With small rooms and limited resources, cooking tips for students need to address what may seem impossible. You don't have to rely solely on your school or local fast food restaurants for meals. With cooking tips for students, you can whip up something quickly and easily. Plus, these tips won't break limited college budgets.
Most dorms do allow microwaves. One of the best cooking tips for students is to make the most of your microwave. While you won't have much room for refrigerated items, invest in non-refrigerated microwave meals. At most, they might require a little water. Most are ready in less than five minutes and you can easily get a week's worth of meals for $10-$15 if you look for sales.
Eating healthy at school is often a chore. What you might not realize is canned vegetables are full of nutrients, plus you can usually cook them in a microwave. If you do have a small fridge with a mini-freezer, buy frozen veggies in steam bags. Canned veggies are usually easiest as they don't take much room and they're cheap. They're great to add to rice or even the college classic Ramen.
You don't have to live on vegetables alone. Believe it or not, canned meats are actually incredibly good and they taste fresh. You can find chicken, turkey, beef, pork and fish in cans. Many are even seasoned. All you have to do is put them with your favorite foods. Add some BBQ pork to some canned potatoes for a quick dinner in your dorm. You'll need to refrigerate the meat after opening, but the small cans take up very little space.
If possible, make friends with someone who has a kitchen. Since most dorms don't have built-in kitchens, you'll need to find someone with an apartment. Ask if you can borrow their kitchen for a hour or two each week to pre-cook some meals for the week. Usually these apartments are within minutes of the campus. Offer to pay a small fee for using the kitchen if nothing else. You can store the meals in your mini-fridge and reheat throughout the week.
Ramen noodles are a classic college meal. They're super cheap and easy to fix in a microwave. You don't have to stick with what's in the pack though. Hundreds of different Ramen recipes are available. Invest in a Ramen cookbook for less than $5 and get ready for a variety of quick and easy meals. Most meals are still around $2, so they're still budget friendly.
The biggest problem with some of the things on this list is you'll get tired of the same flavors pretty quickly. Invest in some seasonings. Even adding a little salt and pepper to canned corn can make a world of difference. Experiment with different spices and seasonings to create your own unique flavors. Before long, you could become the resident dorm chef.
If you're lucky enough to have your own apartment with a small kitchen, congratulations! Just don't waste all your money on cooking supplies. Instead, only buy what you absolutely need. Most students only need a mixing bowl, medium to large frying pan, baking pan, cookie sheet, medium pot, spatula, mixing spoon, measuring cup, a few sharp knives and of course, a few bowls, plates, spoons and forks. Many places offer most of these in back to school sets for half the price of buying everything individually.
Whether you're stuck in a dorm without a kitchen or you have your own place, it's not hard to cook as a college student. Remember, keep it simple and look for sale priced items. You don't have to live on pizza alone. What are some of your favorite dorm room cooking tips?
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