Posted on February 1, 2016

Microwave Chef: 3 Easy Meals That Don’t Need A Mug


The struggle to eat good food is so real for college students, especially those of us in dorm rooms. Most of us have limited cooking knowledge and literally NO time to cook, even with the right know-how. We’ve all seen about a billion and one recipes for mug cakes or mug cookies or mug muffins (you get the point), but raise your hand if you actually own self-rising flour? No one? Exactly.

Besides, none of these recipes are actually substantial enough to serve as a meal—let alone enough to fuel your 20-minute power walk across campus from Highland Garage to the Chemistry Building. Never fear; we’ve created some super fast and easy options for those of you in this exact situation. All you need is a microwave, a fridge and basic ingredients. 

Breakfast: Oatmeal Remix

Let’s start with the most important meal of the day, shall we? Since every other meal of the day tends to be savory, it’s nice to have something sweet in the morning. Yes, oatmeal is a staple, and I’m sure you all know how to make it—yawn. But it’s a super affordable and healthy option that has the potential to be so much more enjoyable!

This coffee cake oatmeal recipe is the best of both worlds and takes about two seconds of extra effort.


  • 1/4 tsp. instant coffee
  • 2 tbsp. refrigerated butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 to 4 tbsp. brown sugar
  • Milk or water to taste (a 1/2 cup to 1 cup works, but it depends on what consistency you like your oatmeal to be)
  • Instant oatmeal

Mix the instant coffee into your hot milk or water before pouring it over your oats. Microwave as instructed. While you wait on it to cook, mix together the refrigerated butter, flour and brown sugar into a crumbly consistency. Once the oatmeal is cooked, sprinkle your crumb topping on top of it and pop it back in the microwave for about 30 seconds. You’re done!

Lunch: Simple Macaroni and Cheese (That isn’t easy mac, either)

This one’s for all you mac and cheese lovers out there. This may not be the healthiest option, but it sure is good!


  • 1/3 cup whole grain macaroni
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup water
  • Your favorite type of shredded cheese
  • Splash of milk

Combine the macaroni and water in a microwave-safe bowl. There should be enough water to cover the noodles completely. If not, add as much as needed. Microwave for six minutes, stirring periodically.

Next, add your choice of shredded cheese. There’s no specific amount—just pour it in there until you feel your cheese needs are satisfied. Pop the bowl back in the microwave for another 30-45 seconds. Lastly, pour a splash of milk in (for extra creaminess) and stir. If you want to mix it up a bit, try tossing in some small pieces of broccoli or green peppers while you cook the pasta.

Dinner: Garlic Shrimp/Prawns over Rice

Accidentally told your new flame you’d cook dinner tonight, but totally forgot? Or maybe you really just want to feel like you’re not as broke as you are? This recipe is a bit more elegant than the others, but just as easy. This recipe serves two, but if you’re flying solo it’s enough for leftovers. 


  • 1/2 lb. of pre-cooked prawns or shrimp**
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs. onion powder
  • A sprinkle of Tabasco sauce or chili powder
  • 1 tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

It may sound like a lot, but it’s actually only seven ingredients. Now for the hard (and by hard, we mean easy) part. Put the shrimp/prawns in any microwave safe dish. Mix all of the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl. Pour the mixture over your seafood and microwave for five minutes. To add some extra substance, pick up any microwavable rice and follow the directions. Pour prawns over rice. Wa-lah! A basic yet tasty dinner!

**For an allergy-friendly alternative, pre-cooked chicken works just as well. Tyson offers frozen grilled chicken breast by the bag.

Photo by: Abby Pfaff

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