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So the cafeteria is closed and you haven’t eaten yet. Or maybe you’re up late studying and get hungry. Or even better, maybe you have a group of friends over to watch a movie and you want to share something yummy between all of you. What do you do without a kitchen? What do you make? My roomie and I run into this problem all the time. We have gone together to browse the shelves at Walmart, Big Y and even the POD on campus.  

For those times when you need a quick dinner, there are a few options. Mac and cheese is always yummy! Here’s the thing though: we bought it and realized it needs to boil and it needs butter and milk. Oops. But we did find little instant mac and cheese containers. There were several different brands, our favorite being Kraft brand. You take off the lid, pour in some water, microwave for three and a half minutes, mix in the cheese and you’re ready to eat.  

Frozen meals are also great options. The best part about those is the amount of variety you can get. I have eaten several different brands and many different styles of food. The Italian always comes out great, whether it is ravioli or spaghetti. There’s meatloaf, noodles, pasta, chicken and so much more. The only problem you may run into is getting them home while they are still frozen, depending on your transportation. Good news, the MCLA POD sells them!  

As for snacks, there’s always, obviously, popcorn. When you want some variety, try different brands and different flavors. If you are tired of microwave popcorn, something else you can try is bags of popcorn, like SmartFood brands. I love the white cheddar SmartFood popcorn (and so did all of my guests). Bags of chips are always a good choice to have. I keep one of two bags of chips around and keep them sealed off with a clothespin. Crackers in resealable boxes are great too. If you are worried about them getting stale, you can always use a clothespin to seal off the bag inside the box too. They also sell resealable bags of things too, like animal crackers and Cheez-Its, so look for those too. Super convenient.  

There is also the option of soups. There are two big options – canned soups and dry soups. I bought an Add Water Chili and it smelled amazing. But be careful with these. I’m not sure if maybe I didn’t microwave it enough, but there was too much water in it and some of the beans weren’t completely soft. But I’m certainly willing to give it another chance. My roommate uses canned soups. She pours the contents into a large coffee mug and heats it in the microwave. I’m not sure the exact time. She said she put it in for a couple minutes, then stir and repeat until it was the right temperature for her. Remember – do not reheat boiling water, it tends to explode in the microwave. It sucks to clean up.  

There are also microwavable breakfasts too. I have frozen pancakes in my freezer that I can make in two minutes if I’m in a rush. There is also oatmeal. I tried different flavored oatmeal for the first time a few weeks ago (I know, kind of sad). The brand I bought actually has lines on the package that you can pour water into to measure out correctly. Easy! The directions on each box give you microwave instructions too. A third option is keep a small bottle of milk in the fridge and a box of cereal. Quick and filling for any time of day. Sometimes breakfast for dinner is just comforting, or breakfast for breakfast too!  

Remember that there are still kitchens in your residence areas, so if you wanted to make real mac and cheese, or maybe pasta, you can totally do that. Make a large box of pasta and throw it in the fridge. Whenever you want some of that, just heat it up. There are endless combinations of things to munch on. Don’t go hungry, food is more fun!  


Ellie is a Junior at MCLA, currently studying Creative Writing, Musical Performance, and Arts Management. She writes stories, poems, music, and now articles, digging around in her own life for inspiration. Ellie desires to travel the world, seeking inspiration as well as to build a large array of memories to look back on long down the road. So far, she has been to Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Slovenia, with France and The Netherlands on her list of where to go next. In her free time, Ellie pretends she is a professional video gamer, competing against friends and family.
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