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5 Dorm-Friendly Recipes from Gillian Espinosa, Star of MTV’s ‘House of Food’


Want some healthy recipes you can make in your dorm? Check out Gillian Espinosa’s ideas!  Gillian is one of the seven cast members on MTV’s new series House of Food, where untrained chefs compete for the culinary apprenticeship of a lifetime. Tune into House of Food on Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT, and read below to see Gillian’s recommendations for how you can cook awesome and delicious food in your own dorm room!

Her Campus: What is the premise behind House of Food?

Gillian Espinosa: House of Food is an MTV food reality show designed around lessons, where each week, renowned chefs teach six other contestants and me different cooking techniques, and we learn the tricks of the trade. There are also challenges every week to test our abilities. We’re all competing for a culinary apprenticeship to get our careers going. The best part is that no one gets eliminated, so you don’t have to worry about your favorite contestant going home.

HC: How did you find your love for cooking?

GE: I’ve been cooking for about 10 years now. My grandmother was a big cook, so she sort of got me into it, but I really got my passion for cooking in high school when I’d bake nonstop. My friends and family starting referring to me as “the pastry girl!”

HC: What’s it like watching the show and seeing yourself on TV?

GE: It’s a little weird, because every time I watch, I go, “Is that really me?” It’s definitely cool and fun to watch because I’ve already been there and done [the show], but it’s still very exciting. I think “surreal” is the best word to describe it, because it’s just so weird to see my face up there.

HC: What’s the best part about being on the show?

GE: I think the best part of being on the show is showing people a different side to reality TV. I know there’s going to be a lot of drama and everything, but I feel like I can really show people that you can still be grounded and be yourself and be a good person without having to get into the middle of it all. You just stick to your passion!

HC: Is there anything in particular that viewers can look forward to during the season?

GE: I think everyone can look forward to good food! There’s going to be drama, of course, but food is really the soul of it. So even the viewers get to learn what we learn because they’ll be there when we learn and they’ll be there for us practicing and they’ll be there for the challenges. It’s almost like learning yourself. So even home cooks can pick up a few tips from watching the show.

HC: Any tips for college women wanting to cook at school?

GE: I would definitely do easy recipes. I know a lot of people at college who can’t do much because they’re in dorms and it’s a tight space, so it’s hard to cook. For example, soups are super easy, as are different variations of oatmeal. You could be so creative with a sandwich, and think about how easy that is to make! Keep in mind to make stuff that can last you all week, because you don’t want to have to cook every single night in your dorm since that’s difficult. So make big meals earlier in the week or do something different.


Check out Gillian’s dorm recipe ideas below!


S'mores Oatmeal

This recipe is easy and healthy, and it will take care of your sweet tooth for the day!


  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon mini dark chocolate chips
  • 1 jumbo marshmallow (cut up)
  • 1/4 graham cracker
  • Utensils: Bowl, spoon, knife


  • Microwave oats and water in a bowl for one minute (or until it reaches the consistency you like). Add cinnamon and combine.
  • Top off with chocolate chips, marshmallow and graham cracker.





  • 1 cooked chicken breast, shredded (store-bought rotisserie chickens are perfect and can give you meals for a few days!)
  • 3 pieces cooked bacon
  • 2 slices tomato
  • 1/4 cup any lettuce you like
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon mayo
  • 2 slices wheat bread
  • Utensils: Knife, plate, spoon


  • Mix mayo and ketchup together and put on bread, about a tablespoon per slice.
  • Add lettuce, chicken, tomato and bacon.


Caprese Salad


  • 1 tomato
  • 1 ball mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons basil (thinly sliced)
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Utensils: Spoon, bowl, knife


  • Cut tomato and mozzarella into square chunks and mix with basil.
  • Toss in balsamic and olive oil. It’s heaven!



Spaghetti Squash Pasta


  • 2 cups spaghetti squash
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 dash nutmeg
  • 1/2 a yellow onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cooked chicken
  • 1/2 of a lemon
  • Utensils: Microwave, pot, stove or hot pad, knife, whisk

Note: You could always buy Alfredo sauce at the store as well as the chicken, but making it yourself is so much better!


  • Heat spaghetti squash until tender (take out seeds beforehand). Use a fork to scrape out the squash; it should come out looking like pasta.
  • For the sauce, mix flour and butter until it makes a thick sauce (roux) then add cream, stirring until it's well combined.
  • Add nutmeg, onion, bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste. Stir for about 10 minutes.
  • Once it begins to get thick (it should coat the back of your spoon, so when you wipe your finger through it, it should hold its line), add the Parmesan and shredded chicken.
  • Top it off with a squirt of lemon, and it's perfection!



Pumpkin Pie in a Mug


  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/4 cup egg whites (add more if you like a thicker consistency)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Utensils: Coffee mug, bowl, spoon


  • Mix all ingredients together and microwave in a coffee mug for two minutes or until thoroughly cooked.
  • Add Greek yogurt, cinnamon, nutmeg and nuts for a delicious yet healthy topping!

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