Now that fall is settling in and the ease of summer is wearing off, it feels as though life is beginning to move at full speed. Classes are moving at a mile-per-minute pace, and mid-terms are creeping up. At this point in the semester I am finding myself losing the adequate time to do normal human things, like sitting down to enjoy a real meal. The busier I get, the more I tend to gravitate toward the quick options, especially when it involves food. As assignments, quizzes and tests pile up, my desire to grab something fast increases and my desire to wait in line at the cafeteria decreases. It is in those moments that my innovative side tends to come to life.
Living in a dorm tends to pose a challenge in the cooking department. Being allowed to only have a miniature refrigerator and a microwave can appear to be limiting when cooking, but it is all about perspective. Some may view this as a means for cooking gourmet ramen noodles or cereal, but I like to push past those boundaries. Why be boring and eat only microwaveable dinners with little nutrients when there are endless possibilities? When I moved into my dorm I made the executive decision not to let my small “kitchen” access stop me from enjoying quick, nutritious meals that taste good. My best advice to all you dorm dwellers out there is to simply keep an open mind, especially when grocery shopping.
While you are meandering the aisles of your local Kroger, do not limit yourself to TV dinners and Pop-Tarts. Think of ways you can still make the meals you enjoy eating at home, but simply in the comfort of your dorm instead. Trust me, you can do a lot more than you think. The majority of the brands sold in grocery stores do sell-single-serving sized portions of many of your favorites. Tyson sells pre-cooked, single-serving-sized bags of chicken and even steak. All you have to do is portion out your desired amount, heat it up in the microwave and BAM! instant protein. Other brands like Dole make ready-to-serve salad kits that require little effort to assemble. They come with everything necessary to make anything from caesar salads to walnut-and-cranberry salads. These little gems are a life-saver on nights like tonight, when leaving my dorm and waiting in line at the cafeteria is out of the question. They are the perfect little staple item to have when I’m craving a quick, delicious dinner that requires little effort and under 10 minutes to make.
So drop the ramen, put down the pop tarts and let me open your eyes to the ease of dorm room dinners!
Before you get cooking. . .
After reading my post, what is something you would like to try and whip up in your dorm? Do you view cooking in your dorm differently after reading this?
1 Dole spinach cherry almond blue salad kit
1 bag of Tyson or store-brand, grilled-and-ready chicken breast strips
On a plate, or in a bowl, measure out the desired amount of salad mix. Add in the chopped nuts and blue cheese included to your liking. Now, in a microwaveable dish microwave the desired amount of chicken breast strips. This should take about a minute and a half to two minutes. When the chicken is done, allow it to cool for a few minutes before placing on your salad. Once chicken has cooled a bit, mix in to salad, add included white balsamic dressing, and enjoy!
Tips & Tricks
The great thing about this dinner is that there’s no rules! If you aren’t a big fan of chicken, add the Tyson steak instead or omit the meat all together. If you aren’t a fan of dried berries and walnuts, Dole offers a huge selection of ready made salad kits, find the one that sounds the best to you and get creative! There is no right or wrong way to make what you love.