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College is your opportunity to explore adult life — and that means cooking. However, dorm dwellers don’t have the convenience of stoves or even full-sized refrigerators for meals. They have to make do with shelf-stable ingredients and a microwave.
However, that doesn’t mean you always have to head to the cafeteria for a bite. After all, you might not feel like bundling up again after slogging through snow all morning to get to class. What can you make that’s quick and convenient right in your dorm room? Try one of these nine easy microwave meals for college students.
1. Mug Chicken Pot Pie
Chicken pot pie is the ultimate comfort food. One hearty mouthful transports you back to your childhood bedroom, where your mama served you hot stews to ease sickness. It’s the perfect treat for a chilly day.
You’ll need quite a few ingredients to make this dish as specified, but most of them are shelf stable, other than the chicken, milk and veggies. Best of all, you can prepare this meal in advance and zap it when you’re ready to dig in.
2. Spinach Omelet
Eggs are a protein bonanza for college students. They’re vegetarian-friendly and can be cruelty-free if you purchase them from your local farmers market from a vendor specializing in free-range, organic hens. They’re also relatively inexpensive, providing multiple meals for the cost of one cut of meat.
You can make this spinach and feta omelet in your dorm microwave — it takes less than three minutes. It’s perfect for those mornings when you need power to go the distance but don’t have much time. Do you want to add some extra protein or phytonutrients? Throw in some chopped bacon, ham or a handful of different colored veggies.
3. Light Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is an affordable college comfort classic. However, many commercial blends are laden with white flour and high in calories. Plus, that artificial cheese sauce is sketchy AF.
Instead, whip up this simple recipe that won’t have you adding another notch to your belt. It uses sour cream and goat cheese to reduce the calorie count and cuts nasty white flour noodles in favor of quinoa. This dish will keep you full for hours without making you feel guilty.
4. Butternut Squash Risotto
Although professional chefs may beg to differ, you can make risotto in the microwave. Some people swear that it turns out better using this method.
Butternut squash is inexpensive and plentiful in the fall and adds a lovely orange color to your meal. It only requires five ingredients, and you can make it vegan friendly by substituting cashew-based parmesan cheese for the real stuff. It takes about 30 minutes to prepare, but much of it is cook time — fire up the microwave while you hit the books.
5. Greek Quinoa Bowls
Many people experiment with veganism in college after learning about factory farming practices. However, nearly as many quit the lifestyle when they find it too challenging to enjoy hearty meals that don’t involve tons of artificial ingredients or rare ones they can’t find at their local grocers.
However, you may decide to make the lifestyle stick after digging into these Lemon Herb Vegan Greek Quinoa bowls. Quinoa is an ancient grain safe for most folks with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. It provides far more protein than typical flour, keeping this dish hearty. This meal is also chock-full of antioxidants from the various veggies, making it a nutritional powerhouse.
6. Egg Sandwich
The good thing about breakfast foods is that they’re typically cheap. Sure, you could hit the drive-thru to pickup an inexpensive, fast food version. However, you’d consume way more than your fair share of fat and calories before your day begins.
Instead, opt for this speedy egg sandwich you can microwave in less than three minutes. The avocado makes a nutrient-rich substitute for overly processed breakfast meats, supplying healthy fats to nurture your heart.
7. Banana Oatmeal
Eggs are great, but what if you embrace veganism? With this recipe, you can stick to your resolution and enjoy a delicious, speedy microwave breakfast.
Peanut butter is another protein source that’s easy and accessible for college students, even those that eschew animal products. A bit of the nut butter stuff and banana make your morning meal taste like a cake. Fortunately, it won’t stick to your waistline like an indulgent slice — instead, it’s full of healthy fiber to keep you full until lunch.
8. Garlic Parmesan Chicken Bites
Sometimes, you crave a hot midnight snack — but the staff has long since closed the cafe. What to do? If you have some chicken, cheese and herbs, you can enjoy a tasty microwaved repast in your dorm.
The critical thing to remember is to fully cook your chicken. It should reach an internal temperature of at least 165° to protect your safety. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, covering your dish allows steam to provide more even heat. However, you should check several pieces before indulging.
9. Tangy Mustard Microwave Cauliflower
Here’s a meal you can make with only five ingredients. It’s perfect as a snack or a full meal if you pair it with some bread and perhaps a small side salad.
Although this recipe isn’t vegan, you can make it so by substituting cashew cheese for American. However, those funky orange slices wrapped in cellophane work fine if that’s what you have on hand.
Easy Microwave Meals for College Students
Your dorm probably doesn’t come equipped with a full kitchen. Still, you’ll have times in your college life when you crave a hot snack or meal that doesn’t come from the cafe.
Instead, whip up one of these easy microwave meals for college students. When you get creative, you don’t need much more than a nuker, fridge and a serving dish or two.