3 Holiday-Inspired Meals You Can Make in the Dorm

3 Holiday-Inspired Meals You Can Make in the Dorm

Get the scoop on how to cook up a holiday-inspired meal in your dorm room or apartment.

By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

There's no doubt about it, one of the best parts about a winter break is heading home for a holiday feast of your favorite dishes. Whether you have a thing for the bird or prefer Tofurkey, or you like a slice of apple and pumpkin pie on your plate, holiday foods leave little room for a hungry belly. But what if you want to get the celebration started early, dorm room style?

Well, it's about time for you to tie on an apron because there are three recipes you can whip up with little to no kitchen space required.

Microwave Meatloaf

(Recipe from Kristi King, Registered Dietitian and Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics)

Ingredients:

  • 1 - 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1/2 - 1 whole onion minced
  • 1/4 cup green pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup saltine cracker crumbs
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 lbs of extra lean ground beef or ground turkey

Directions:

1. In small bowl mix together tomato sauce, brown sugar and mustard; stir until sugar is dissolved.

2. Large bowl, mix eggs, onion, green pepper, garlic powder, cracker crumbs, salt and pepper. Mix in the ground beef and 1/2 of the tomato mixture. Place meat into a 2-quart microwave safe dish. Spread rest of the tomato sauce over the meat loaf.

3. Cook on high in microwave until juices are clear and meat should be no longer pink on the inside. Usually 10-15 minutes depending on watt power of the microwave oven. Best food safety practice: remove baking dish from the microwave and insert a meat thermometer into the center of the loaf – should read 165 degrees F.

Cranberry Relish

(Recipe from Nisa Burns of Kitchenability.com and author of "Kitchenability 101: The College Student’s Guide to Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Food")

"This amazingly delicious cranberry relish is super easy to make. The best part is that you can make a big batch and have it with multiple meals throughout the week," Burns said. "Serve this relish alongside fish, pork, turkey, salads, or anything you like. It complements the meat, by adding a fresh pop of sweetness and tartness."

Ingredients:

  • 1 6-oz bag fresh cranberries
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 apples
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Place cranberries in a blender or food processor.

2. Cut up the entire orange -- skin and all -- and place it in the blender or food processor.

3. Cut the apple into good-sized chunks and place them into the blender or food processor.

4. Blend.

5. Add the vanilla extract. Blend once again, until it becomes a smooth, semichunky texture and you are good to go. Freeze any leftover relish for future use.

Baked Cinnamon Apples in the Microwave

(Recipe from Kristi King, Registered Dietitian and Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of peeled apple slices
  • 3 Tbsp of Sugar or 1-2 packets of artificial sweetener
  • 1/2 Tbsp of maple syrup

Directions:

1. In a glass, microwaveable safe bowl, place the 4 cups of apple slices and sprinkle the sugar/sweetener and cinnamon – lightly mix so slices are coated.

2. Cook on high for 5 minutes and remove from microwave.

3. Mix together to ensure coating is on all slices and gradually drizzling maple syrup to taste.

4. Alternative: add 1/2 Tablespoon butter or margarine prior to sugar cinnamon mix so the butter/margarine melts during the cooking process (can also use spray butter)

5. Great served with whipped cream or on ice cream!

More Festive Foods

King also suggests students consider instant mashed potatoes, microwaveable macaroni and cheese, and a pre-cooked ham that can be drizzled with the following mixture: 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 Tablespoons ground mustard and 2 Tablespoons of orange juice. (Drizzle on top and allow time for glaze to set.)

"Another suggestion would be to purchase a slow cooker," King said, emphasizing that a student should first check with a resident advisor about the college's policy for small appliances. "This is a great way to have healthy, festive foods. Throw the ingredients in, cover and cook from four to eight hours depending on the recipe, and it will make the dorm smell great!"

Foodie experts also advise students to check out recipe Websites, like Cooks.com and Allrecipes.com, and to consider using a planning tool, like Cooking Planit, an application that guides users through the step-by-step process of preparing a meal that is suitable to his or her lifestyle, including dorm and small apartment living.

"I think (food preparation) is an incredible skill to know because it helps with building better eating habits, and creates a sense of confidence in students," Burns said. "It also helps them budget. Cooking for yourself in a dorm room setting can be challenging no doubt, but if you have the knowledge, skill, and confidence you will find it to be fun and enjoyable!"

Quick Tips

  • Check out the school cafeteria for condiments or already-prepared sides that can be added to your dorm-style meal.
  • Snag paper plates and plastic ware at a discount store for easy cleanup after a meal.
  • Utilize online resources for holiday meal inspiration.

People Who Read This Article Also Read:

Quick and Easy Dorm Meals
How to Get in the Holiday Spirit During Finals
DIY Holiday Decor: 5 Festive Dorm Ideas
4 Colleges With Cool Holiday Traditions
DIY Holiday Gifts for Your College Friends

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