Cooking for yourself in college can be a struggle, especially with hundreds of other things constantly on your mind. Some dorms come with kitchens, while others don’t. Some students have fridges, while others don’t. Some people love having piles of snacks in their room, while others don’t. If you want to feed yourself in a healthy and inexpensive way straight out of your dorm room, we’ve compiled a list of quick, easy recipes that require minimal equipment and, honestly, minimal cooking. If you have a mug and a microwave—or a fridge and a Tupperware container—you can make a combination of most of these recipes. Some require a little more prep than others, but all of these dishes are perfect for college.
1. Scrambled Eggs
Did you know you can make eggs in the microwave? If you have a fridge in your dorm room, you can easily go through a dozen eggs a week making just about anything. We love classic, protein-packed scrambled eggs because they’re just so easy. You’ll need all the usual ingredients—eggs, milk and cheese. Mix the milk and eggs in a microwave-safe cup and microwave in 30-second increments until the eggs are cooked. Then add the cheese and microwave a few seconds more if it doesn’t melt right away. As long as you have a mug, microwave, and fridge, you’re set for college breakfasts.
2. Peanut Butter Overnight Oats
If you have a sweet tooth, you can try this trendy breakfast idea. Overnight oats are popular right now, mostly because they’re so convenient to make and (almost surprisingly) delicious. The Minimalist Baker adds peanut butter and chia seeds to the oats to add healthy fats and protein. Use a mason jar or small Tupperware container to store this dish overnight. Rolled oats are super cheap and will last forever under your bed, just like peanut butter, so you’ll need to worry only about storing the almond milk in a fridge. If you want to save a bit more money, you can substitute almond milk for regular milk.
3. Riceless Risotto
Risotto might sound like something way out of reach for a college student, but it’s actually reasonably priced if you make it without rice in a microwave. Instead of traditional Arborio rice, Bran Appetit suggests the use of quick oats for your risotto. Oats are extremely cheap (and can also be used for the aforementioned overnight oats), so they’re a great pick for this hearty dish. You can add some vegetables, cheese, and chicken stock to finish off this rich, microwaveable dish. With minimal prep, you can wow your friends when you tell them you’re eating risotto in your college dorm room.
4. Mac and Cheese
We all know, and either love or hate, that bright orange, pre-packaged microwave mac and cheese. You can make a more natural version of this comfort food easily in the microwave, minus the packets of “cheese” powder. Made by Monique proves that a mug full of water can cook some dry pasta in just a few minutes. If you add your favorite cheeses and a little butter or onion powder, you can have your very own rich mac and cheese in under ten minutes.
5. Burrito Bowl
It can be difficult to cook chicken fully in the microwave, but if you can find some cheap precooked chicken at the grocery store, then it’s super easy to throw it on top of any microwave concoction. We’re loving burrito bowls because they’re high in protein and flavor. With a microwave-safe bowl, you can cook some minute rice and warm up some canned beans, then top with store-brand salsa, cheese, and that precooked chicken for a quick and very affordable meal. If you have a few extra bucks to spend for the week, make your own guacamole with an avocado and a little lime juice.
6. Chickpea, Avocado, and Feta Salad
Speaking of avocado, you can make some great salads in college without really cooking at all. Besides some minor prep, Two Peas & Their Pod’s version of a chickpea, avocado, and feta salad doesn’t require much work or any heat at all. If your dorm has a small kitchen, this recipe will work perfectly because you’ll need somewhere to chop the onions, cilantro, and avocado. You can also borrow a friend’s kitchen in return for feeding them some of this delectable salad.
If you’re a college student, finding easy meals to make is only part of the battle—you still have to account for buying all the ingredients. Check out our Best Student Credit Cards in America to see if there’s a card that can help you manage your weekly food costs. What are your go-to recipes for keeping your belly happy on a tight budget?