ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Dorm Gourmet: 3 Quick and Easy Breakfasts for the College Student on the Go

Updated on March 23, 2012

You’ve heard it since you were a kid, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So why do you keep skipping it? If you crammed or just hung out with friends past a decent bedtime, you probably found yourself too tired to cope with the chaos of the cafeteria. Besides, do you really want to make another uncombed, unshowered appearance there? Nonetheless, a person needs to eat. Do yourself a favor, and take the time to set up a basic kitchen, here’s how:

How to Set Up a Basic Dorm Kitchen for about $100

You may have only been thinking about beer when you got your mini-fridge, but you can store food in it too. If you don’t have a dorm or mini refrigerator, your options will be severely restricted. It’s worth the $150 or so. A dozen or so stops at Perkins, Denny’s, Baker’s Square or the bagel shop will cost you nearly the same, not to mention, you still have to get dressed and go there.

The basic supplies you’ll need are:

  1. A rice cooker, roughly $25. You’ll need a rice cooker. Yes, I am still talking about breakfast. Twenty years ago, rice cookers were still novel in this country, now they’re almost as common as toasters, but a rice cooker is much more versatile. There are plenty of rice cookers under $30. There are plenty of rice cookers that cost more than $100. Why the discrepancy? Essentially, rice cookers come in two varieties. The inexpensive models have only two settings, cook and warm. Rice is cooked by water absorption. These simpler models use a basic thermostat to automatically heat the water until the water is completely absorbed. When the temperature starts going above the boiling point, it switches down to warm. The more expensive, more complex models use a system of fuzzy logic to achieve other goals, like cooking the rice to a porridge consistency, making sushi rice, brown rice or using your rice cooker for soups. With a little ingenuity you can accomplish all of this with an inexpensive rice cooker.
  2. A medium-sized cutting board, $10-20. When shopping for cutting boards consider the size of your knife and the things you expect to cut on it. Obviously, if you know you’ll be chopping carrots, celery or slicing watermelons, don’t buy a cutting board only big enough for mincing garlic. I strongly recommend cutting boards with a trench or channel around the edge to capture meat or fruit juices.
  3. An eight inch chef’s knife, $15-20. A cook’s or chef’s knife is the most useful tool in the kitchen. A decent quality knife doesn’t need to be expensive, but a cheap knife is no bargain. A good knife should have the metal of the blade extend into the handle without gaps or places for dirt or food particles to get trapped. The blade should be riveted into the handle. Don’t buy a knife that is serrated (scalloped is okay) or promises to be always sharp.
  4. A microwaveable, dishwasher-safe two or four cup measuring cup, $10-15. You’ll find this can double as microwave cookware or mixing bowl in a pinch.
  5. A box grater or a single-sided grated with more than one gauge of holes, $5-10
  6. A vegetable peeler, <$5
  7. A roll of plastic cling wrap, a roll of aluminum foil, and a box of zip-type plastic bags, <$10
  8. A set of nested, microwaveable bowls, <$10

A handful of kitchen tools will carry you through most tasks at minimal expense.
A handful of kitchen tools will carry you through most tasks at minimal expense. | Source

Getting Started on Cooking

Now that you have a kitchen, you only need about $20 worth of pantry products. I recommend the following:

1. A few pounds of short-grain white rice

2. Chicken boullion cubes

3. Salt and pepper. You can probably think of some places to get this free.

4. Onions, carrots and celery

5. Oatmeal

6. Butter

7. Brown sugar

8. Dried fruit

9. Milk

10. Eggs

11. Fresh ginger

Turn Breakfast into a Treat not a Chore

A hot breakfast is a treat, and assembling it should be fun. Choose foods you really enjoy. I’ve fallen in love with Korean foods, especially the tastes of green onions, Asian chives, garlic, fresh ginger and red pepper flakes. I also love eggs. I was thrilled when I discovered a Korean cooking site with fun videos showing how to prepare some of my favorite dishes, especially a Korean vegetable pancake or yachaejeon. After a year or two of enjoying dozens of her recipes I finally got to meet Maangchi, my Korean cooking mentor in person.

Korean Vegetable Pancake (yachaejeon)

I’ve borrowed this delicious, crunchy, basic recipe from Maangchi, and modified it for rice cooker preparation. The pancake is not the sweet doughy type might find at a Perkins or Denny’s covered with syrup, fruit and powdered sugar. This is a lighter, crispy fried pancake. It is more like hash browns - green onions, carrots and zucchini held together with a thin batter. The original uses Asian chives, but these might be difficult to find for some, so I made this with more green onions and added shredded carrots. You may choose to add or replace according to your own tastes. I get three five-inch pancakes out of this recipe.


1/3 Cup Flour

½ Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Cup Water

¾ Cup of Green Onions, chopped into 1-inch long sections

1/4 Cup of Shredded Zucchini

¼ Cup of Shredded Carrots

Red Pepper Flakes or Cayenne Pepper to taste

1-1/2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

2 Eggs, beaten

Rice Cooker Directions:

  1. Turn the rice cooker onto the “cook” or higher setting and add the oil.
  2. Combine the flour, salt and water in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Combine the vegetables with the batter
  4. When the oil is hot enough to make the batter sizzle, pour a thin layer of the batter into the cooker. The batter should barely cover the bottom, if it is too thick it will be harder to make crispy. Use a spoon, spatula or rubber scrapper to evenly distribute it. Do not cover.
  5. Allow the batter to cook for 8-10 minutes, then pour some of the beaten egg over the top.
  6. When the pancake is firm, flip with a rubber scrapper and/or fork.

Note: Rice cookers are not designed for deep fat frying, your rice cooker may automatically switch to “warm” while cooking. You should be able to override this and return it to “cook”.

Korean style vegetable pancake made in a rice cooker.
Korean style vegetable pancake made in a rice cooker. | Source

Oatmeal & Brown Sugar

When a box of cereal can cost nearly five dollars, oatmeal is a good, frugal choice. Made with milk and brown sugar (add raisins or fruit as you like), this meal isn’t only cheap, it’s simple. You can heat the milk in a microwave or in the rice cooker. Add a pinch of salt and a proportion of roughly twice the milk to oatmeal – less if you like it thicker.

Vegetables, Broth and Rice (congee)

If you like chicken noodle soup, you’ll like this. Set the rice cooker to “cook” and add a teaspoon of butter and some grated fresh ginger. When the butter is melted, sauté the ginger until it is fragrant. Combine chopped carrots, a green onion, and a quarter cube of chicken boullion with a third of a cup of short-grain rice (sticky rice works best) and a cup of water. Stir the mixture to help dissolve the boullion cube, and allow the rice to boil for several minutes. The rice will thicken, creating a comforting rice porridge (known as congee). Crack an egg over the top to make a heartier dish.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Brupie profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      DotheMath & laurel536, thanks for the feedback. I'm not living in the dorms any more either, but when I run across a simple, frugal dish I like to share the wealth.

    • profile image


      8 years ago from North Carolina, United States

      Awesome hub! I really want to try that recipe for the Korean pancake-- but first I need to buy a rice cooker for my dorm room.

    • DoTheMath profile image


      9 years ago

      Oh my goodness, what a great hub idea! Man, I must say I'm glad those dorm days are behind me. Just wish I would have thought of having a rice cooker while I was there. Great ideas, I'm impressed.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)