Cooking in College  

Beat the freshman fifteen and skip cafeteria lines with these dorm room-ready recipes and gadgets that make eating college-style an A+ experience.

  • Healthy tips for avoiding college weight gain.
    Zoë Gowen, Photo: Lee Harrelson; Styling: Mindi Shapiro

    Avoid the Freshman Fifteen

    It's dormitory move-in day. Say good bye to curfew, intruding parents, pesky siblings, meals on the table, and your old jean size. Say hello to all-night parties, late-night studying, life in a cinder block room, a diet of fast food, and stretch pants. The Freshman Fifteen is no myth. But with these must-have college cooking gadgets and easy dorm room recipes, it really is possible to still wear your favorite skinny jeans come exam time.

  • Microwave Snack Mix
    Zoë Gowen

    The Microwave

    Every college student must have a microwave—its uses are endless. This sleek little microwave is powerful and efficient, and still packs enough room for a full-size rotating plate. Whip up this tasty Microwave Snack Mix when you need fuel for the mind.

    Get this Microwave: Sharp Half-Pint Mini-Microwave

  • Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
    Zoë Gowen

    The Mini-Fridge

    If you want to keep perishable food in your room and avoid buying drinks at the vending machine, you've got to get a mini-fridge. This mini-fridge with freezer is almost three feet high, so the top of it does double duty as a work space and storage area (or bedside table). Throw together this cheap ($3 per serving) and low-cal Mediterranean Chickpea Salad for an easy and filling meal.

    Remember: Clean out and defrost your fridge when you go home for Christmas break, otherwise you'll come back to mold!

    Get this Fridge: Danby Compact Refrigerator with Freezer

  • bean-chili
    Zoë Gowen, Beatriz Dacosta

    The Slow Cooker

    This will be the best item you will purchase. Imagine coming home to the smell of homemade (and antioxidant rich) Red Bean and Poblano Chili on a cold fall day. You can scoop it in a bowl, eat it in your bed, plop that empty bowl on your desk, and roll over for a nap. Life is that easy with this programmable slow cooker. Combine the ingredients in the morning, turn it on, leave for class, come home, and voila! You have a hearty meal waiting for you.

    Get this Slow Cooker: Cuisinart Three and a Half Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

  • Easy Chocolate Croissants
    Zoë Gowen, Photo: Alex Farnum

    The Toaster Oven

    You can't have a full-size oven in your room, but you can have a toaster oven. To bake the perfect pizza and waffles, opt for a toaster oven instead. This one can accommodate six pieces of bread and has temperature settings. On lazy Sunday mornings, treat yourself to these Easy Chocolate Croissants.

    Get this Toaster Oven: Euro-Pro 6-Slice Toaster Oven

  • Lime and Pepper Grilled Chicken Breasts
    Zoë Gowen, Annabelle Breakey

    The George Foreman Grill

    You cannot go wrong with this countertop grill created by heavyweight boxer and healthy home cook, George Foreman. The uses for the grill are endless: grilled fruit, sandwiches, meats, and quesadillas. You don't need much to make these tasty Lime and Pepper Grilled Chicken Breasts; just a lean cut of meat and a few spices yield satisfying results. This small grill comes with a custom sponge for easy clean-up.

    Get this George Foreman: Champ Grill with Included Grill Sponge



  • Creamy 100-Calorie Coffee
    Zoë Gowen, Southern Living

    The Coffee Maker

    Coffee can be a welcome boost in the morning. This four-cup coffee maker can be programmed up to 24 hours in advance, so you can wake up to fresh brewed coffee every morning. Use it to make this Creamy 100-Calorie Coffee as a delicious alternative to the fancy mocha frappuccinos that are costly to both your wallet and your waistline.

    Get this Coffee Maker: Mr. Coffee 4-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker



  • Lemon-Basil Risotto with Tomato Topping
    Zoë Gowen, Randy Mayor

    The Rice Cooker

    Rice is healthy, cheap, tasty, and easy, making it a college student's best friend. It comes in so many varieties (white, brown, yellow, multigrain) you can't get bored. With a rice cooker, cooking it is nearly foolproof. Just put the rice in and press a button. Go gourmet in your dorm room with this Lemon-Basil Risotto.

    Get This Rice Cooker: Black & Decker 3-Cup Automatic Rice Cooker

  • <p>Dorm Room Survival Tips</p>
    Zoë Gowen, MyHomeIdeas, Laurey W. Glenn

    Dorm Room Survival Tips

    When cooking in your dorm, remember to always be courteous to your roommate. Avoid cooking anything with a potentially offensive or long-lingering odor (garlic, tuna, onions, peppers, Vienna sausages). Always clean up after you cook, and offer to share your meals; it's more fun cooking for two.

  1. Enter at least one ingredient