Dorm Room Cuisine


The semester is winding down, with finals looming (or already taking place) at most colleges and universities, and soon students will presumably be heading back home for winter break and lots of nice, home-cooked meals. But for the time that you’re still stuck in the dorms, why not make the most of your two most important meal-time devices: the microwave and the mini-fridge.

Most of the time dorm room eating conjures up images of the ever popular 10 for $1 packages of ramen noodles (or if you’re cool the $0.50 version in a styrofoam-like cup), cheap delivery pizza, and other boring, not-so-tasty microwaveable meals. Not only are these pre-fab, micro-cooked meals not very healthy, but after awhile they can get to be a bit of a drag. They’ll also help you to pack on that freshman 15, and leave you with less energy than you need.

So when you feel like eating something different, or something healthier, here are a few good dorm room food ideas that I’ve thought up myself, heard from others and/or found on the web. Oh, and Emeril, your dorm food suggestions are completely impractical unless you’re dorming at a culinary institute.


Salad is actually a pretty easy meal/side dish to pull off in a dorm. Presuming you have a fridge, you can keep a bag of spinach leaves or some lettuce in there. The best kind to get would probably be one of those salads in a bag that already have some other veggies mixed in, like carrots. Then you can buy some other toppings to put in your salad – maybe a tomato, croutons, cheese. One bottle of your favorite salad dressing should last you a good while. A good salad can be yummy, healthy, and easy to throw together.

Chili Dogs:

What you need: One package of hot dogs, one package of hot dog buns, a can of chili. Cook the hotdogs in the microwave, slap them on a bun, and then heat up your chili in your microwave. After heating, spoon or slop on some chili on the dog. If you want to really go all out, sprinkle some cheddar cheese or hot sauce on top. Yum. Perfect for watching the football game with your buddies.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich:

A childhood favorite, revived for dorm living. If your school allows toasters (or you snuck one in anyways, as I did), toast some bread, lay on some slices of american or cheddar cheese and stick it in the microwave. Looking for a more fulfilling version? Get a tomato and put a few slices between the cheese, or get some of that microwavable bacon and add in a few pieces. It also goes great with a can of tomato soup.

White or Brown Rice:

This was one of my staples in college. Cook up a bowl of rice, and you can throw just about anything on it to make it a heartier and more fulfilling meal. One of my favorite additions to it was this frozen, microwavable cream of chicken stuff by Stouffer’s. Or if I was low on cash, I’d just eat it plain sometimes. It’s cheap, and if you buy a big enough bag or box, it’ll last you awhile.

Pasta & Sauce:

Nowadays there are loads of microwave pastas available. If you keep some of this in stock, and a jar of spaghetti sauce you’ve got yourself a nice little meal. Add in the salad from above and you’re really doing well!

One thing living in a dorm does teach you is how to be creative with your limited cash supply, and with your food. Feel free to help out fellow dormies by sharing with us some of your best dorm room recipes. :)

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