Recipes From the Dorm Kitchen

Posted by David

Hello current and prospective students,

When choosing a college, one of the FAQ's (at least for me it was) is about the food on campus. As a 4+ year student, it always catches people by surprise when I tell them some of the best food I've had in college has been creations concocted in the dorm kitchens. This post is devoted to some quick, easy, cheap, creative and tasty recipes I have seen done in the residence hall kitchens. I would like to thank the creators of these recipes for their creativity and ingenuity that has inspired me to cook and to try new things.

1. Homemade Pizza

File:Dominos pizza logo.svg

The stuff I've seen made in the Moore Hall kitchen is actually way better than the local carry-outs, and way more fun than calling it in and spending lots of money.

Pizza Dough:

1 1/4 cups warm water
1 package yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp veg/olive oil
3-4 cups flour

Slowly mix in flour until firm. Once firm, spread flour on clean surface and kneed until more firm yet elastic. Place dough in bowl with veg/olive oil and let sit covered for about 45 min. Preheat oven to 375 F and prepare toppings.

Advice: For sauce, both Ragu and Contadina work well. For cheese, 2 parts mozerella 1 part cheddar works, but feel free to experiment (I've seen feta work really well). As for toppings... Go crazy.

Cost Comparison:
Large Pizza from Delivery: $20
Ingredients for homemade pizza: $10

2. Chili-Mac

When I was an RA in Stevens, I had some friends who loved to cook in the smallest kitchen in the world, and in the space equitable of a broom closet they made chili mac, which is easy, filling and affordable.


1 Box of Mac and Cheese
1 Can of favorite chili or leftover chili from previous dinner adventures

Prepare mac and cheese as noted on the box. Heat up the chili. Mix the two together. For extra credit you can put the mac in a dish pan, cover with a layer of cheddar and bake at 350 F for 20-30 min, but this is not necessary.

I like this recipe because it taught me that cooking is possible anywhere, even the broom closet.

Cost of Ingredients: $5

3. Dal (a.k.a. Spicy Indian Lentil Yumminess)

File:Dal Makhani.jpg

One of my friends from India would make this stuff in the dorm kitchen all the time and I learned how to make it from him. Since then, it's become one of my favorite foods and I cook it regularly for friends and to feed myself on a tight budget.


2 cups red lentils (in a pinch, regular lentils will work too)
Some source of tomato (I use tomato juice, but you can use tomato paste, puree, etc.)
Water (add as needed)
3 tbsp curry powder (or curry paste)
1-2 tsp ginger paste or chopped ginger
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt (add as needed)
Chopped chili peppers (use your spice preferences for this one. Personally I find 4 habaneros sufficient, but this may be too spicy for some.
Mixed veggies (whatever veggies you like, throw them in)

Add the ingredients together in a large pot and set the stove to high until the contents boil. Once it has boiled, reduce the heat to low, allowing the contents to simmer and stirring occasionally. The contents will reduce and the lentils will absorb water so you may need to add water as needed. There aren't many specific measurements in this recipe because there's really a lot of variance as to how you can do it depending on preferences. Typically, I just taste it as I go to see if the lentils and veggies are fully cooked or if more salt is needed. Normally, it will take 45 min to an hour for the lentils to fully cook.


Can be served over rice or just by itself.

My friend advised me that if the mixture is too spicy, cream cheese or milk may be added to give it a milder, creamier flavor. I personally use either coconut milk or plain yogurt for this.

Some good veggies to add to this include potatoes, broccoli, onions, carrots, peas and sweet corn. This is a good way to cram a bunch of veggies (and essential vitamins for that matter) into your diet.

Lentils have one of the highest protein content of the legumes.

By leaving out the optional dairy component, this recipe is vegan and gluten-free.

Cost of ingredients: $5

4. Tostadas

One of my favorite Moore Hall kitchen creations to date, quick, easy, portable and fun. Perfect for group meals and so many different variants to play with.

The Hot Ingredients:

1 package soft corn tortillas
1-2 cans re-fried beans
1 package of preferred cheese (cheddar, monterey jack, etc.)
2 tbsp cooking oil

The Cool Ingredients:
2-3 avocados
1 jar of favorite salsa
chopped veggies (mix of tomatoes, onions, lettuce and cilantro can't hurt
1 container of sour cream

First preheat the over to 375 F. Next, fry the tortillas in a pan with cooking oil (about 20 seconds each side) while heating up the refried beans in a pot. Once the tortillas have had 20 seconds on each side, take them out of the pan and place them on a baking sheet. If your cheese is not pre-shredded, grate your cheese. Spread a sizable layer of the beans on the tortillas, followed by a layer of shredded cheese. Place in the oven for about 5-10 minutes. Once out of the oven, let cool for a couple minutes and then add the avocado, chopped veggies, sour cream and salsa. The avocado can be made into guacamole or cut into slices/cubes, it really depends on preference.

Cost of Ingredients: $15-$20 (depending on group size)

I hope that people reading this post have been inspired to try some new recipes or try doing group meals in the dorm kitchens, and I look forward to seeing new recipes and ideas take shape.

I would like to give a special thanks to the people whose recipes/meals I used for this post. Your recipes inspire me to try new things every day and to treat it like an adventure.

No comments

Powered by Blogger.