Man Cannot Live on Top Ramen Alone: 5 Great Recipes for Surviving Dorm Life

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Let’s be honest here: shared kitchens are often pretty nasty. With college students coming in and out, there’s really no knowing what spilled all over the stovetop and is going to go up in flames when you turn on the heat. That’s why a lot of students prefer to stick to what they can make in their room. You’d be surprised by what you can do with a mini-fridge and a microwave. But with limited storage space, you need to stick to just a few essential ingredients.

5 Cake in a Mug

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This is perfect for a roommates-night-in. It requires all the basic baking ingredients but most of them don’t need to be refrigerated so they’re easier to find storage space for. And they probably won’t last long anyway since you’ll want to make this every night (just watch out for the Freshman 15). In a large coffee mug, combine 4 tablespoons of flour and sugar and 2 tablespoons cocoa. Then add one egg, 3 tablespoons each of milk and oil, a splash of vanilla and a small handful of chocolate chips (it’s optional, but why wouldn’t you?). Then microwave on high for 3 minutes and either tip out onto a plate or dig right in with a spoon.

4 Western Omelet

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Technically, this isn’t an omelet at all since it’s not fried. Don’t expect the consistency to be the same. But it’s still tasty and gets in all the protein and vegetables that you want without any of the oil. If you want to add vegetables, you may want to steam them in the microwave for about five minutes before you mix them into your omelet so that they aren’t still raw and crunchy. Crack eggs into a microwave safe dish and whisk them with some milk, salt and pepper. Also stir in anything else you want, including herbs, spices, vegetables, cheese, sausage or bacon. Microwave on medium heat for one minute, then take it out and stir. Then putting it back in for another minute, take it out, stir and continue until the omelet is cooked.

3 Microwave Risotto

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This is a little bit fancier. If you want to simplify it, you can use onion and garlic powder instead of the real stuff but we’ll start by assuming that you’re trying to impress someone and are willing to go all out this time. Start by chopping up one onion and one clove of garlic very fine and put it into a microwave safe dish. Cook it on high for at least three minutes and then set it aside. Then heat up about 1 ½ cups of vegetable broth (you can use a mix for this) for about two minutes. Stir it in with the onions, garlic and about a cup of uncooked risotto rice then cover the dish tightly and cook it on high for about six minutes. Then stir in either ¾ white wine or ½ white grape juice or apple juice and a quarter cup of wine vinegar and cook it for another ten minutes or until almost all the liquid is boiled off. Then stir in about ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese and enjoy!

2 Teriyaki Chicken

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Believe it or not, chicken can be cooked completely safely in the microwave. The downside is that it will have no texture: None of the crispy skin or satisfying browning that you would get in an oven or frying pan. That’s why it’s best to stick to cutlets: boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Stir together about a quarter cup of soy sauce with a few tablespoons of ketchup, garlic powder and sugar. Dip your chicken in and put it in the microwave covered for 6-8 minutes on high. Make sure to cut into it to check that the center isn’t pink before you eat it. Besides making being a healthful dinner on its own, these chicken breasts are also a good way to make a salad or pasta dishing more filling and impressive.

1 Tuna-Broccoli Pasta

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This recipe uses all of the basic things that you can make in a microwave and basically throws them all together. Put water into a large microwave safe container and put it in the microwave on high for 5 minutes. Then toss in the pasta and put it back for another 10 minutes or so on the highest level. This may depend on the specific brand and shape of pasta you use, or if you use whole wheat pasta but as soon as you’ve gotten it right you’ll have a whole new world of dorm cooking opened up. Steam the broccoli by cutting it into small pieces and putting it into a microwave safe dish with a few tablespoons of water for about 6-8 minutes. Now toss the broccoli, pasta and a can of tuna in a little olive oil (just enough to coat it), garlic powder and pepper and sprinkle very liberally with parmesan cheese and you’ve got all the food groups covered.

Any more great ideas? Please share!

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