College Kitchen: At your convenience

All you need is a microwave.

by Lucy Nieboer

The college student is a creature of convenience. In its natural habitat it can be seen reusing dirty dishes and attending classes in anything that passes the sniff test.

Prepackaged frozen dinners and granola bars are a staple of its diet, making the microwave and convenience store vital to the college student’s survival. Flavor is often sacrificed for ease and timeliness.

However, with a little imagination, a college cook can easily mold ingredients from bland to bold in as little as 60 seconds.

With these recipes you won’t waste time standing around waiting for dinner to be done. You can make a hot meal in the same time that it takes to write a paragraph of a paper or highlight a page of notes.


Tuna Noodle Hot Dish


Straight out of Midwestern mothers’ recipe books, this dish is a classic. Skipping the hours spent baking in the oven doesn’t affect the taste or quality in the least. Our new take is so good we had to wonder — why has mom been wasting time with the oven all these years?


1 Easy Mac cup

2 heaping spoonfuls of condensed cream of mushroom soup

3 heaping spoonfuls tuna fish

1 string cheese

1 handful pretzels


Open your Easy Mac cup and remove the cheese packet. You can throw it out or save it to use in some of your own microwave recipes. On top of the dry noodles, add the spoonfuls of condensed soup. (If your soup isn’t condensed, just use soup like you would water in preparation of the noodles.) Pour water into the cup until you reach the fill line then heat on high for three minutes. When your noodles emerge from the ’wave give them a stir to make sure you’ll have an evenly heated dinner.

Mix in your tuna fish. Tear your string cheese into shreds to top your mini-casserole. Heat it again for 30 seconds. If you’re feeling fancy, you may want to transfer it to a bowl at this point, but if you’re a straight-outta-the-carton kind of gal/guy, that’s fine too. Crush your pretzels to create some makeshift breadcrumbs. Sprinkle on top and chow down on your comfort food.


Cranberry Rice Pudding


Craving something sweet after the dining hall’s Late Night has closed? Look no further. This hearty treat will settle your inner sweet beast. It’s also the perfect way to use up that dry, week-old rice from Village Wok.


1 handful Craisins ®

2 vanilla pudding cups

1 cup cooked rice

1 small handful cinnamon Teddy Grahams

Water or milk


In a microwave-safe bowl, crush up the Grahams with a fork or spoon. Add the Craisins, ® and cover the mixture in a half-inch of water or milk. Zap it on high for about a minute, and let sit for five minutes so the Craisins ® can absorb the flavored liquid. Mix the rice into the pudding, and add the cranberry sauce. Microwave on high for two to three minutes and eat your sweets.


Teriyaki Beef Noodles


Have a hankering for some fare of the Far East but not willing to pay through the nose for takeout? Here’s our microwave solution.


1 handful teriyaki beef jerky

1 package beef Cup Noodles

1 handful FunyunsKetchup


Sriracha (optional)


Place your beef jerky in a small bowl. Cover completely in water, and let sit 30 minutes to one hour. Prepare cup noodles as directed, using only half the seasoning packet and the beef water to cook the noodles. When done cooking, drain the noodles of all liquid. After crushing the Funyuns into a fine powder, stir into the noodles. For a hint of sweetness add 2-3 squirts of ketchup. Stir. For a spicy kick also add 2-3 squirts of Sriracha. Stir and enjoy.


With late nights at the library and crunched time between classes ahead, leisurely summer picnics will soon give way to rushed lunches and dinners that come in boxes. Don’t cry for bygone days, college cooks — if you follow the above recipes you’ll have no need for long grocery lists and complicated recipes. Microwave simplicity — voilà.