Quick and Easy Meals for Finals


Keally Peck, Writer

With less than a month until the spring 2023 semester comes to a close, more time is planned to be spent so the school year can be successfully finished. The biggest complaint about studying for these finals is time. More time is needed for studying the bigger tests compared to regular quizzes. So, time spent doing other things is sacrificed or shortened.

Finding quick and easy meals that also hold tasty factors can be difficult to find. Especially when in a time crunch. While getting takeout or food delivered is easier, it can be costly. And for many college students, the money to have food delivered or order takeout is nonexistent. Since no small cooking items are allowed either in Northeast Community College’s dorms, making quick and easy waffles, toasted sandwiches and other items is out of the question. So what can be made quickly, easily and be tasty while in the comforts of a college dorm?

With a refrigerator and a microwave, along with a sink to get water and clean dishes, there are plenty of ways to create breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert meals. Refrigerated meals and microwave meals are definitely on an easier scale, but not everyone will find them tasty.

For breakfast, meals like breakfast burritos and pancakes always seem to be a meal that sounds enjoyable but takes time to make. For lunch and dinner, items like pizza and pasta are great too, but most recipes require an oven to make them. And dessert shouldn’t be ignored either, especially with items like pudding and flan. All of these food items require something college students cramming for finals don’t have, whether that’s time or a stove. Here’s a look at some recipes to try out.

Starting off with the most important meal of the day, breakfast Pancakes are a fan favorite, especially when there are different varieties of pancakes to try. In this first recipe, this is a way to make blueberry pancakes, but in a jar, with just a microwave to cook them. All that is needed is a mason jar, along with a fork. To start off, put a cup of flour, two tablespoons of baking powder and a half teaspoon of salt into a jar and combine the ingredients. Then, add two-thirds of a cup of milk or buttermilk, two tablespoons of melted butter and a beaten egg to the mixture. Then, with the mixture combined, add blueberries. Once combined in the jar, the mixture is free to set in the refrigerator until it’s ready to be served. When it’s wanted, whether it’s immediately or in a few hours, the mixture can be placed in a microwave for two minutes. Top it off with syrup and this sweet and unique breakfast is ready to go.

The second breakfast recipe here is a way to have a breakfast mug treat. Here is a way to enjoy a jelly donut in a mug with just a microwave to prepare it. First, two tablespoons of melted butter should be placed in the mug. And then, four tablespoons of flour, one egg yolk, two tablespoons of sugar, one tablespoon of milk, one-half a teaspoon of baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and one tablespoon of strawberry jam should join the butter and all the ingredients need to be mixed together. Once the batter is mixed, a spoonful of strawberry jam should be placed into the batter to get the jammy center of the mug donut. Microwave the mixture for 45 seconds, or until it is firm on top, but keep a close eye on the mug so it doesn’t overflow or overcook. Finally, sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on top and enjoy right away. Two tablespoons of banana or applesauce can be used to replace the egg in the mixture.

The last breakfast item listed here will be a two-minute breakfast burrito. Based on the quantity needed, a tortilla, a slice of cheese and an egg are needed per burrito. Two burritos are made per serving. First, the eggs will need to be in a bowl and stirred together until combined. Then, the egg mixture should be microwaved for about 90 seconds, or until the egg mixture is cooked. Once cooked, the egg patty should be cut in half and then each half should be placed onto a tortilla with a slice of cheese. Fold or roll up the tortillas to make burritos, then put the burrito into the microwave for 20 seconds to allow the cheese to melt. Once done, the burrito can be served with salsa, if desired.

Moving on to the later categories of lunch and dinner, the first recipe here is a way to stay healthy, but also make sure not to have any leftovers. This is a recipe for a cheesy broccoli rice casserole for one. Only four ingredients are needed for this recipe. One serving of mini-rice, two tablespoons of shredded cheddar cheese, four to five frozen broccoli florets and a tablespoon of water First, the rice should be made as instructed on the packaging, which usually includes adding water to the small rice bowl and letting the rice become soft. Then, in a separate bowl, the water, cheese and broccoli should be added and combined. After the rice is done cooking, the mixture should be heated for two minutes. Remove the mixture from the microwave and smash the broccoli with a fork. Pour the rice into the mixture, then combine the two. The casserole will then be ready to serve.

Up next is a way to enjoy enchiladas without the stress of waiting for an oven to preheat. This recipe is great to enjoy with another person who may also be studying. For these enchiladas, you’ll need a can of enchilada sauce (it should be 15 ounces), 12 gluten-free corn tortillas, two cups of cooked shredded or diced chicken and one cup of shredded cheese. Other fillings, like beans or corn, for the enchiladas are optional. First, the tortillas should be wrapped in a paper towel and microwaved for 30 seconds to heat them up so they will become flexible. A half cup of the enchilada sauce should then be spread on the bottom of a microwave-safe rectangular casserole dish. Then, the chicken, along with other desired fillings and one cup of enchilada sauce should be mixed together. Each tortilla should be dipped in the remaining enchilada sauce, then filled with two-and-a-half to three tablespoons of filling, then rolled. Each tortilla should be placed into the pan, seam the sides down and repeat with each filled tortilla. Spread any remaining sauce on the top of the enchiladas, then sprinkle with the shredded cheese. Microwave the enchiladas for five to seven minutes, or until the cheese is melted, the sauce is bubbly and the enchiladas are heated through.

To wrap up a great dinner meal, a way to enjoy pizza, but in a mug. While there is a way to make a pizza using a tortilla, cheese, tomato sauce and any toppings to go with it, this is another way to enjoy the famous Italian entree. First, four tablespoons of flour should be mixed with 18 of a teaspoon of baking powder, 14 of a teaspoon of baking soda and 18 of a teaspoon of salt. Once mixed, three tablespoons of milk and one tablespoon of oil should be mixed into the mixture. Then, spoon on a tablespoon of marinara sauce and spread it around the surface of the batter. Sprinkle a generous tablespoon of mozzarella cheese, five mini pepperonis and one-half teaspoon of dried Italian herbs. Once everything is in the mug, microwave the pizza mixture for 70–80 seconds, or until it rises and the toppings are bubbling. Once done, it is ready to be enjoyed right away.

And finally, it wouldn’t be a complete list without dessert. To start it off, here is a classic dessert, a chocolate souffle. With one ounce of a choice of chocolate chips, a pinch of salt, one and a half tablespoons of milk, an egg with the yolk and white separated, a tablespoon of sugar and two teaspoons of cornstarch, the end result is a delicious chocolate souffle. First, the chocolate chips, salt and milk should be placed in a microwave-safe souffle dish and cooked uncovered in the microwave for one minute or until the chocolate chips are melted. Once melted, the three ingredients should be mixed until smooth. Then, add the yolks to the chocolate mixture and mix until combined. In a separate bowl, the egg whites, sugar and cornstarch should be whipped together until a creamy mixture is formed. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture in three different batches until it forms a creamy mixture. Make sure to wipe the edges of the dish with a clean towel before cooking to help the souffle rise evenly. Then, uncovered, cook the souffle for 30 seconds or until it puffs up at the edge. The top should still look slightly glossy and creamy. Keep in mind that the souffle will collapse as soon as the timer goes off, but will remain airy and light inside. If it does not collapse, it means it was a little overcooked.

Secondly, there is a way to enjoy a fruity dessert as well. This strawberry shortcake made with a mug is a great way to enjoy a fruity dessert. For this recipe, half a cup of cut-up fresh strawberries, two teaspoons granulated sugar, two cups of whipped topping, one egg and one-half cup of yellow cake mix are needed. First, combine the strawberries and sugar in a small bowl, then set it aside. Inside two microwave-safe mugs, spray with no-stick cooking spray. Then, whisk together the whipped topping, egg and cake mix in a medium bowl, then place half the batter into each mug. Each mug should be microwaved individually on high for 75–90 seconds. Once done, the mug cake should be flipped onto a plate, covered with additional whipped topping and half the strawberries placed on each cake. This is also a great meal to have for a study group.

Finally, for this last recipe, cinnamon apples This isn’t just a dessert; it can also be something to snack on with a fork to avoid messes. To enjoy this alternative to apple pie, all that is needed is one large green apple, two tablespoons of butter, one tablespoon of sugar, a teaspoon of cinnamon and granola or ice cream can be added as well if chosen to do so. First, chop up the apple into bite-sized pieces before placing them in a microwave-safe bowl or mug. Top the apples with the diced butter. Don’t worry if the bowl or mug is really full, because the apples will shrink quite a bit. Then, add the cinnamon and sugar and also feel free to use the sweetener of your choice, like maple syrup, honey, nectar, etc. Microwave for approximately two minutes. Once cooked, it can either be served immediately after stirring the mixture, or granola or ice cream can be added to the apples.

Finding quick and easy recipes can be hard to come by, especially when the time for cramming begins. So, hopefully at least one of these recipes is a great way to help enjoy food while also getting the time of studying done at an orderly pace.