Microwavable recipes spice up dormlife at USC

College is full of new experiences and, for some students, that includes cooking. Students stuck in dorms might think they are limited to Everybody’s Kitchen and Carl’s Jr., but plenty of tasty, healthy meals can be made from the comfort of every student’s microwave —  without the help of Lean Cuisine or Stouffer’s.

Those who can’t boil water, much less in a microwave, read on for a crash course in becoming a dorm room top chef.


Curry in a Mega Hurry

Adapted from The Food Network.


• 2 chicken breasts or 4 chicken thighs, cut into large cubes (replace with garbanzo beans for a veggie option, but cut cooking time by 3/4)

• 1 1/2 tablespoons butter or cooking oil (extra virgin coconut is even better)

• 1 tablespoon curry paste

• 1/4 bunch of cilantro

• 1/2 medium onion, sliced

• Salt and pepper (to taste)

• 2 tablespoons chicken broth or water with powdered chicken flavor

• 1/4 teaspoon curry powder (optional)

• 1 can coconut milk (optional for a wetter curry)

• 1 Ziploc steam bag (optional)

Add curry paste and butter /oil to a large bowl or steamer bag. Microwave for 30 seconds, until the paste and oil have melted.

Add all ingredients except for cilantro and optional coconut milk. If using a bowl, cover in Saran wrap. Cook on medium for eight minutes or on high for six. Medium is better but not all microwaves have that option.

If using a bowl, add coconut milk (optional) and cilantro. If using a bag and coconut milk, remove chicken from the bag and place in a large bowl with the coconut milk and cilantro.

Microwave another two to four minutes. Check chicken to be sure it’s no longer pink (salmonella is not a fun reason for missing class).

Let set for two minutes before taking out. Serve over rice with some veggies.

Serves two.

Italian Egg Scramble


• 2 eggs or 1/2 cup liquid eggs (like Reddi Whites)

• 3 pepperonis or 1 pre-cooked Italian sausage

• Pinch each of basil, oregano and thyme, or an Italian-blend spice mix

• Salt and pepper (to taste)

• 2 tablespoons pasta sauce

• A handful of your favorite veggies, such as red bell peppers, onion, broccoli or spinach

• 2-3 teaspoons cheese, preferably parmesan


Take a coffee mug or bowl and spray with non-stick cooking spray, or grease with some melted butter or cooking oil.

Add all ingredients except for the pasta sauce and parmesan. Microwave for 45 seconds.

Remove and stir. Microwave for another 45 seconds.

Remove and scoop out onto a plate. Break up with a spoon if desired, and top with sauce and cheese.

Serves one.

Blitzed Bibimbap


• 1 serving of microwave rice

• Handful of each of the following (it’s OK if you do not have all of them): matchstick carrots, spinach, shitake mushrooms, bean sprouts

• 2-3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

• 1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)

• Soy sauce (to taste)

• 1 soft-boiled egg or poached egg

• A dollop of gochujang  (a spicy and sweet Korean chili paste found in Asian grocery stores)


If you have a microwave egg cooker, cook egg. If not, hold off on the egg.

Prepare rice according to instructions on package. Place a serving in a good-sized bowl. Cover to keep warm.

If you prefer cooked vegetables, add veggies to a bowl drizzled with sesame oil. Microwave for about 45 seconds. Skip this step if you prefer raw vegetables.

If not using an egg cooker, take a glass and fill with water. Add a little vinegar and a pinch of salt. Crack open and add the egg, careful not to break the yoke. Gently pierce the yoke (don’t tear) with the tine of a fork. Microwave one minute. Immediately remove and place on some paper towels to dry.

Add vegetables to the rice bowl, drizzle with any remaining sesame oil and add soy sauce and gochujang to taste. Add egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Dig in with a spoon.

Serves one.