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Five Dorm-Friendly Meals

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

We’ve all been there: it’s a Wednesday night, you’re hungry for some real, home-cooked food that doesn’t cost you meal points, but you only have a few ingredients and a microwave. 

Usually, this means UberEats is in your future. This is a good option if you don’t mind the expensive delivery fees and the risk of your food showing up cold, but if you want something quick and easy that won’t break the bank, I have some dorm-friendly recipes that might work for you. 

These can be great for anyone — not just college students in a dorm room — who’s running low on groceries or doesn’t feel like whipping out the pots and pans. These are also some great late-night snacks when you have a craving for some carbs or sweets. 

1. BBq chicken nachos

What you’ll need: 

  • 1 cup rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 3 tablespoons BBQ sauce
  • 2 large handfuls tortilla chips
  •  ¼ cup pico de gallo
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  •  ¼ cup green onion, thinly sliced
  • guacamole, to serve
  • sour cream, to serve


  1. Mix the chicken with the barbecue sauce, then spread evenly over a bed of tortilla chips.
  2. Spread the pico de gallo, cheese, and green onions evenly on top, then microwave for about one to three minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  3. Dollop with some guacamole and sour cream, then serve.

If you don’t have all of these ingredients, don’t worry! Just throw whatever kind of cheese you have on some tortilla chips and pop it in the microwave, then top with your favorite salsa, guacamole or sour cream. Make it as intricate or simple as you’d like depending on what’s available. 

2. Fried Rice

What you’ll need:

  • ½ cup rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 strips bacon, chopped
  • ½ cup frozen pea and carrot
  • 2 eggs
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh scallion, to garnish


  1. In a bowl, combine the rice, water, soy sauce, sesame oil and bacon. Stir, then microwave, covered, for about six to eight minutes until the rice is fully cooked.
  2. Mix the frozen peas and carrots into the rice.
  3. In a microwaveable mug, beat the eggs with the salt.
  4. Microwave the eggs and the rice again for about one to two minutes, until the eggs are fully cooked.
  5. Break up the egg into small bits, then mix it in with the rice.
  6. Garnish with scallions, then serve.

I’ve also made this just with brown rice, soy sauce, eggs and frozen veggies. Give either one a try, and don’t knock microwaved rice until you try it. 

2. Chicken Quesadillas

What you’ll need:

  • 2 medium flour tortillas
  • ½ cup chicken strip, or shredded chicken, cooked
  • ½ bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Microwave the tortillas on a plate until slightly crispy. They will dry out a bit as they cool.
  2. Mix the chicken, peppers and taco seasoning in a bowl until evenly combined, then cook for about one to two minutes until the peppers are soft.
  3. Spread the mixture evenly on one tortilla, cover evenly with the cheese, then top with the other tortilla.
  4. Cook for another thirty seconds to one minute, slice, then serve.

Just like the nachos, you can do this simply with just cheese, bread and a little chicken, or you can go above and beyond and throw some fresh or frozen vegetables in the mix. Either way, you can never go wrong with quesadillas.

4. Mac and Cheese

What you’ll need:

  • ½ cup elbow macaroni
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons of milk
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • fresh chive, to garnish, optional


  1. Mix the macaroni, water, and salt in a microwaveable mug.
  2. Microwave for two to three minutes, then stir.
  3. Add the milk, cheese, salt and pepper, then stir.
  4. Microwave for another 30 seconds, stir, and garnish with a sprinkle of chives.

One of the biggest commodities that I missed as a freshman in college was making stove-top mac and cheese, and I wish I had found this recipe when my only option was the microwave. This may be the most simple recipe on this list, but an essential for sure. If you like cheese as much as I do, throw as much as you want in there; is there such a thing as “too cheesy?” 

5. BLueberry mug muffins

  • 1/4 cup flour 
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/8 tsp salt 
  • 1 pinch cinnamon 
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter 
  • 2 Tbsp milk 
  • 1-2 Tbsp frozen blueberries


  1. In a microwave safe mug, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon until well mixed.
  2. Add the butter to the mug and use your fingers to rub or smoosh them together until no large chunks of butter remain and the mixture looks like damp sand.
  3. Stir the milk into the butter/flour mixture. It should now resemble a thick muffin batter. If it’s too dry, add a splash of more milk. Sprinkle blueberries over top and push them down into the batter. Microwave on high for approximately 90 seconds. Enjoy with a drizzle of maple syrup over top.

Something about mug cakes gets me so excited, and if you like this recipe, I would recommend looking up others like it. If you love to bake, this is a great way to get your hands dirty with some flour without the need for an oven.

Class of 2022