Simple Recipes For Campus Living

dorm room recipes

Making your own meals at college can be challenging. Most likely you will have a mini fridge that that stores less than you are accustomed to. You might also share this fridge with your college roommate, leaving you with even less space. This, along with your peers and time constraints, may influence you to just grab something quick at a fast food restaurant or your campus cafeteria. The truth is, this is not a healthy diet and can be much more expensive than preparing your own food.  Here are some simple recipes that are healthier for you than your local fast food chain.


Grilled Chicken Teriyaki

Chicken breasts marinated in teriyaki sauce, lemon, garlic, and sesame oil, then grilled to a tasty finish will make a healthy and delicious dinner option. Chicken teriyaki leftovers are great over a green salad or on a sandwich so dinner, as well as lunch, are both taken care of. Grilled Chicken Teriyaki is easy to make and all you need is a small indoor grill; this Proctor-Silex 32 Square Inch Non-Stick Indoor Grill only weighs 3lbs, takes up little space, and is under $20 – perfect for campus life!



  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 cup teriyaki sauce
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil


  • Place chicken, teriyaki sauce, lemon juice, garlic, and sesame oil in a large Ziplock  Bag. Seal bag and shake to coat. For best results, leave in refrigerator the night before you plan on cooking your chicken, giving your chicken enough time to marinate.
  • Preheat your grill for high heat.
  • Remove chicken from bag, dispose of any remaining marinade. Grill for 6-8 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork.

Bean & Cheese Nacho Boats

These fun and tasty little boats will the make the perfect snack for you and your roomie.  All you need is a toaster oven, microwave and a 6 cup toaster oven muffin pan. Don’t own a toaster oven? Check out these toaster ovens for $50 and under here.


*makes 12

  • 4-5 large flour tortillas
  • 1 26.5-ounce black beans. Rinsed and drained
  • 1 box of Santa Fe 90 second microwave rice
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • Sour cream optional


  • Preheat the toaster oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 6 count toaster oven muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Lay each tortilla out on a flat surface, use an empty can or cookie cutter to cut 3 medium sized circles out of each tortilla. Press firmly and use a twisting motion until the circle is cut through.
  • Press each tortilla circle in the muffin tin using your fingers to make sure they are firmly in place.
  • Meanwhile microwave your rice. Then mix rice with black beans.
  • Spoon 1 or 2 large tablespoons of the black bean rice mix into each tortilla circle. Top with a handful of the cheese.
  • Bake in the toaster oven for about 12-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the edges of the tortillas are lightly browned.
  • When cool enough to handle, use a knife to loosen the edges. The nacho boats should pop right out of the pan.
  • Top with chopped tomato and sour cream and you are ready to serve!


On to dessert  . . .


Mug Cookie Recipe:


When you get that craving for a warm, gooey, chocolate chip cookie – you know, the kind your mother use to make – then this is the recipe for you! Cookies may not be on the top of the healthy food list, but remember “everything in moderation” and you will be fine. This is a very simple recipe and all you need is a microwave, coffee mug and about 60 seconds!




  • Tablespoon of butter
  • Tablespoon of white sugar
  • Tablespoon of brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of vanilla
  • ¼ cup of flour
  • Small bag of chocolate chips




  • First melt a tablespoon of butter in your mug.
  • Add one tablespoon of white sugar, one tablespoon of brown sugar, a pinch of salt, and a dash of vanilla.
  • Mix up with a fork until smooth.
  • Add flour.
  • Mix until it looks like cookie dough.
  • Add some chocolate chips and mix again.
  • Microwave for 40-50 seconds.
  • And bam! You have a cookie in a mug. Grab a fork and a tall glass of milk and enjoy!


For more simple recipes for college students, check out “The Everything College Cookbook: 300 Hasle-Free Recipes For Students On The Go” by Rhonda Lauret Parkinson.


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Top 10 Dorm Room Essentials


Back to school, whether you are preparing to go away for the first time or preparing to go back, it’s time to make a list of what you need.  We did a friendly poll and asked the question “What do you need when you go back to school?” – below are the top 10 answers.

#1 Laptop

 Laptops are essential to campus life.  When looking to purchase a laptop it is good to keep a few things in mind.

  • Size – pick a portable size, something  light that can be stored easily
  • Processors – faster is always better. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a processor either, there are less expensive processors that will easily handle students’ web, email, word processor, and spreadsheet requirements.
  • Memory and Hard Drive – You may want to talk to university about minimum requirements of memory and what size Hard Drive you may need.  Your university may offer shared space on a network server for student files.
  • Battery Life – It may not always be easy to plug in on the go, so you may want to find a battery that can last at least 5 hours.

On a budget, check out Samsung Chromebook 11.6” Exynos Dual Core Processor Chromebook Computer for $229.99.

#2 Printer

You may not have time to stop by the library before class to print out that paper that’s due. Having your own printer can come in handy. You do not need anything fancy, just something reliable. The HP Wireless All-In-One Printer can easily handle printing out papers and other assignments.

#3 TV

Every student enjoys downtime in their dorm room watching their favorite TV shows. Dorm rooms tend to be small so no need for a big screen, a screen between 24” and 39” should be fine. You can get a Proscan 32” Class LED HDTV for under $200. I would suggest, if possible, mounting your TV to the wall instead of buying a TV stand, you will save money and space.

#4 Mini Fridge

Anybody who has lived on campus will tell you, you need a mini fridge. It is perfect for storing drinks and small snacks. A mini fridge will save you a little cash too. Instead of buying an individual drink every day, you can buy a 6 or 12 pack of your favorite drink, buying in bulk is much cheaper. Same goes for small snacks like fruit. When you are on the go and have no time to sit and have breakfast, grabbing an apple or orange from your mini fridge on the way out the door can be a great convenience.

#5 Microwave

So much for home cooking you’re in college now! Don’t be too worried you will be amazed how many recipes you can find for cooking with a microwave online. This is one of my favorite sites for awesome microwave recipes. Just like the mini fridge having a microwave will save you money as well. Going out for meals everyday can be costly, having the option to make a few of your own meals will minimize how much you eat out.

#6 Desk

Sometimes you can’t always get to the library having a place to do your school work is key. When looking for a desk you want to find a size that will easily fit in the space you will be occupying and also room for your laptop to sit. The Bell’O Computer Desk/Workcenter is perfect for the dorm, with a built in shelf you can store some of books as well.

#7 Chair

Well you can’t have a desk without a chair. Besides personal use, an extra sitting area other than the bed can come in handy when you have guests. We have an excellent suggestion for you, Office Star Task Chair, wheels, adjustable height, and on sale right now!

#8 Fan

So it seems even when it’s not summer time a fan is a dorm room essential. You will most likely have no control over the temperature of your dorm room and a fan can help keep a comfortable temperature as well as circulate the air. Fans are inexpensive and take up little room so they are perfect for small spaces.


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How To: Take Care of Your Mini Fridge

A mini fridge is a necessity for students going away to school. They’re a convenient way to store snacks and drinks while saving on trips to the grocery store… but do you know how to take care of one? Sure, a mini fridge might cost less than the textbooks you need for a semester, but you need to protect your investment. Here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of your fridge so you have it for your entire school career and beyond.

How To Pack & Move Your Mini Fridge: Keep It Upright!

Step one is getting your fridge into your dorm, right? The most important thing to keep in mind is to keep the fridge upright at all times. Laying your mini fridge horizontally could cause problems with the mechanics that keep your fridge cold when you plug it in. Should you really need to lay it down any other way, try to lay it flat on its back or tilted for as short a time as possible. When you are able to stand it upright, wait 24 hours before plugging it in to allow the system to re-correct itself should anything have shifted during transport.

How to Maintain Your Mini Fridge: Keep It Clean and Smelling Fresh

Once you have moved in and have placed food or drinks in your mini fridge, aim to clean it out once a week. Check for expired milk, meat, fruits/veggies or other perishable items and discard them as needed. Should you have a spill in your fridge, clean it out immediately to avoid bacteria, mold, mildew or food-borne illnesses. You may also want to place a small box of baking soda inside to absorb odors.

How to Defrost Your Mini Fridge: Defrost Every Break!

When your mini fridge will be left unattended for long periods of time like when moving out or on Thanksgiving, Winter or Spring breaks, your refrigerator will need to be defrosted. Plan on defrosting your fridge at least 24 hours before you leave. To defrost your mini fridge:

  • Remove and discard any items inside.
  • Unplug your fridge, prop open the door and place a towel or tray underneath it to absorb any water. You may also want to place a towel inside the fridge as moisture accumulates.
  • Leave it overnight.
  • The next morning, wipe down any excess moisture and dry the towels, trays or cloths you used in and around the fridge.

This is also a great time to clean the shelves, drawers or racks your mini fridge may have. Never use harsh or abrasive cleaners inside your fridge, but a hot water/baking soda mixture or warm soapy water will do the trick. Rinse it with a clean rag or sponge and dry.

An important note: ALWAYS make sure your fridge is dry before closing the door to avoid mold and bacteria! A moldy fridge is certainly nto something you want to come back from break to.

How to Use Your Mini Fridge After College

I donated my mini fridge to an upcoming college freshman after I graduated, but there are many things you can use it for should you wish to take it home with you. Here are just some ways to keep using your fridge:

  • Man Cave or Home Theater: Store cold beverages in your man cave or home theater so you don’t have to make your way to the kitchen every time you or your friends need something to wet their whistle.
  • Extra Food Storage: Keep your mini fridge in your utility room, basement or garage and use it as extra space to hold excess leftovers or groceries. This is especially convenient during the holidays or while throwing a party!
  • Mini Fridge as a Wine Cooler: It may not be as great a solution as a proper wine cooler, but will suffice to make space in your actual refrigerator.


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