Easy Meal Ideas for College Students

By Jill Davis
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If you're a college student, you want to make fast and easy meals that fit within your budget. Whether you're in a dorm room with small appliances or have ventured into your own apartment, you can make a variety of meals quickly and inexpensively with a microwave, toaster oven and stove-top or electric burner.

Toaster Oven

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If you're in a dorm but have access to a toaster oven, it's nearly as good as having a full oven. For a fast pizza, cut an English muffin in half, spread it with sauce and add shredded mozzarella cheese and any toppings you like. Heat at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for five to seven minutes, or until the cheese bubbles. Make an open-face grilled cheese or tuna melt on the broiler setting. Put your desired topping on buttered bread, lay foil underneath to keep the oven clean and broil until the cheese melts. If you want your bread toasted, close the sandwich and set the toaster oven to the toast setting for one to two minutes. Serve with cut-up vegetables or a side of pickles.

Microwave Oven

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It's easy to prepare cans of soup in a microwave oven. Stock up when the grocery store is having a sale. Pair a bowl of soup with a grilled cheese sandwich. If you feel like having a more substantial dinner, make meatballs in the microwave. Add ketchup or Worcestershire sauce and spices to 1 pound of ground meat. Shape into balls and cook in a shallow dish for seven minutes on high. Make sure the finished meatballs are not pink inside. Serve with barbecue sauce and a side of cole slaw. You can even add the meatballs to a french roll for a delicious sandwich. If you need something fast, grab a frozen dinner at the supermarket. There are choices for every palate and they can be cooked in a hurry before your 7:00 class.

Stovetop

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Eggs make a delicious, inexpensive and quick meal. Whether you scramble the eggs, fry them or make an omelet, you can prepare dinner in minutes. For a healthy option, add tomatoes or other vegetables to the eggs. Top with salsa or cheese. If you can spend a little more time, make a delicious stir fry. Cut up fresh veggies or buy a bag of frozen veggies that are already cut. Saute them in a frying pan with some oil until they are hot but still crispy. Serve over a bed of rice that you cooked in the microwave, or add some leftover noodles to the pan and heat them with the vegetables. If you're going to add a protein like fish or chicken, cook that before adding the vegetables. Top with soy sauce for extra flavor.

Cold Meals

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You can make a great meal without using any heat. Toss a salad with spinach, cherry tomatoes, a can of tuna and some lemon juice. Make a sandwich with cheese, lettuce and lunch meat on crusty bread. Spread hummus on a big tortilla, and add some olives, cucumber slices and feta cheese for a delicious wrap. Cut in slices and dip in Greek tzatziki sauce. Or use the hummus as a dip for cut-up vegetables and add a piece of cheese on the side. Have peanut butter on apple slices as a snack, or spread peanut butter on a rice cake and eat with an orange or apple for a quick lunch.