College cooking: What I’ve learned in the dorm kitchen

Instant Pot
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Cooking can take an incredible amount of time. And, as college students, we all have jam-packed schedules and can be lazy at times, so finding the time to cook becomes a lot more difficult. As a busy individual myself, I’m always looking to cut time on my meal preparation. Throughout my two years of college, I have put together some awesome tips for any fellow Bears out there who are looking for some kitchen hacks.

1. You can cook broccoli in the microwave.

If you feel like you’re lacking fiber in your diet, you can fix this problem with this simple hack! All you need to do is wash some broccoli with water and place it in a microwave safe bowl. Put some kind of lid over the bowl, and microwave for one minute. The lid is very important, as without it the broccoli will not properly cook. So easy!

2. You can cook pasta in the rice cooker.

In freshman year, the only cooking tool I owned was a rice cooker. Thus, using advanced reasoning, I decided surely, since water needed to boil for rice to cook, the water in the rice cooker would be hot enough to cook dry pasta. And I was right! Simply fill the rice cooker with a lot of water, and turn it on until the water boils. Closing the lid will speed up the process. Once the water is boiling, fit the dry pasta in there and cook for as long as the package instructs.

3. You can cook thin slices of beef in the rice cooker when rice is almost done to make beef and rice.

You can easily cook a one-pot rice and beef dinner with just the rice cooker. Start cooking your rice as you normally would, and when your it’s almost done, say 15 minutes in, throw in a bunch of thin slices of beef and close the lid. Once the rice is done, both your rice and beef will be cooked and you’ll have a full meal! 

4. You can make temporary containers with plastic cups and plastic wrap.

Chances are good that as a college student, you have some plastic cups lying around. And chances are also good that your kitchen lacks some basic utilities such as plastic containers. Lucky for you, leftover food can be stored in a red solo cup and covered with plastic wrap to retain its freshness. I have successfully done this with leftover egg whites and whatnot.

I hope this advice is helpful! I’m sure that other Berkeley students have come up with some creative tips and tricks as they navigate the college kitchen — but hopefully nothing as gross as tip #4.

Contact Kristel Fung at [email protected].