re super simple to make when there’s no oven to be found. You don’t have to cook anything, so you can just chop up a bunch of vegetables and toss them over lettuce. Add chopped up fruit, nuts, croutons and your favorite dressing, then it’s a real party. The Food Network has 50 (!) simple salad recipes, most of which don’t even require a microwave.
5. Scrambled Eggs in a Mug
Mugs and microwaves are for more than just coffee. If you like how your brownie came out, try cooking scrambled eggs in the microwave. Just mix eggs, milk and salt and pepper in a mug then microwave while periodically pausing to stir. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even trying adding some chopped up peppers, mushrooms or cheese for a mom-approved breakfast.
6. Yogurt and Fruit Parfaits
If you’re looking for a new breakfast, or even a healthy snack, yogurt and fruit parfaits are a fresh option. Just get a glass (or even your handy dandy mug) and alternate layers of yogurt with layers of granola and berries. You don’t have to cook anything at all, and you can tailor the recipe with your favorite kinds of berries and yogurt. Plus this is super healthy, which will be a nice change from all that greasy pizza (bagels).
7. Chips and Homemade Guac
The reality is that you’ll be snacking a lot by yourself and with friends. You can find lots of pre-made dips and salsas at the grocery store, but it’s even better to whip up your own. Just grab some avocados, tomatoes, onions and a few spices, mix it all together, and you’ve got guac without paying the $2 extra. Get a bag of your favorite chips and you’re ready to snack.
8. Mac and cheese
…in a mug. If you’re living in a dorm room with an incomplete kitchen, a mug and microwave will save your life (and your stomach). Mac and cheese is classic and delicious, and when you can make it in a mug with a microwave, there’s no reason to buy prepackaged cheese dust. You just need to microwave elbow macaroni in some water or milk until cooked, then add desired cheese and nuke it some more. Stir it up and you have yet another mug meal.
9. Autumn Fruit Salad
Fruit salad seems like a no-brainer to make in your dorm, but it can be tricky with all the summer fruits slowly disappearing. Luckily, there are still plenty of delicious fall fruits available like pears, apples and grapes, which you can make into a really tasty fruit salad. This recipe adds a cinnamon Greek yogurt dressing and some pecans to top it all off. The fall fruit salad makes regular fruit salad look like a saltine cracker. Plus, you’re still keeping things fresh, healthy and easy.
10. Microwave Risotto
Maybe you have friends coming over, or you’re just feeling fancy and want to treat yourself. Either way, microwaved risotto is the way to go. It takes a little longer than most recipes on this list, but it’s worth the extra two minutes. With basic ingredients of Arborio rice (risotto rice), white wine, butter, garlic, onion and broth, you won’t be spending a ton of money and you can tailor the recipe however you want. Some suggestions are: butternut squash and sage; mushroom and thyme; and bacon, kale and mushrooms.