Quickie dorm cuisine an art
By Tanya Bricking Leach
By Tanya Bricking Leach
By all accounts, college dorm food has gotten much better in recent years.
But what about those times you sleep through brunch? Miss lunch because you were hanging out at the library scoping prospective dates? Or maybe you were even studying so hard you forgot to look at the clock and the cafeteria closed.
We can't speak to your school's rules on in-room cooking devices (or how strictly you wish to observe them), but we can offer some decent quickie dining ideas.
Though be warned, like wearing the same sweats to class that you slept in, or using the same plastic cup to drink beer or brush you teeth, some are ideas only a student could love.
A college student's best friend, they're cheap and easy and you can spruce them up with just about anything, says Toni Patrick, author of "101 Things To Do With Ramen Noodles" (Gibbs Smith, 2005). Patrick came up with the idea for the book when she was a chemistry major at the University of Northern Colorado.
Patrick, now 36, has graduated and moved out of the dorm. But she still experiments with some of her classics, such as a variation of her tuna noodle casserole: cooked ramen topped with a can of cream of mushroom soup and a can of peas and warmed in the microwave. Not in the mood for that? She's got 100 more.
One recipe she hasn't tried in a while is a former roommate's creation that became wildly popular among her college friends: ramen topped with Cheez Whiz and crumbled Doritos. Somehow, that didn't make it into the cookbook.
MAC & CHEESE
Patrick doesn't claim to be a chef, but she did have enough thoughts about frugal food fixings to come up with another book, "101 Things To Do With Mac & Cheese" (Gibbs Smith, 2007). Her former roommate might be partial to the Frito Pie recipe: mac & cheese topped with a can of beanless chili and crumbled Fritos. Nothing says college like chips on the dinner menu.
For healthier fare, all you need is a blender, some yogurt, a banana and whatever other fruit you have, says Daphne Oz, author of "The Dorm Room Diet" (Newmarket Press, 2006) and this year's "The Dorm Room Diet Planner."
If she has it handy, Oz, 21, a senior at Princeton University (and daughter of "Oprah" show contributor Dr. Mehmet Oz), likes to add strawberries, a packet of Splenda, ice and protein powder.
"It's a nice thing to wake up to," she says.
OUTSIDE-IN PANINI PIZZA
If a George Foreman Grill doesn't get you kicked out of the dorm, that just might be the way to go, says celebrity cook Rachael Ray, whose syndicated daytime show is often playing in the background in dorm rooms across America. For late-night study breaks, the George Foreman Grill doubles as a handy panini press, she says.
Load up a nice Italian loaf with sun-dried tomatoes, provolone or mozzarella, pesto and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Close the halves and drizzle the outside with extra-virgin olive oil, she says, press, and "press-to."
Tanya Bricking Leach, a former staff writer at The Honolulu Advertiser, is a mother of two.