Photo courtesy of Michael Fletcher

With the college lifestyle usually lending itself to microwave meals and packaged food, sometimes dining can seem mundane and repetitive. Often, students come across random food items in their refrigerators and pantries, but immediately throw them out or leave the items to collect dust because they cannot find a way to use the food for meals. In order to prevent this major tragedy from occurring on a regular basis, these dorm room food recipes can help students save money by finding a place for those stubborn random food items.

Only requiring sugar cookie dough, cream cheese and fresh fruit, a delicious dessert pizza offers a chance for students to use all that random fruit they decided to buy on their spur-of-the-moment health kick.

By using leftover cookie dough, students can use the dough as a nice base. Flatten the cookie dough, stick the dough in the oven and then top with a layer of cream cheese, if desired, and fresh fruit. Besides, that fresh fruit probably would not have been eaten anyway.

Another easy meal that incorporates random food is the classic staple, pasta. Put that half-eaten box of noodles to good use by making a vegetable spaghetti or lemon garlic penne pasta meal. Cook the noodles and add those random veggies to create a tasty dish. Add a dash of garlic and salt to make the meal more flavorful.

Not an overly ambitious meal, the traditional omelette offers students a chance to include those never used foods. Add some broccoli, tomatoes, leftover lunch meat, cheeses and other random vegetables to create a unique omelette masterpiece. Do not forget to squeeze on that random Taco Bell hot sauce packet that is collecting dust in the corner. Remember that the worst thing that can happen is the failed omelette turns into scrambled eggs.

Students should also remember that they can always resort to the lunchtime favorite, the sandwich. To add flavor to the sandwich do not forget to add that leftover salad dressing (honey mustard or ranch is preferable) or spread on some pesto or hummus. After all, sandwiches can still taste good even with the most random mixture of ingredients.

Never forget that a dessert sandwich can also make for an easy, pick-me-up meal. Just get two pieces of bread, pick a nice spread, and scatter on some leftover ingredients to make for a delicious meal. A longtime favorite is the peanut butter sandwich. Add some bananas, marshmallows, chocolate chips, and spread on some peanut butter on two slices of sandwich bread to create a protein-filled, sweet treat.

Remember all those leftover foods can also come together in a nice minestrone-esque soup as well. Just add some veggies (tomatoes, carrots, celery, and onions are favorites) to a pot of heated olive oil. Then add a couple cups of chicken broth bringing the creation to a boil. Stir in some beans and noodles and let simmer for around 10 minutes. Top the soup with some salt or cheese for more flavor.

Hopefully these recipes help students find a place for those never-used ingredients.