Most, if not all, of us have faced the feeling of terror as our feeble attempts to cook something that won’t kill us goes up in flames—literally. Honestly, if you don’t wake your housemates up at 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning because the smoke alarm is blaring, are you really a college student?
As a first-year college student on my own for the first time, I’ve learned a lot about resourcefulness, particularly when it comes to ways to prepare high quality—kind of—cuisine. Being broke, hungry and limited on cooking equipment, I turned to the one thing all college students can rely on: my coffee maker. I learned to make meals for a decent price, all using this handy little machine. These are three meals I’ve found taste delicious, are easy on your wallet and can be made anywhere you can find a coffee maker—even a dorm.
The most important meal of the day
Breakfast is by far my favorite meal to make and eat, and although I am partial to pancakes, I quite enjoy the poached eggs and toast! Note: you don’t have to use aluminum foil on the hot plate, I just prefer to because it conducts heat well, and minimizes the cleanup I have to do later.
What you’ll need:
Cooking spray (or butter if you’re unhealthy like me)
Assorted toppings (I like green onions and cheese on mine)
Plastic wrap (or an egg poacher)
Salt and pepper
1 slice of Bread
Fill the water part of the coffee part with water, making sure there are no coffee grounds where the coffee grounds would usually go.
Brew the water through the machine on it’s hottest setting, until you have a pot half-full of hot water.* Remove the water from the hot plate and set aside.
Crack an egg into a bowl coated with the plastic wrap—or your egg poacher—tie the plastic so the egg is contained, and set it in the hot water to cook.
While the egg is cooking, cover the bottom of the coffee maker—the hot part that warms the coffee—with aluminum foil. Coat both sides of your toast with butter, and use the hot plate to toast the bread.*
Once the bread and egg are cooked, remove them from heat, season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with toppings of your choice.
*the water should be hot enough that it’s almost boiling
*you may need to adjust the setting on the hot plate for it to get warm enough to toast the bread. On mine, the default was enough.
Midday snack, aka lunch
This particular recipe took me forever to figure out, but the classic grilled cheese and tomato soup is one of my favorites to make!
What you’ll need:
1 can of tomato soup
2 slices of bread
A few slices of cheese
Coat the hot plate of the coffee maker with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray.
Butter one side of one slice of bread, and place it butter side down on the hot plate. Place however much cheese you want on the other side.
Butter the other slice of bread on only one side, and place the non buttered side on top of the cheese. Use a fork or spatula to flip the grilled cheese until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown.
Meanwhile, pour the contents of the tomato soup can into a bowl. Make sure you read the instructions about how much water you will need to add to the soup concentrate. Brew that much water in the coffee maker—it usually ends up being a little less than half a cup, but you can use the extra water to brew some tea while you wait.
When the water is done, add the hot water to the soup and mix evenly.* Serve this classic combination for perfect snack that will remind you of home.
*I recommend cooking the grilled cheese first, because it takes more time than the soup, and this way they will both be warm when you eat them.
Post-class devour session
This recipe is kind of cool because it’s a good way to use leftovers and get creative with the flavors you want to use. My personal favorite—and classic college dish—ramen!
What you’ll need:
1 package of ramen
Frozen veggies—or fresh, if that’s your thing
Open the compartment where you usually put coffee grounds, and place the frozen veggies in there. I like to use mixed veggies, and I like mine a little mushy. If you prefer your veggies more crisp, you can turn the water compartment into a makeshift vegetable steamer by placing a barrier between the water and veggies.
As the water is pulled through the coffee machine and heated, it will thaw the veggies. Use the hot water gathered in the coffee pot underneath as a base for your ramen.
Mix in the noodles and flavoring packet. As the hot water cooks the ramen, place the pork—cubed—into the ramen to taste.
Add the veggies, chopped green onion, and finally garnish with the egg cut in half. For a little extra oriental kick, I like to add a tablespoon of soy sauce to my ramen broth as the noodles cook.*
Finally, enjoy your post class meal!
*this will make the soup very salty, so if you don’t like too much salt, skip this step