Dining hacks to improve dorm cooking

An empty wine bottle makes for a good substitute rolling pin, a better use than dorm window decor.

We all know it — cooking in college can be a pain. With limited time, money and kitchen space, it is no wonder many students graduate without cooking anything more complicated than ramen noodles. Luckily, the Internet has come to the rescue with thousands of

kitchen hacks promising to provide stress-free ways to cook anything in a dorm kitchen. While some of these ideas are rather unconventional, others actually provide good advice. Here are some of the best
kitchen hacks we have found.

1. Use your microwave for more than popcorn. The microwave is a great way to save time while cooking. If you microwave a potato for about 10 minutes before baking, it will only take half an hour in a 400-degree oven, so you can have a perfectly baked potato in half the time.

2. Because most college kitchens lack basic cooking equipment, you have to get creative with your cooking tools. A smooth-sided bottle, such as a wine bottle, can be used as a rolling pin, and tongs can be used to juice citrus in a pinch.

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3. Do not waste money by throwing out spoiled groceries. Bananas will last longer if you separate them and wrap the stems in plastic wrap. Onions and potatoes last longer if you keep them apart, as the onions will make the potatoes rot more quickly.

4.  If you have a recipe that calls for room-temperature butter and yours is cold, all is not lost. Just cut the butter into small pieces, place them in a small bowl and then microwave them in five-second bursts, stirring after each one. It should be soft in about 30 seconds.

5. Making brownies is always a good idea, but having to chip them out of the bottom of the pan can be a hassle. Save your pan, and your brownies, with a cheap investment — a roll of parchment paper. Cut two pieces and lay them crosswise in the pan before you add the batter. Using this method, you can abandon your can of cooking spray forever.

6. The right way to reheat
pizza is not the microwave, oven or even the toaster — your best bet is actually a skillet. Place your pizza in a cold pan and heat it on medium until the crust is crisp. Add a teaspoon of water and cover until the cheese is melted.

7. Keep your cutting boards and bowls from slipping all over the counter while you are cooking by wetting a paper towel, folding it into quarters and placing it under the board or bowl.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Mar. 14th print edition. Email Kendall at [email protected]

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