Beep beep beep! Those three simple beeps mean one joyous thing- food is ready. From popcorn to macaroni and cheese to baked potatoes, the microwave allows us to have warm comfort food on even the coldest of days. We broke college students end up being pretty thankful for microwaves due to our hectic schedules during the school year.

To save time and money, you can pretend you’re back in the 50’s where TV dinners were the way to go. If you feel like getting a bit more creative, try some of the ideas below.

Deconstructed tacos

With chips, precooked beef, shredded cheese, lettuce, and salsa, you can make a deconstructed taco. I recommend warming up your beef and cheese first, adding crushed up chips next, then putting the lettuce and salsa on to avoid soggy lettuce and chips. You can mix the ingredients together afterwards to get an even consistency in each bite. An added bonus: if you don’t have any clean utensils at the moment, you can eat the meal by using chips to scoop it into your mouth.

Quesadillas

All you need for this one is shredded cheese, hot sauce, spinach, and tortillas.

Steamed vegetables

Your parents would probably be very proud if you kept up your consumption of greens. Most grocery stores have steamer bags filled with vegetables. All you have to do for these is throw the bag in the microwave (paying attention to which side is supposed to stay up) and microwave the bag for as long as the instructions ask. 

Poor man’s pizza

You can buy garlic bread at most grocery stores and microwave that to be crispy first. You can also use normal bread or tortillas for the crust. Then add marinara sauce, cheese, and toppings next. There are also pizza rolls and bagel bites if you want closer to the real deal. Alternatively, even better, ordering a pizza one night and reheating the leftovers.

Soup

Especially in those colder months, soup will become a fan favorite for many. By adding the contents of a can of soup and a can of water for select soups to a large bowl, you can have your favorite soup ready in less than five minutes. An added bonus: if you’re in a rush, you can pour some soup into a thermos and drink it on the way to class.

If you want to get more adventurous, try looking into a crockpot. Just don’t burn down your dorm room. Always remember to use precaution when using your microwave.

Also, check out the Sycamore Pantry in the Student Recreation Center Suite 131 if you are in need of free and healthy food. Students can take over a dozen items per week by simply bringing their valid student ID.