First off, welcome to The Prospect’s Unofficial Orientation Series! It’s here to give you the lowdown on all things college life for all your incoming frosh. You’ll read everything from how to make good dorm room food to what you should (and shouldn’t) pack for school to how to make friends (and not come off as a creepy weirdo).
When you’re in college, the constant rotation of soup, pizza, salad sandwich, and some unidentifiable mystery meat can get old really quickly. Even your basic dorm room essentials (soup on the go, Easy Mac, Lean Cuisine, and Ramen) don’t always cut it. Quoth my roommate, “I’m scared of the day I get sick of Easy Mac.”
So today we’re kicking it up a notch with the dorm food, and we’re going to make dinner and dessert on the cheap, with only things you can easily buy, snatch from the dining hall, or find in your dorm room.
Strap on your Batman apron everyone; it’s going to be a bumpy ride!
What’s on the menu today?
Chicken Teriyaki with Rice, Steamed Broccoli, and Brownies for dessert (And all you’ll need is your microwave and basic utensils everyone should have in their dorm rooms!).
First, lets do a veggie. Get those vitamins in everyone. We’re going to do a steamed broccoli with a olive oil coating.
My advice: When you buy the broccoli buy “steam in bag” if you’re buying frozen. Also, I used more olive oil than the recipe says to, but that’s just a personal taste. Mix the mixture with a fork, and don’t let it sit too long (it will start to congeal).
For the main course we’re having Chicken Teriyaki over rice.
I decided to use this one because the ingredients are so college, and the only spice (garlic powder) is also used in the broccoli recipe. You can easily steal that ketchup, soy sauce, and sugar from the dining hall (or, if not, the conversion is 4 teaspoons of ketchup and 2 tablespoons of sugar).
My advice: Don’t put the raw chicken into the sauce, it will contaminate it (the sauce can work for about 3 chicken breasts), instead put the chicken in a baggie and pour the sauce in to coat. Also, make sure to thoroughly wash anything the raw chicken touched.
The recipe says to use plastic wrap. DO NOT DO THIS. The plastic wrap will melt and ruin your dinner. Instead put two plates together or place it in a covered dish.
Serving suggestion: buy 90-second microwave rice (any brand will do, but I like Uncle Ben’s) and serve the chicken over rice.
Perry: 5/5 “That’s good”
Rachel: 4.5/5 She proceeded to eat it for dinner
Me: 4/5 Texture is a bit weird, but it’s the only thing I’ve ever knowingly eaten with ketchup and not gagged.
For dessert we’re going to do a dorm room favorite: Mug Brownies.
This one is simple, no recipe needed. Just fill a mug about halfway with boxed brownie mix (no need to add eggs or oil) and add water until all of the powder is wet. Then microwave it for a minute (small mugs) to three minutes (larger mugs). That’s it.
Cooking in your microwave doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality. With limited resources we managed to have a very satisfying (and cheap) dinner. You’re only limited to what you want to try.
(Disclaimer: This was done in a real kitchen not a dorm room, but is totally doable with just a microwave and basic dorm room utensils. We used a measuring cup, bowls, mugs, plates, a fork and knife and a spoon, that’s it!)