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5 Balanced Dorm-Cooked Meal Ideas

header   For many of us, the college years are the first time we’ve ever needed to cook for ourselves. While some of us are able to get by on delivery pizza or dining hall meals, nothing comes close to a home-cooked meal. But without a full kitchen, little money to spend, and even fewer cooking skills, options are limited. And yes, we’ve been there, too! That’s why we’ve compiled five meal ideas you can make right in your dorm room. As long as you have a microwave and a mini-fridge, you can be the culinary expert on campus!  

Suddenly Seafood Meals

These microwaveable, pre-portioned servings of fish and seafood found in our meat and seafood department cook perfectly in minutes right in the bag! Simply refrigerate until ready to microwave.  

Equipment needed:

  • Microwave
  • Mini-fridge with freezer if using frozen vegetables and rice


Tip: For a balanced meal, pair with fresh veggies, or frozen Birdseye® SteamFresh® veggies and rice.  

Microwave Mac & Cheese

mac and cheese

Skip the boxed mac and make our Greek Yogurt Mac and Cheese in a mug! It’s fast, easy and uses whole food ingredients!

What you need:

  • ⅓ cup whole grain pasta
  • ¾ cup cold water
  • 3-4 Tbsp. plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 Tbsp. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 Tbsp. milk (if the sauce is too thick)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Pinch onion powder (optional)
  • Pinch garlic powder (optional)


What you do:

  1. In a large microwaveable mug or large bowl, add macaroni and water.
  2. Microwave for about 3 ½ minutes, or until pasta is fully cooked.
  3. Pour off the remaining cooking water.
  4. Stir in Greek yogurt, cheese, milk, if needed, and microwave for an additional 60 seconds.
  5. Season with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder and enjoy!


Equipment needed:

  • Large microwaveable mug or bowl
  • Spoon
  • Measuring cups (optional)
  • Microwave


Tip: Top with Starkist®Tuna Creations or Johnsonville® Flame Grilled Chicken Breasts for added protein!  

If you like this recipe, you'll love these other microwave mug recipes!

Cher-Make 100 Calorie Chicken Brats


These pre-cooked links are a great choice for a quick, microwaveable meal. Simply microwave according to package directions, and voila! You have a flavorful protein option ready in minutes! Just refrigerate until ready to heat.

Equipment needed:

  • Mini-fridge
  • Microwave-safe dish
  • Microwave


Tip: Pair with The Little Potato Company™ Microwave Ready potatoes and fresh fruit or veggies to round out your meal.   

Vegetarian Burrito Bowls

Vegetarian Burrito Bowls

These totally customizable bowls feature easy-to-use ingredients that can fit right in your mini-fridge. Plus, they’re the perfect way to include all the food groups into one tasty dish!

What you need:


What you do:

  1. Prepare rice according to package instructions.
  2. If using Better Bean beans, heat with ½ Tbsp. water in microwave-safe bowl.
  3. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine rice, black beans, salsa, Greek yogurt, and shredded cheese. Microwave on high for 30-60 seconds, or until heated through.
  4. Top with guacamole, salsa, or other desired toppings.


Equipment needed:

  • Can opener, if using canned black beans
  • Spoon
  • Microwave-safe bowl
  • Microwave
  • Mini-fridge for storing ingredients

Tip: For a non-vegetarian option, top with Johnsonville® Flame Grilled Chicken Breasts

Hawaiian Pizzadillas


Take our Hawaiian Pizzadilla recipe with you to college! Let the microwave do the cooking, and you’ll be on your way to melty, pineapple goodness in a snap!

What you need:

  • 4 whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 Tbsp. refrigerated pesto (optional)
  • 4 Tbsp. pizza sauce
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 2 slices Canadian bacon, torn into strips


What you do:

  1. Spread pesto evenly on two tortillas. Then spread pizza sauce on tortillas.
  2. Sprinkle a thin layer of cheese, followed by Canadian bacon and pineapple on each tortilla. Top each tortilla with the remaining two tortillas.
  3. Microwave one pizzadilla at a time, covered with a paper towel, on a microwave-safe plate on HIGH for 1 to 1 ½ minutes.


Equipment needed:

  • Microwave-safe plate
  • Spoon
  • Can opener
  • Microwave
  • Mini-fridge for storing ingredients


Tip: Pair with fresh veggies to round out your meal.  

Have a question about nutrition? Our Mealtime Mentors would love to help! Reach out at or find them on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.


Disclaimer: The information provided here is intended for general information only. It is not intended as medical advice. Health information changes frequently as research constantly evolves. You should not rely on any information gathered here as a substitute for consultation with medical professionals. Information may not be reproduced without permission from Festival Foods. We strongly encourage guests to review the ingredient lists of suggested products before purchasing to ensure they meet individual dietary needs. All products not available at all Festival locations.  

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