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Say Good-Bye To Ramen

If you’re a college student, it can be tempting to go straight to yet another pack of instant ramen when you need to “cook”.  The thing is, living off of ramen isn’t very interesting or very healthy.  In fact, it’s not even as cheap as you think it is, either. 

If you start making simple meals from scratch, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll be able to enjoy your dinner while treating your body well and even saving a bit of cash too!  It can be tricky to know where to get started if you’ve never cooked before, or are inexperienced with it. 

To help you out, we’ve put together this list of easy college dorm room meals.  None of them require anything too exotic or any difficult techniques, and you should be able to make them confidently after one or two tries.  So, let’s get into it: here’s the list of recipes!

If You Have A Kitchen

If you’re one of the lucky ones who actually have access to a full kitchen in your college dorm, good for you!  These are some simple recipes that you’ll need a stovetop for, though you could also buy a plug-in burner and use that as well.

1) Chili Con Carne

That’s “chili with meat” for those of you who don’t remember too much from your Spanish class.  This dish is a simple one to make.  You’ll also find it’s simple to make in large quantities.  You can then freeze the rest to reheat on another day when cooking just isn’t going to happen. 

Another great thing about it is that it’s the kind of dish that’s easy to adapt based on the ingredients you like (or whatever you have to hand).  If you don’t like kidney beans, use haricot beans instead!  The classic version (like this recipe) does have meat in it, but you can use a vegetarian substitute if you like. 

Either way, the end result will be a rich, warming meal that works really well with rice.  The spices add a real depth of flavor that’s definitely a step up from even the best instant ramen packets.  You can even put it on corn chips to make nachos, too!

2) Chickpea And Spinach Curry

In case you were wondering, you might also know chickpeas as garbanzo beans – they’re exactly the same thing.  This is a pretty simple recipe that can come together in as little as half an hour.  It’s also full of nutrition and makes a perfect dinner. 

It’s another dish that comes with rich, deep flavors thanks to the coconut milk and mixed spices that go into it.  Adjust the spice level to your taste, of course, and enjoy.  Like the chili, this is also a dish that freezes well, so don’t worry about making too much. 

Even if you don’t end up eating the leftovers yourself, giving dinner to your roommate is a great way of building goodwill and earning favors.

3) Sausage Pasta

It might not be 100% authentically Italian, but that doesn’t stop this sausage pasta recipe from being delicious.  You can use whatever kind of pasta you like best.  This recipe uses spiral pasta, but it’s not all that important. 

It only takes a few other simple ingredients (plus the Italian sausage, the star of the show) and before you know it you’ll be whipping up a tasty pasta dish that comes together very quickly.  It will come together even more quickly if you cheat and use a store-bought sauce, but it’s better if you don’t. 

The sauce you make yourself will be healthier and tastier than anything you can get in a jar.  Also, remember to cook your pasta for slightly less than it says on the packet because you don’t want to overcook it before you mix it with the sauce.

4) Chicken Soup

This beloved comfort food can be made in a thousand different ways, but this recipe keeps the reassuring feel of the dish while keeping things simple.  You can easily scale it up or down depending on how much soup you think you’re in the mood for, but in any case, it only takes a few simple ingredients to make. 

The cooking process isn’t all that difficult, either.  Most of the time is just simmering the soup to let it thicken up a bit and get the flavors to develop.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t play around by adding in whatever else you might have to make things a bit more interesting.

5) Single Serving Shakshuka

Shakshuka is a favorite breakfast dish in the Middle East and North Africa, and this rich, tomatoey concoction with eggs has exactly what you need to get your day started right.  You can top it with cilantro and feta as well, to give a delicious burst of extra flavor.  If you’d rather keep things simple, though, the dish will still work really well.  

If You Don’t Have A Kitchen

Well, that’s a pity, but don’t give up and go back to the ramen just yet.  There are plenty of options that you can still try!

6) Microwave Mug Quiche

Not only is this dish quick and easy to whip up, but it’s high in protein as well!  You also won’t need any equipment but a mug and a microwave.  Another great thing is that quiches are endlessly adaptable, so you can add whatever you like into the recipe.  This recipe calls for cooked ham, but you could use any kind of leftover meat, as well as whatever vegetables you like.

7) Greek Salad

There’s no cooking involved at all for this one, so you won’t even be needing a microwave!  It’s a healthy and delicious mixture of fresh vegetables with added flavor from some kalamata olives and pieces of feta cheese. 

In a non-traditional touch, this version also includes Dijon Mustard in the dressing, but you can leave this out if you’re not a fan of mustard.  A Greek salad is a perfect lunch, particularly in the summer months when the sunshine can help you imagine that you’re relaxing on a Greek island, rather than in your college dorm room.

8) Microwave Cherry Crisp

There’s been an unacceptable lack of desserts on this list so far.  It’s time to change that with this microwave cherry crisp.  It’ll be done in about 5 minutes, which is a perfectly acceptable amount of time to wait for a dessert. 

The oats, sugar, flour and butter combine to make a wonderfully crispy mix for the cherries, which will hit you with their great sweet and sour flavor.  Be careful not to overdo it, though.  Microwaves are all different, so go easy unless you’re sure of how strong yours is.

9) Waffle Iron Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Having a waffle iron opens up a whole lot of doors to you if you’re looking to get creative with cooking in your college dorm.  One of those doors is this, the waffle iron grilled cheese sandwich.  Other than the iron itself, you literally need nothing other than bread, butter and cheese. 

Of course, if you want to upgrade your grilled cheese into a melt by adding in some other ingredients, there are several options there too.  Tuna, salami, and chicken could all be delicious.

10) Meat Loaf In A Mug

Yes, you did read that right.  It’s totally possible (and actually totally simple) to make meat loaf in a mug.  You’ll only need a few ingredients too.  One of those is onion soup mix – canned soups and soup mixes are great to use as stocks when you’re engaged in guerilla cooking, dorm room style. 

They can save you a lot of time and are a great way to start sauces when you don’t have any other way to make them.  You could also try a different kind of soup mix if you want to change things up.

11) Egg Fried Rice In A Mug

There’s no end to the surprising number of dishes you can make in a mug and yep, egg fried rice is one of them.  This recipe includes a few different vegetables and other ingredients.  Naturally, you can tailor these to your own tastes.  

12) Avocado Toast

This recipe is great because it actually includes a lot of different variations on the basic dish.  These run from Tex Mex avocado toast to Banh Mi avocado toast and several others besides.  The basic dish is very easy to make, tastes delicious, and is healthy as well.  You can also experiment with your own variations, and the possibilities really are more or less endless.

13) Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Slow cookers are great for anyone living in a dorm room because they allow you to throw everything into one pot and forget about it until dinner time.  You won’t even need a stove! This chicken tortilla soup is a perfect example of the type of thing we’re talking about. 

It’s full of hearty ingredients to make a warming, flavorsome soup.  Aside from the chicken, it includes beans, vegetables, cheese, and all kinds of seasonings to make sure you’ll be completely full and satisfied once you’ve eaten it.

14) Chocolate Chip, PB, And Banana Sandwiches

Everyone loves a good sandwich, and this one is great for when you’re craving something a little bit sweet.  It’s just a case of combining the ingredients in your favorite kind of bread.  Note the inclusion of cinnamon, which is an inspired choice to give the sandwich a bit of extra sweetness and spice.

15) Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Yep, it’s another slow cooker recipe and it’s one of the classics.  There can hardly be a dish better suited for the slow cooker than beef stew, and this rich, hearty meal won’t give you much trouble to cook. 

Note that this recipe makes enough for 8 servings, so you might want to scale it down a bit, unless you’re planning to win brownie points by cooking for your entire floor.  With fresh chunks of beef, tomatoes, broth and mustard, the finished dish is guaranteed to be nothing but pure flavor.

16) Greek Yogurt Parfait

This easy and delicious dish can work either as a dessert or a breakfast dish.  With granola and fresh fruit as the main ingredients, it’s perfectly healthy and can be adapted to suit your tastes. 

Choose whichever kinds of fruit you like, and if you like you can always upgrade by adding different sauces.  The recipe recommends a berry sauce, but if you want to make it a bit less healthy by adding a chocolate or caramel sauce, we won’t tell anybody.

17) French Toast In A Cup

Meat loaf and fried rice in a cup might sound just about plausible, but French toast in a cup?  Yep, it really does exist, and it’s great!  You’ll just need all the ingredients you’d use for French toast usually.  The only difference is that the bread needs to be cut up into cubes. 

Once the ingredients are all mixed up, it’ll microwave in less than two minutes.  That makes it perfect for a quick breakfast when you need to get out as soon as possible.

18) Spicy Tuna Fish Sandwich

This sandwich brings big flavor in a small package and with minimal effort.  The tuna is mixed with mayonnaise, diced jalapenos, and relish with pickles to give a taste that’s both sweet and spicy.  If you want to upgrade you could even cook it so the cheese melts, and you’ll have yourself an amazing melt!  Naturally,  you can choose whatever kind of bread you like as well.

 Final Thoughts

There you have it, a list of great options for if you want to fix a meal in your dorm room.  Cooking in a dorm room isn’t ideal, but with a bit of creativity and ingenuity, you’ll be able to make some things that won’t just fill your stomach but that you’ll actually enjoy eating as well.  No more instant ramen!

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