College Eats: Ramen Upgrades, Enchilada Recipe for the Dorm, and More!

By: Georgia Schumacher Filed under: Culinary

September 15, 2015

Quick, easy, unhealthy. While that might be how most students describe the food eaten in their college dorms or apartments, we want to help you break free from the norm and prepare food that’s more exciting, fresh, and flavorful—and that’s still quick and easy, of course.

If you’re tired of traditional college fare and looking for a change, we have the tips you need to add more variety to your daily meals, using only the basic kitchen tools you have on hand.

Intro to College Cooking: Updating the Old
Chef Brad Harmon, CEC, a culinary instructor from The Art Institute of Austin, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston, believes that trying familiar foods with new ingredients is the best way for students to begin experimenting. “The first place that I would start is taking preexisting meals and doctoring them up with proteins, vegetables, fruits, and condiments,” he says.

What college staple does he suggest? Ramen, of course! “For a couple of dollars, you can jazz it up and pack it with lean proteins or an egg, vegetables, condiments like furikake (a dry sprinkle of Asian spices), or any type of nut, spices, or hot sauce. A boring ramen can be turned into a fantastic meal with just a small amount of effort,” he says.

For vegetables, Chef Harmon proposes adding broccoli, carrots, bok choy, spinach, green onions, or snow peas—many of which you can cook in a microwave. In fact, Chef Harmon adds that many frozen meals are a great way to try international cuisines and can be enhanced with these vegetable or other toppings like cheeses, proteins, or seasonings.

For improving other meals and snacks, he says, add fruit and nuts to your plain yogurt or morning cereal and replace dairy milk with coconut, almond, or soy milk.

Advanced College Eating: In with the New
For those of you ready to explore beyond frozen or boxed foods, you’ll find a whole world of accessible and easy raw or microwave recipes to try. From burrito bowls to green salads to mug cakes to enchiladas, don’t be limited by your equipment or space! Get started with a recipe from our very own Chef David Holtzman and then explore our list of more ideas below!

Super Easy Microwaved Green Chicken Enchilada Stack
Recipe from Chef David Holztman, Culinary Instructor at The Art Institute of Austin
Makes 2 servings.


  • 1 1/3 cups bottled salsa verde
  • 1/3 cup sour cream


  • 6 store-bought corn tortillas (6-inch)
  • 1 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • ½ cup shredded white melting cheese such as Meunster, Monterrey Jack, White Cheddar, or Mozzarella


  • ¼ cup shredded white melting cheese such as Meunster, Monterrey Jack, White Cheddar, or Mozzarella
  • ¼ cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro


  1. Make the sauce by mixing your green sauce and sour cream, whisking well to fully combine. 
  2. Spoon a tablespoon of the sauce in the center of 2 microwave safe plates. 
  3. Place a tortilla on top of the sauce. 
  4. Place ¼ cup of chicken on top of each tortilla, spreading it around from edge to edge.
  5. Top the chicken with 2 tablespoons shredded cheese and 2 tablespoons of sauce, spreading from edge to edge.
  6. Top with another tortilla and repeat the process. 
  7. Top each enchilada with last two tortillas, cover with the remaining sauce, ensuring that the sauce covers the entire top. Sprinkle the remaining cheese (under “toppings” above).
  8. Place each plate in the microwave on 50% power for 3 minutes.
  9. Finish in the microwave on 100% power until bubbly, about 1 ½ minutes more.
  10. Sprinkle with onion and cilantro.

More Ideas for Main Meals & Sweet Treats

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By: Georgia Schumacher Filed under: Culinary

September 15, 2015

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