Ramen

Ramen is a staple in any college student’s diet. As it is the namesake of my blog, who would I be to not do a post on it? Cheap and easy, it can stink an entire college dorm. The smelly, gross food just also happens to be delicious. Annoy your roommate’s nostrils, and come experience ramen in a whole new world.

Chipotle Cheese Ramen

Obviously, I have to start out with something involving cheese. Pick your favorite ramen, I love the chicken flavor, fill with water and then toss in some chipotle powdered and powdered cheese! This can be scavenged from an easy mac packet or from a cheese popcorn topping (which if you haven’t invested in by now, you need to get on that). Pop it in the microwave and experience this spicy ramen delight.

Ramen Egg Drop Soup

This is my absolute favorite recipe. Easy to make, it combines two of my favorite comfort foods. Simply prepare the ramen with a little extra water, and grab an egg. When the ramen is done cooking, strain out the pasta into a bowl. Crack the egg into a cup and pour slowly into the broth, stirring as you go. You have now made egg drop soup! Pour that over the noodles and enjoy.

Ramen Grilled Cheese

Expanding on my previous post, let’s combine two of the best foods in the whole world. Follow the directions for the grilled cheese and prepare your ramen as directed. When it’s cooked, place it in between the bread. Iron that sandwich into a beautiful grilled and cheese and ohmygod welcome to the college kid’s version of heaven.

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Grilled Cheese

You know that scene in Benny and Joon, where Johnny Depp’s character serves up a platter of grilled cheese by cooking them with an iron? Did you know that you can actually do that? Spoiler alert: it’s awesome. No college dorm room is complete without a dedicated grilled cheese iron. Just make sure you use an actual ironing board– the mats don’t clean very well.

So how do you do it? Exactly how it looks in the movie. First you need your ingredients:

  • bread
  • cheese

Not a difficult list. If you want to get fancy, you can buy specialty cheeses or add bacon and veggies, but I like to keep it simple. Mostly because in the dining hall you can ask for a cheese sandwich, wrap it up, take it home, and iron it at night when you’re hungry.

Now that you have your ingredients, heat your iron up to polyester, or the medium setting. While that’s heating up, margarine both sides of you bread, and create your beautiful sandwich of melted cheese. I like to use a solid five slices of cheese, for optimum gooeyness. Now that your iron is heated up, press it down on top of the sandwich until the cheese starts to melt, then flip it over. Continue this action until the cheese is oozing and the bread is golden brown. You my friend, have just cooked grilled cheese using an iron. You my friend, are the next Johnny Depp.

Scrambled Around

Eggs provide protein, are low in calories, get you going for the day and….. come out of a carton in the dining hall? Call me crazy, but I try to avoid the pre scrambled eggs (except on Saturday; bless the omelet bar) and cook them in my room. How, you ask? In a mug! As previously mentioned, microwavable mugs are the Holy Grail of college students. And here are the best ways to do so:

The Breakfast Sandwich

Okay, okay. So this first one isn’t a mug. But it is the easiest! Simply crack and egg into a bowl, and microwave for about a minute and a half, or until the white of the egg isn’t runny. I prefer to leave the yolk liquid though. Then pull out your bagel, your bread, or your sandwich thin, add cheese, veggies, ketchup, whatever you want, and you now have a nice and hearty breakfast sandwich.

PSA: Bacon can also be microwaved, if you want to get extra crazy.

Eggs in a Mug

These are the actual eggs in a mug I was speaking about. Crack open an egg, scramble it up, add cheese, meat (anything you want really, eggs are versatile), and pop it in the microwave for about a minute, and you have slightly-better-than-Baker scrambled eggs.

The Breakfast Burrito

You may not eat this out of a mug, but you can cook it in one! Simply scramble as in the above recipe, and when it’s done, wrap it up in a burrito. Top with extra cheese, extra meat, roll it up, and you have a breakfast burrito!

In the Pantry

Let’s be honest, no matter how much we cook, how many calories we consume, or how much grease we eat during meal exchange: we’re still hungry. Late night runs to Sheetz and McDonald’s can be tough on a credit card, so we have to stock up our freezer with empty calories to feed our starving stomachs. So for you, my lovely starving students, I am going to present with the top five foods that you need to keep on hand at all times.

  1. Easy Mac

 

No list would be incomplete with out this beauty. Easy mac cooks in three and a half minutes and comes in a variety of flavors including: original, white cheddar, XTREME cheese, and Spongebob. It is delicious, it is amazing, and it is easy.

2. Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pie

If you have never had this chicken pot pie– you need to. It will set you back a whole two dollars, but it is the best two dollars you will ever spend. Perfect for any winter night when the snow stretches too far for you to hike over to the dining hall, it’s a little home cooked meal. Warning: just don’t look at the calorie count

3. Bagels

Bagels are amazing, and you can pretend they’re healthy if you get whole grain! Also coming in many varieties (the best being egg of course). Spread some cream cheese and you’re on your way to class. At lunch, use it to build a perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Bagels are great! Though I may be a little bias being from the Philly area…

4. Lean Pockets (or Hot Pockets if you prefer)

Lean pockets are amazing. Low in calories and high in protein, they help you believe that you are actually getting nutrients. They cook in under three minutes and have a handy sleeve for on-the-go. My personal favorite is ham and cheese, though the breakfast versions aren’t bad either.

5. Pizza Rolls

Pizza rolls are great on late nights as a study snack. The serving size might say six rolls, but you can just go ahead and pour out the entire box. They’re meant to share, right?

 

 

 

Mason Jar Salads

Mason jar salads are a beautiful way to get some nutrients into your life. As college students, we often forget to eat our fruits and veggies (especially when the fruits and veggies come from Baker). Personally, I find I always make too much salad and never know what to do with it. Well, purchase some mason jars (which come in handy for a myriad of non food related things), and dole out your salad for the week. Mason jars are great on the run, as a pre/post workout snack, or just to look at.

Layering is key to a good mason jar salad. There are a few ways to layer, including putting the dressing at either the bottom or the top, but I found starting with the dressing is the best way to go. My standard mason jar salad goes like this (from bottom to top):

  1. Dressing
  2. Crunchy veggies (carrots, cucumbers anything that won’t turn to mush because of the dressing)
  3. Soft veggies (corn, tomatoes)
  4. Protein
  5. Lettuce
  6. Croutons

Now that you have the basics down, here are three of my favorite types of mason jar salads!

The Standard Salad

All you need to do for this recipe is prepare a salad as you normally would- and than layer!

Chicken Taco Salad

I absolutely love any version of a taco- even when it’s salad. I feel like I am being healthy, while also feeling like I’m not starving myself. This is also very easy to adjust to your likings- you can pick beef or chicken, or just skip the meat all together! Instead of an avocado dressing, I like to put salsa on the bottom. Pile on your choice of beans, pico de gallo, corn salsa, anything you want. Top it with some fritos (or maybe not, if you’re trying to be healthy), stick it in the fridge, and the next day pour it all out into a bowl and enjoy a fresh salad!

The Fruit Salad

What’s salad without a little fruit? This is another great recipe as it varies from season to season. In the summer, make it with strawberries and blueberries! In the winter, darken it up with blood oranges and cranberries. It’s a free for all in this type of salad, so have fun!

 

Post Turkey Day

Thanksgiving is amazing. A day dedicated to eating food. Really, can it get any better? The answer: yes! Nothing is better than Thanksgiving, except for maybe Thanksgiving leftovers. Unfortunately, I was unable to escape my house after the week with any leftovers, but if you were one of the lucky children whose mom sent them back to college with stacks and stacks of Tupperware containers, then this post is for you. Now you could be boring and eat the same exact meal that you had on good ol’ Turkey day, or you can shake it up. My favorite?

The Gobbler

Yes, this is a sandwich from the best place on Earth (Wawa, for those who don’t live in the Tri-State area), and yes, you can recreate this on your own.

First, grab one of those leftover Italian rolls and pop it in the oven until it is nice and crispy. While that’s heating up, slice off some Turkey (white or dark meat, doesn’t matter), grab the mashed potatoes, cranberries (again regular cranberries or jelly, doesn’t matter) and stuffing. Grab the roll and pile on all of the food. This is the best part of making it on your own: you can proportion it to you. Personally, I use the cranberries as a spread on the bread and pile up heaps of stuffing and turkey, topping that off with some mashed potatoes.

 

Mac and Cheese

Once again, the best food in the world can be incorporated with one of the best holidays. Grab the recipe from day one, make a few adjustments (this time I would stick with extra sharp cheddar instead of Mexican cheese and maybe skip the paprika)  and toss in whatever leftover meat you have. Luckily, my mother also cooks a small ham on Thanksgiving, so I have a choice between turkey and ham. Trust me though, either will work.

 

Turkey Pot Pie

The cousin of chicken, turkey pot pie is just as good. At home, this is my mother’s go to as it stops the leftover veggies from going bad, uses the left over pie crust, and lasts forever. You can either make your own crust, or use a leftover Pillsbury one from the apple pie you were supposed to make. Throw in your veggies, your turkey, pop in the oven, and serve with a side of mashed potatoes. Thanksgiving, round 2. Yum.

 

There are also many more things you can do with your Thanksgiving leftovers. What are your favorite recipes?

What do you call cheese that ain’t yours?

I. Love. Nachos.

Stick them in an oven at 350 degrees for half an hour and pull out the gooiest cheesiest food in your life. Stick them in the microwave with alternating layers of queso and cheese and two minutes later you have the gooiest cheesiest food in your life. Nachos are like your best friend. They are there when you need them in any shape, form, or size. They can be made with anything! Queso, shredded cheese, cheese wiz… and that doesn’t even include toppings. Want mild nachos? Sprinkle some pico de gallo over top and call it a day. Want to kick up the spice? Add hot sauce! Nachos are man’s most beautiful creation.

You can always count on me to have a few things in my dorm room… and those are nacho ingredients. Grab your favorite tortilla chips (I prefer scoops) and get to work. For my nachos I used the following:

  • Tortilla Scoops
  • Queso 
  • Shredded Mexican Four Cheese
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Corn Salsa
  • Jalapenos

The last three items were all taken from the Salsa Rico line in Muddy. Scavenge for your food! Well, maybe not scavenge, but take advantage of what’s around you.

The very first thing I do is lay a layer of chips on the plate. Do your best to make sure that chips aren’t laying on top of each other so that each chip can reach its cheesey goodness potential. Next, take a spoon and throw queso at that plate. Get it everywhere. Next, sprinkle as much cheese as you want over that. Now, if you’re incredibly hungry, you can add an extra layer of chips and repeat the process. If you have self control, skip to the next step. Here’s where I like to chop the jalapenos. I chop them into teeny tiny pieces because I am a slight wuss when it comes to spicy food, but chop to your preference. Finally, sprinkle the pico de gallo and corn salsa over the chips and stick in the microwave! I find that anywhere from 45 seconds to a minute and a half usually cooks it thoroughly. Lastly, pull those bad boys out of the microwave and go to town on all that cheese.

 

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French Toast

To continue with the theme of you can make anything in a cup, I made this delicious french toast recipe. Apparently, if you base a recipe off of a solid recipe and not an adorable pinterest drawing, it turns out amazing. This recipe was incredibly simple and took less than ten minutes to make from prep to cleanup. To make this I used:

  • A dinner roll
    • Really any kind of bread works- I stole mine from dinner that night!
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Cinnamon
  • Syrup
  • Chocolate Chips

The chocolate chips were not necessary, but I had them laying around, so I decided to toss them in as a childhood favorite of mine was putting chocolate sauce over my French Toast.

First, I melted a chunk of butter in the bottom of the cup. Technically, you could just spray the mug, but the melted butter really added to the bread shoved at the bottom of the mug. Next, I cubed the bread and threw it in the cup, alternating with sprinklings of chocolate chip. You only need as much bread as can fill up the cup.

In a separate bowl, I mixed one egg, a splash (the recipe calls for 3 tablespoons, but I eyeballed it) of milk, cinnamon, and a dash of vanilla. I beat this all together and slowly poured the mixture over the bread. I kept starting and stopping in different spots to ensure all of the bread was getting covered.

While I let this mixture sit to make sure the bread at the bottom got some of the mixture, I cleaned up the very little mess that I had mostly made for myself by spilling the egg a little bit. When a minute or two had passed, I stuck it in the microwave for one minute. I pulled the mug out, mixed its contents, and stuck it back in the microwave for thirty more seconds. Actually done this time, I took it out and poured syrup over the top.

This was delicious. It was missing the ‘toast’ in french toast, but I would not hesitate to make it again. It was incredibly simple, not time consuming, and I don’t have to leave my room to make it. This would be a very simple recipe to prepare the night before so that you could warm it up before class on a cold morning.

Cooking Essentials

DORM ROOM

In order to cook in your dorm, you have to have some utensils, but you don’t want them clogging up your already precious storage space. The top two go together: a cutting board and a pairing knife. Target has a wonderful set, for under 10 dollars. Obviously, this cutting board is not going to be as good as a pricier cutting board, but for the shuffling back and forth between semesters and abuse it will take being neglected, it gets the job done. Second, is a pairing knife. My personal favorite is this one from Sur La Table. It comes in a range of colors, has incredible durability (it survived a previous roommate using it to play the incredibly safe game in New Girl called “sky knife”) and has an incredibly sharp blade that can cut through anything. Next is measuring cups and spoons which come in a variety of styles. Mine personally were stolen from my mother’s kitchen when she wasn’t looking. Next we have a rice cooker, which sounds incredibly boring. Who wants to make rice on a daily basis? Contrary to popular belief, rice cookers can cook anything. My all time favorite? Ravioli. Steam it, melt some butter over top, and sprinkle some mozzarella. The easiest and best alternative to easy mac on a cold winter night. Finally, a can opener- the tool you think is completely unnecessary until you need one and realize there is literally no other way to open a can. These five (six?) things are essential for any foodie, and won’t take up much storage space. While some get used more than others, I have used each one of these enough times that they have earned their space in my cabinets.

Cake in a Cup

Did you know you can make basically anything in a microwavable cup? Not that it always looks good (I’m looking at you microwavable meatloaf), but it can never hurt to try. This week I made marshmallow chocolate chip cake in a cup and based it off of this adorable picture that I found on Pinterest.

I bought all the ingredients and set to work on a dorm floor mixing and layering. I decided to mix it in a separate bowl instead of the mug. I tried the batter and it tasted mediocre- a little too much cocoa powder for my taste, but I decided to just trust the recipe. I mixed in the chocolate chips and poured it into the mug. What looked like a lot in the bowl filled the mug about 3/4 way, just enough so that it would not over flow. I stuck it in the microwave and cooked it for two minutes.

By the time it was done it looked like it had been concocted out of a horror movie. I shrugged it off, tossed some marshmallow fluff and extra chocolate chips on top and took a bite. Turns out, I should have trusted my instinct of too much cocoa powder. It wasn’t that it tasted bad- it just didn’t taste very good. It’s saving grace was the chocolate chips mixed in. I guess that’s what you get when you try to make something in two minutes that usually takes forty-five?

I am definitely not done with cooking a mug. My lazy side is fascinated with it. For this trend to take off there has to be a recipe that tastes like the real thing; that can satisfy that midnight snack craving.

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