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Top 5 Foods to Make in the Microwave: What I Learned in College

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For the first two years of college I lived in the dorms. As nice as it was to be on campus and not have to worry about battling for a parking space every single day, I did not have the opportunity to cook. Yes, we had a "kitchen" in the residence halls, but let's face it, I wasn't going to haul all of my pots, pans and ingredients to the kitchen every night for dinner.

So, the microwave became my new best friend. Like everyone else, I mastered making Lean Cuisines, Hot Pockets and the well-known Ramen noodles in the microwave, but that just wasn't enough. Thank goodness I was blessed with a freshman-year roommate who shared my love for food.

Every once in a while, after the dining halls and our microwaved meals became boring and bland, we would attempt to make certain things in the microwave to just see how it came out. Some worked and some didn't, but here are the top five foods we made in the microwave that made our college dorm experience more exciting.

5. Scrambled Eggs

I love scrambled eggs. Seriously. With a sprinkling of salt, cracked black pepper and of course shredded Cheddar cheese, scrambled eggs can bring the same amount of comfort that you get from biting into a piece of creamy chocolate. Without a stove, I didn't get to enjoy scrambled eggs for the longest time, but with a little research, I discovered that you in fact can make eggs in a microwave. Simply pour the eggs into a mug, whisk them together to beat the yolks and microwave for about 30 seconds. Sometimes the eggs don't cook as quickly, but they will puff up to be light and fluffy.

Usually, I half-microwave them, add some cheese, salt and pepper, then stick the mug back in the microwave so they can finish cooking, but the end result is so much better than just microwaving them plain.

4. Frozen Banana Popsicles

Okay, yes these are frozen, but my roommate and I used the microwave to make these frozen treats so much sweeter. After placing a popsicle stick into the bananas, we melted chocolate in the microwave (nutella would work as well), then dunked the bananas into the chocolate, coated them with crushed peanuts or graham crackers, and stuck them in the freezer. You can also microwave peanut butter to make it extra silky and smooth, then coat the bananas in chocolate and peanut butter. Now do you see where the freshman 15 comes from?

3. Cookie Dough

I got this idea from one of my guy friends. Of course, college guys like to microwave anything ... sometimes setting off the fire alarm in the middle of the night. But, their idea made me a happy camper. Break 'n' bake cookie dough is a girl's best friend in college. I always have some on hand just in case I need to make something last minute, or if I want a quick snack, like this microwaved chocolate chip cookie.

Take a square of cookie dough and press it down to be in a flat circle. Place on a microwavable plate or in a microwavable cup, and nuke for approximately 20-30 seconds. Seriously, this is all about timing because you want to bake the cookie long enough so it is completely cooked, but you don't want it to become a piece of cement. This took a few tries, but depending on the strength of your microwave, add more or take off a few seconds. But for real, this will change your life.

2. Frozen Waffles

I don't know if this pertains to my school, or every school, but for safety reasons we were not allowed to have toasters in the dorm rooms. Because I am such a rule follower, I did not have a toaster. Fortunately, I love frozen waffles so much, I decided to see if I could make them in the microwave and still get the crispy, "toasted" effect that the waffles would get in a toaster.

The answer to that question is yes. Just nuke your waffles on a paper plate for about 30 seconds. Check them intermittently to see if they are starting to crisp up. So, use your judgement on how much more time they need.

To add a little bit of extra goodies to your waffles, place several chocolate chips in the grooves of each waffle when you microwave them. Chocolate chip waffles are a delicious treat.

1. S'mores

Sure, it's a classic dessert and isn't really that "special" of a treat. But, put yourself in the shoes of a college student who lives off of Ramen, pizza and coffee. Discovering that you can make a s'more in the microwave is the best thing ever. It all started when my friends and I attempted to see how much a marshmallow can expand in the microwave before it explodes. After eating a bag of marshmallows and cleaning our microwave of sticky, melted marshmallows, we realized that we should probably try to make a s'more.

We got our graham crackers ready with chocolate squares on each side, then slightly microwaved our marshmallows until puffy, then squished them in between each graham cracker to enjoy our homemade s'mores. Seriously if you love campfire food, but don't have access to a fire pit, make a s'more in your microwave. Just be careful how long you leave the marshmallow in the microwave. It's fun until it explodes.

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