The Daily Illini

Dorm cookin’ 101

By Gillian Dunlop, Managing Editor for Reporting

Living in a dorm your first year of college is practically a rite of passage. We all have to experience the cramped, oftentimes non-air conditioned and dusty room we share with a friend or stranger.  

Despite the overall yuckiness of dorms, there is something special about them. They symbolize the beginning of your university career and are a great way to begin making friends. Another part of dorm life is the attached meal plan.

At the University, there is an abundance of dining halls. Even with endless options of fries and ice cream, sometimes you will want to cook up a few meals in your dorm. It is true you are slightly limited in terms of appliances as most dorms only have a mini-fridge and a microwave, but if you follow these recipes, everyone will be coming to your dorm for a bite to eat.

Upscale Ramen

Ramen is the classic college meal, but you don’t have to settle for a plain old Cup Noodles. Add in a couple of extra ingredients to take your ramen to the next level.

Ingredients:

1 package Instant Ramen

1 egg

Soy sauce for taste

Red Chili Flakes for taste

Directions:

  1. Make ramen according to the package
  2. While the ramen is cooking, separate the egg yolk from the egg whites
  3. After ramen is done cooking but still hot, add the raw egg yolk to the noodles and stir vigorously until the yolk is incorporated*
  4. Add soy sauce and red chili flakes to taste, stir and enjoy!

*The raw egg yolk will make your noodles have a creamy, buttery texture while adding tons of flavor.

Omelet in a Mug

There is nothing like fresh eggs in the morning, so even if you are running late and need an on-the-go meal, this classic breakfast will help fuel you throughout the day.

Ingredients:

2 eggs

¼ bell pepper, diced

Handful of chopped spinach

Ham, diced (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine eggs, veggies and meat in a microwave-safe mug
  2. Cook in the microwave for 2-3 minutes until egg is cooked through, stirring halfway
  3. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper and enjoy!

Homemade Mac n Cheese

Mac n Cheese is a classic, and although Easy Mac has made it easy to enjoy in a dorm room setting, it’s still satisfying to make your own (and add as much cheese as your heart desires).

Ingredients:

2 cups elbow macaroni

¼ cup water

Salt and pepper to taste

3 tablespoons milk

As much shredded cheese as your heart desires

Red chili flakes (optional)

Directions:

  1. Combine macaroni, water and salt
  2. Microwave in a bowl for 2-3 minutes
  3. Add in milk, cheese and pepper, stir
  4. Microwave for another 30 seconds to a minute, or until cheese melts and dish becomes creamy
  5. Garnish with red chili flakes if you like some heat and enjoy!

Bagel Bites

Nothing hits the spot after a stressful day or long night like a bagel bite. You can get the frozen ones from a few of the dining halls on campus, but you can also make your own if you don’t feel like walking!

Ingredients:

2 bagels, cut in half

Shredded cheese

Tomato sauce

Pepperoni

Pepper and oregano to taste

Directions:

  1. Slice bagels in half
  2. Toast bagels prior to cooking if you like them crispy
  3. Add sauce, cheese and pepperoni to bagel
  4. Microwave for 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted
  5. Sprinkle with pepper and oregano
  6. Enjoy!

Protein-packed Apple Sandwiches

If you’re running late for class or a meeting, you can easily whip up a healthy, protein fueled apple sandwich which will satisfy your tastebuds until your next meal.

Ingredients:

1 apple

2 tablespoons peanut butter (chunky or creamy)

Oats or mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Slice the apple into circular slices
  2. Add peanut butter on one half
  3. Place an apple slice on top
  4. Roll in oats or mini chocolate chips for extra flavor
  5. Enjoy!

Quesadilla Pizza

Every college student needs pizza in their life. It’s just a fact. Unfortunately, in the dorms, it’s not always a possibility to cook a frozen one. So if you’re trying to save money and don’t want to order out, make your own mini version with a quesadilla.

Ingredients:

1 tortilla

Shredded cheese

Tomato sauce

Veggies of choice for toppings

Meat of choice for toppings

Directions:

  1. Place tortilla on a microwave-safe plate
  2. Add sauce, cheese and toppings
  3. Microwave for 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted
  4. Enjoy!

Gillian is a senior in Media. 

[email protected]

About the Writer
Gillian Dunlop, Managing Editor for Reporting

I’m a senior in journalism who has been a part of The Daily Illini for two years. I served as a news reporter and assistant news editor prior to becoming managing editor for reporting. When I’m not breaking news, I love watching “The Office” and cultivating my culinary chops on Cooking with Gill.

[email protected]

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