By Guest Writer: Jessica Socheski
To true food lovers, college might seem like four years of relinquishing real meals. But even though your dorm room doesn’t have its own stove, there are a surprising number of ways to keep cooking healthy meals while avoiding the proverbial college diet of pizza, ramen and peanut butter.
If you don’t have a stove, then America’s Test Kitchen host and chief editor of Cook’s Illustrated magazine Christopher Kimball says cooking with electricity is a pretty great option,.
The Mighty Mini Blender
In my last year of college, the Magic Bullet had pretty much taken over the dorm. Girls who were tired of greasy cafeteria food begged for personal sized blenders for Christmas and returned to school with these noisy little contraptions ready to blend to kingdom come.
But the Bullet or any other mini blender is really a great option for college cravings. I used to whip up a refreshing blend of frozen banana, chocolate milk and peanut butter and ice cubes when wanting something sweet. And of course, there is always the traditional smoothie of frozen berries, banana, yogurt and juice. You can even freeze your yogurt for an icee-like effect or add some carrots, spinach and almonds for extra energy.
For serious college chefs, a blender is also a great way to whip up fresh hummus or homemade pesto. The possibilities are incredible. Just make sure you warn your dorm neighbors before cranking up the blender at 6am.
Some Surprising Applications of Hot Water
If you are dragging through midterm preparation, the chances are that by 10pm, your stomach is growling again and running out for some fast food sounds amazing.
Be totally prepared for times like these with an electric kettle. I know, I know. It only boils water right? Well, have you ever considered what you can do with boiling water? Spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, couscous, hot dogs, hot tea, hot cocoa, and the list goes on. As long as your kettle is stainless steel and has an open lid to allow for pouring in noodles, then you are set to explore the possibilities.
One of my personal favorites was instant oatmeal for breakfast. And another great breakfast idea that requires boiling water is hardboiled eggs. Delish.com calls eggs “the perfect option for a filling breakfast packed with protein” after a long night of studying.
Perfecting the Panini
The next best thing to a real stove top griddle is an electric Panini grill. This heavenly invention allows for the miracle of toasting a sandwich. The following are sandwiches which become completely awesome upon toasting.
- Peanut butter and jelly
- Cream cheese and blueberry
- Tomato, basil, mozzarella
- Grilled cheese (Obviously. Otherwise it’s just a cheese sandwich.)
- Chicken breast, caramelized onions, goat cheese
- Guacamole grilled cheese
- Almost anything else you can fit between two pieces of bread.
Electric grills can be utilized for more than just sandwiches. Try roasting peppers or grilling zucchini. Melt a quesadilla, try pancakes, toast a wrap or even cook meat for burgers or fresh chicken.
There are countless other inventions that would fit nicely into a dorm room set up. From personal cupcake makers, to toaster oven/griddle/coffee pot combination stations to rice cookers and crock pots, these amazing kitchen electronics can change your college experience. If you’re locked in a late night study session during your semester at South University or waking up hungry in your dorm at Chico State, these appliances might be an answer to your hunger pangs. With the right equipment a little time and creativity, you can continue eating amazing food during your college years.
Jessica Socheski is a freelance writer who is passionate about good eating. You can connect with her on Twitter.