Sometimes, after a long day, when the energy I have left for cooking only extends to hitting a few buttons and waiting, I think back to my college days. But, alas, humans cannot live on ramen alone. So, in the spirit of low-effort dining and quick meals for busy college students, here are five meals you could make with a few ingredients in a dorm room microwave or toaster.
Easy Avo Toast – In a small bowl, use a fork to combine one avocado, a teaspoon of lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper. Tip: mash together with the rounded side of the fork. Toast a piece or two of rustic-looking whole-grain bread. Once toasted to the level of your choice, load each slice with the avocado mixture, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and top with red chili flakes. Salt and pepper to taste.
Broccoli Quinoa Edamame Bowl – Place broccoli florets into a microwaveable bowl. Add salt, pepper, a little olive oil and a few tablespoons of water. Cover the bowl with a wet paper towel and microwave for 2 minutes and set aside. Next add ½ cup quinoa and 1 cup water to a Pyrex (or comparable) measuring cup. Cover with a plate and microwave for 5 minutes. Remove, stir and let the quinoa sit for about 10 minutes. Now mix your broccoli and quinoa, adding edamame beans, cilantro and a bit of your favorite dressing – something akin to the sesame soy ginger vinaigrette from Trader Joe’s – and you’re in business.
Everything Bagel Sandwich – In a small microwaveable bowl, add two egg whites and whisk until combined. Season with salt and pepper and add a ½ cup of spinach. Microwave for 90 seconds. If your microwave cooks on the hotter side, try 60 seconds, then add 10-second increments as needed to cook the eggs fully. Toast the bagel and spread with your choice of savory cream cheese. Add the eggs and spinach mixture and top with tomato, avocado and/or whatever else seems appropriate.
If you want to get fancy, skip the chili flakes. Instead, top each toast with some arugula, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a nice balsamic glaze.
Now, if I had anything other than books in my dorm room it was an ever-increasing supply of novelty mugs. I’m sure you have at least one that fits the bill for these next two recipes.
Quiche in a Cup – In a large coffee cup, combine 2 eggs, 6 tablespoons of milk, 2 tablespoons of cream and whisk to combine. Then add ¼ cup of all-purpose flour and continue to stir. Note: You can use a fork, it’s just gonna take a little longer to work out the floury clumps. Now add a pinch or two of salt and pepper and whatever other spices you feel are appropriate. Next add cooked sliced bacon, prosciutto or ham and 2 to 3 tablespoons of grated Gruyere or sharp cheddar cheese. Mix to combine, then add any leftover bits of bacon, prosciutto or ham and some sliced green onion. Microwave on high for about 2-2½ minutes.
Chilaquiles in a Mug – In a large coffee mug combine two eggs, 2 tablespoons milk and 2 tablespoons of shredded cheddar cheese. Add a pinch or two of salt and pepper. Then add 5-7 tortilla chips broken down to fit in the mug. Microwave for 1 minute, adding 10-second increments as needed to cook the egg fully. Remove from microwave then add salt and pepper to taste, and any toppings of your choice. I recommend some combination of salsa, freshly sliced avocado sprinkled with lemon juice, sour cream and extra tortilla chips.
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