It's back-to-school season, and college students might be worried about what to whip up for dinner in their dorms. Missing mom's home cooking may be the least of their problem—it can be difficult to feed yourself when you have no real kitchen, appliances, extra money, or even groceries. Talk about a dire food situation!
Luckily, celebrity chef Justin Warner—winner of Food Network Star's Season 8—knows how to hack dorm room cooking in a very unique way. (Plus, he notes, these secrets work great in hotel rooms while traveling, too ... in case you've since upgraded from your dorm to an apartment or house and have a job where you travel or take vacations.)
Here are a four of Justin's top tips and tricks for dorm rook cooking:
1.) Iron and Blowdry Your Pizza
If you nail this, you're golden. Even without a microwave, an oven, or a hot plate, you can use a hairdryer and an iron to reheat pizza. Hold the iron up and set it on the silk setting to create a crisp crust—none of the soggy, limp second-day crust you'll get in the microwave. Then use the hairdryer to blast the top, creating a convection oven effect to reheat the cheese and prevent it from getting greasy.
2.) Flavor Ramen with Butter
What makes the $12 bowl of ramen you get at your local ramanya so delicious is the use of ingredients like pork bones to create a fatty, delicious broth. To step up the flavor power of package ramen, mix in butter. That'll step up the "chicken packet" flavor to actual chicken flavor. Get fats from real sources, like butter.
3.) Seek Creative Cooler Options
Your bathtub or sink, in a dorm or hotel room, is a go-to cooler—just fill it with ice. Trash cans make good impromptu ice buckets as well.
4.) Class Up Your Cereal
Cereal is delicious, but cocoa puff carbonara is a step up. Chocolate cereal goes suprisingly well with bacon and egg—add the noodles (not the flavor packet) from ramen and you have a uniquely satisfying dinner.
Listen to the whole Clever Cookstr interview with Justin for more on how he succesfully cooks on camera, his approach to flavor theory, and his upcoming book, The Laws of Cooking... and How to Break Them, which comes out on Oct. 13, 2015. The book is available for preorder on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BAM, Apple, and Indiebound.