This week on Friday Favourites I’m talking dinners that are perfect for the dorm room. The new school year is quickly upon us and if you’re heading to a dorm room this year and aren’t much of a culinary genius, it’s time to start thinking about what you’ll survive off this year.

While dorm rooms are generally on the smaller side, it can be tricky thinking how you’ll be making yourself a nice dinner without the use of a full kitchen. Don’t worry, there are some amazing small kitchen appliances that don’t take up a lot of precious space and will cook you an amazing meal.

Getting a decent meal throughout your school year will stop you from sitting in class with a grumbling tummy, and will give you the nutrition you need to keep you healthy and focused in class. Your mom will probably be happy too not having to worry about you starving.

I wouldn’t head to school or your dorm this September without a fast slow cooker. You can have a meal cook while you’re in class during the day or whip something up last minute after classes. I’ve tested one out and they make the best rice pudding ever I’ve ever eaten. Another great appliance to have is a microwave of course. They are fast and convenient and can be easily hidden away out of site. Last of all, a crockpot is easy to use and is great for batch cooking so you can make a few days of meals in one go.

Here are four great dorm room dinner recipes to try out this school year:

 

5 Minute vegetarian burrito bowl

Burrito bowls are one of my favourite dinners. They are so easy to make, and you can add whatever you like to customize them to your liking. This recipe from healthy-liv.com will be sure to fill you up.

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked brown rice (I used Trader Joe’s frozen pre-cooked brown rice)
1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 tablespoons salsa, or to taste
1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon shredded cheddar or Mexican-blend cheese
Diced avocado

Directions:

Prepare brown rice according to package instructions.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine rice, black beans, salsa, plain Greek yogurt, and shredded cheese. Microwave on high for 30-60 seconds, or until heated through.

Top with diced avocado, diced tomato, guacamole, pico de gallo, crushed tortilla chips, or other desired toppings.

 

Sausage and cheese spaghetti

This recipe from ladyandpups.com looks delicious and it would be a recipe I would go to if I was looking for comfort food.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup (180 grams) of spaghetti, broken into short segments
1 1/2 cup (355 grams) of water
1/4 tsp of salt
1 cup (240 gram)of half and half
1/8 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 heaping cup (45 grams/1.6 oz) of shredded fontina cheese
1/2 heaping cup (45 grams/1.6 oz) of shredded sharp cheddar, plus more for topping
1/3 cup (20 grams/0.7 oz) of grated Parmigiano cheese, plus more for topping
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4.2 oz (120 grams) of sweet Italian sausage meat
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tsp of unsalted butter

Directions

Break the spaghetti up into short segments with your hands into a microwave-proof bowl.  Add water and salt, then stir to combine.  Cover the bowl and microwave on high for 4 min, then stir again with a fork.  Cover and microwave on high again for 3 ~ 4 min (depending on the thickness of the spaghetti) until the pasta is al-dente and the water’s mostly absorbed.  Add the half and half, grated nutmeg, shredded fontina and cheddar, and grated Parmigiano cheese.  Mix evenly and season with salt and black pepper.  Set aside.

Divide the Italian sausage, minced garlic, fresh thyme and unsalted butter into 2 mugs.  Use a fork to mix them slightly, then microwave on high for 1 min.  Break up the sausage meat with a fork (which shouldn’t be completely cooked yet) and return to the microwave for another 1:30 min.  Divide the spaghetti and cheese mixture into the mugs and mix with the sausage on the bottom.  Top with more shredded cheddar, Parmigiano cheese and freshly ground black pepper.

Microwave on high for another 3:30 min until hot and bubbly (you might want to place a sheet of parchment on the bottom in case it over-spills).

 

Pineapple teriyaki crockpot chicken

Crockpot meals are easy and convenient to make and they’re also great for providing leftovers. Try this delicious chicken recipe from onegoodthingfromjillee.com.

Ingredients:

1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce (I used a gluten free Tamari)
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts

 Directions

 Cut chicken into bite sized pieces.

Add chicken and the other ingredients into your slow cooker. Stir.

Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until chicken is tender and falls apart.

Serve over rice

 

Don’t forget dessert

Here’s a perfect recipe for those days when you need a little treat after dinner. Mug cakes are super popular right now, but for all you cheesecake lovers out there, give this recipe by hungrylittlegirl.com a try.

Mug cheesecake

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons fat free sour cream
3 tablespoons low fat cream cheese
⅛ teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ egg, beaten fluffy (egg substitute works too)
Mix-in of your choice (if desired)
1 vanilla wafer

Directions

In a small bowl mix together sugar, sour cream, cream cheese, lemon juice and egg until well combined

Fold in your favorite Mix-in (if you want a plain cheesecake, just leave this step out)

Microwave on high for 1 minute

Open microwave door for 20 seconds, close, and microwave again for 45 seconds (if you use a mix-in you might need additional 20 seconds)

Take out of the microwave, let cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to the fridge for about 2 hours

Serve with a crushed vanilla wafer on top (or if you take it out of the cup put crushed vanilla wafer on the plate and place cake on top)

Don’t come home from a long day of classes with a hungry belly and no dinner plans, you’ll probably be more likely to snack on junk food. Plan your meals for the week and take along the perfect small appliance to your dorm room this year to help you make those meals.

You can read last weeks post for some great lunch recipes and take a look at bestbuy.ca for some great kitchen appliances.

Main image @www.saintpeters.edu.