Foodies of Augustana share their easy meal hacks

One way to end a long week of papers, exams and quizzes is with a crunchy sweet pepper topped with smooth cream cheese and savory seasoning while Netflix’s “Bly Manor” plays. 

While college may mean the end of home-cooked meals, many students have found ways to bring comfort food and indulgence to life in the dorms.

Augustana provides dining services in the campus cafeteria, but some schedules don’t allow students to use this for every meal. Sophomore early childcare major Anna Halseth only goes to the dining hall every Tuesday and Thursday. She gets most of her meals from the Sub Connection and eats them in the comfort of her Granskou Hall dorm room. 

Sophomore exercise science and fitness management major Julia Hopes also spends at least one meal a day in her Stavig Hall dorm room due to cafeteria hour limitations. 

“Being a full-time student and a part time employee, I really wish Augustana offered extended meal times outside the sub shop,” Hopes said. 

With many students joining Halseth and Hopes in dining in their rooms, they have found innovative ways to make in-room dining more convenient and enjoyable.

Sophomore psychology majors Ashley Seitz and Myah Mollenhoff are roommates living in Granskou Hall. The cafeteria’s repetition led them to want many meals in their room. 

“It doesn’t become good anymore when you have it everyday,” Seitz said. 

They started by thinking of ways to save money and limit waste. 

“We were going through a lot of popcorn bags in general,” Mollenhoff said. “We didn’t want to keep wasting so much.” 

Their solution was to mix premade bags of cheddar popcorn with salty microwavable Pop Secret and sprinkle any kind of M&M on top. “It’s the perfect movie snack,” Mollenhoff said. 

The roommates’ second hack is a quick route to creamy macaroni. Most people aren’t strangers to stove top mac and cheese. Living in a dorm, with the nearest kitchen in the basement, can be a deterrent from cooking. 

Mollenhoff and Seitz found Easy Mac can be a close contender to its stove top counterpart. 

“If you fill it up just above the noodles, you never have to wait because it thickens right away,” Mollenhoff said. “If you add a little bit of butter to it, it tastes just like out of the box.”

Many college students struggle to eat healthy or accomodate diets while living in dorms. Seitz has found a solution to both with MorningStar Farms vegetarian corn dogs. 

“They taste like regular corn dogs, and they look like regular corn dogs,” Seitz said. These can also be made in a short few minutes in the microwave. 

Hopes’s dorm food essentials are pizza rolls and mac and cheese. Her first dorm room hack is a microwave rapid macaroni maker advertised for dorm convenience. It cooks the mac and cheese in five minutes, which complements her busy lifestyle.

Hopes’s second dorm hack involves microwaving premade cookie dough for two minutes. “They’re so good and soft,” Hopes said. “It even leaves the freshly baked cookie smell in your room.” 

Food often brings people together. 

“Having dinner with my friends in the dining hall or snacking with them in my room is something I look forward to,” Hopes said. “Recently, we made the TikTok peppers. All you need is a sweet pepper, cream cheese and Everything Bagel seasoning. It has a perfect mixture of crunchy and creamy.” 

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