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Dorm Cooking: Easy Late-Night Snacks You Can Make in Your Microwave 

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

The sound of silverware clinking together, glass cups shattering, people carrying plates and backpacks and books slipping through the crowd of students all in a rush to be somewhere. Tables meant for four are now seating eight, and lines of people waiting for their food extend into every possible walkway.

The dining hall experience for a freshman, especially at a big school like the University of Massachusetts Amherst, can be extremely stressful and frustrating. So stressful that many new students refuse to eat on a regular basis, simply because they don’t want to deal with the dining halls.

That’s why I’m going to be sharing four easy recipes you can actually make in your microwave. 

Cheese Quesadillas

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Tortillas
  • Shredded cheese 
  • Butter 
  • Taco seasoning 

    All you’re gonna need to do is spread a little bit of butter on both sides of two tortillas (I prefer flour). Then, you’re going to spread some shredded cheddar and Colby-Jack cheese on one of your tortillas — the more cheese the better. Now, take your packet of taco seasoning and pour it out over the cheese. Finally, place your second tortilla on top of that cheese pile you just made, and pop it into the microwave. Cook for 20-second intervals, checking between each round. It should take about two minutes or so, but you’ll know you’re done when the cheese is melted and the tortillas have browned a bit. 

    That’s it! You just made quesadillas in under five minutes.

    Mac n Cheese

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • Microwaveable mac n cheese cup 
    • Butter 
    • Shredded cheese  
    • Garlic salt

    If there’s one late-night snack my roommate would recommend over and over again, it’d be this improved mac n cheese cup. 

    According to Alexandra Norton, you’re gonna wanna start making your mac n cheese like normal, following the instructions on the cup. But, about 20 seconds before it’s completely done cooking, you’re gonna add a bunch of shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese, as well as a half tablespoon of butter. Put the cup back into the microwave for the remaining time, and mix thoroughly when it’s done. Finally, add your garlic salt (to taste), and enjoy! 

    Mmmmm, I feel like a gourmet chef. These flavors are absolutely scrumptious,” Alexandra said while teaching me how to make her go-to meal.

    Instant Ramen

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • Butter 
    • Sriracha 
    • Garlic powder 
    • Soy sauce 
    • Mozzarella cheese 
    • Brown sugar (optional)

    This recipe might seem a little complicated for your tiny dorm, but I promise that it’s worth it. If I offered to make my little brother any meal, he’d choose this one every time.

    You’re gonna start by making a packet of ramen noodles regularly, but don’t cook them for the full recommended time. Take them out about 30 seconds before you’re instructed to. Next, you’re going to get a bowl and create a mixture of about two tablespoons of butter, two tablespoons of sriracha, one tablespoon of soy sauce, one and a half tablespoons of brown sugar, and a few pinches of garlic powder. Cook this mixture in 20-second intervals, mixing each time, for about one minute and 30 seconds total. Add your noodles to the mixture, and a little bit of the water you used to cook the ramen. Add a little bit of mozzarella cheese on top and place your bowl back into the microwave for another 30 seconds. Mix one more time, and you have your new and improved ramen noodles

    Nacho Bowl

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • Fritos, Doritos, or chips of your choice 
    • Canned chili 
    • Shredded cheese 

    Unfortunately, this is the final recipe. This one might sound a little strange, but trust me. My mom made sure my brothers and I knew this recipe before going off to college, and I’m glad she did. 

    Your first step is gonna be to get a bowl and fill it up with your favorite chips. My mom recommends Fritos, but I would go for Doritos. Next, you’re gonna get some canned chili and pour it out over the top of the chips. Finally, add a handful of shredded cheddar cheese to the top and microwave your nachos for about a minute, or at least until the cheese has all melted. 

    That’s it! Very simple, but still delicious.  

    These four recipes are ones I would highly recommend you try when you’re hungry at night, and don’t feel like navigating the crowded dining hall at 10 p.m. My friends and I all swear by these, and I can promise you will feel the same way after making just one of these snacks.

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    Gabby Burdick

    U Mass Amherst '25

    Gabby is a journalism and communication double major at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She enjoys hobbies such as painting, cooking, skiing, and hiking!