Food for Thought: a Guide to Dorm-friendly Cooking

Whether you are low on meal swipes, don’t feel like making the trek to the dining hall or are simply burnt out on cafeteria food and want to explore more variety, the ability to whip up a meal in your dorm room is a valuable skill to have. 

Cooking can also be used as a form of self-expression, a way to showcase creativity, and as a de-stressing activity. Creating a meal with a few ingredients is a great way to clear your head. In fact, an article published by Everyday Health stated that cooking has been linked with happiness, relaxation, greater self-awareness, boosted confidence and more. 

Maryville College’s varied housing options means that many students have different resources at their disposal when it comes to culinary capabilities. Whether you have a microwave, an air fryer or an oven, there are lots of dorm-friendly recipe options available. 

For students with a microwave, there are endless recipes for mug cakes, mug brownies, mug banana bread,… the list goes on. For those late-night chocolate chip cookie cravings, though, try out this recipe for one that you can make in a mug and pop in the microwave: in a microwave-safe mug, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Next, stir in a pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon of white sugar, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 egg yolk. Mix well before adding 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips. Microwave for 40 seconds on high and enjoy. 

Having an appliance such as an air fryer or oven opens up new avenues for experimenting with ingredients you might already have in your room. A favorite breakfast of Lilli Bryan, sophomore, is cheesecake toast. 

Begin with plain or vanilla greek yogurt and a jam of your choice. Combine ¼ cup of yogurt with 2 tablespoons of jam and mix. Take a slice of bread and, using the back of a spoon, flatten the bread, leaving the crust as a border. Spread the yogurt mixture on the toast and broil until the top is golden brown, similar to cheesecake. It is ready to eat after cooling. 

Stove-top burners in kitchen-equipped suites are probably most frequently used by college students for ramen noodles and instant mac and cheese, and there’s nothing wrong with that. There are lots of ways to customize these meals, though, and sometimes a little tweak can make a big difference in a recipe. 

Instant ramen packages can be elevated by adding soft-boiled eggs, tofu, sriracha, vegetables or anything you have laying around in your fridge. That leftover broccoli that you green-boxed from Pearson’s? Try adding it to your mac and cheese, and you’ll get to say that you ate your greens for the day. 

There are also a plethora of recipes that don’t require any cooking at all. Think overnight oats or smoothie bowls. A recent favorite of mine is homemade pickles. They might require a little more patience than store-bought pickles, but it’s well worth it in my opinion. 

Gather a jar, cucumbers, equal parts white vinegar and warm water, 1 ½ teaspoons of salt, 1 tablespoon of sugar, red pepper flakes, garlic, black pepper and dill to your preference and 1 bay leaf. Whisk together all the ingredients except for the cucumbers to make the brine. After cutting the cucumbers however you like them, add them to the brine and seal the jar. Refrigerate for at least 3 days before eating for optimal results. Food should be a source of comfort, not stress, and Maryville College seeks to provide resources to prevent that. If you or anyone you know are experiencing food insecurity, you can visit the Maryville College website to submit a Swipes for Scots request form, or you can reach out to [email protected].

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