By Will Li
Microwaves have been a source of fear for me since the time I almost started a fire as a six-year-old. I accidentally added an extra minute to my microwave popcorn and didn’t notice any issues until I heard the fire alarm wailing. As I stumbled down the stairs, an apocalyptic, gold-grey haze emerged from the microwave as if it had exploded.
Fortunately, my mom was at home. She turned on the kitchen vent and chucked the popcorn before grounding me for an eternity of two weeks. We got a new microwave, and I’ve always made sure to double check the timer.
Ten years later as a high school junior, I feel I have finally conquered my fear of this ubiquitous gadget. That’s a relief, since microwaves are staples in college, whether for heating up ramen noodles, Eggo waffles or takeout burritos. But the same staples of sustenance must become boring at some point. Ergo, here are five easy and fun microwave treats!
Egg Fried Rice
Here are the ingredients for this savory recipe:
- Eggs (two to three eggs per palm-sized bowl of rice)
You can microwave the ingredients separately until the rice is warm and the eggs are cooked, and mix the eggs with the rice, but I would recommend cooking everything together to minimize the number of bowls that will need cleaning. Just break the eggs on the rice and microwave until cooked!
I recommend using the empty eggshells to break up the yolks so the eggs thoroughly permeate the rice. Also, remember to grease the bowl so the eggs don’t stick! Finally, feel free to include spices, frozen vegetables or any other add-ons.
This edition is pretty close in texture to the stove-cooked version. Best when packed for food emergencies, this dish can be a lifesaver when you wake up five minutes before class and need a quick bite.
After microwaving, you can flip the bowl and it should plop out like a cake! Also, don’t microwave the eggs for too long or else they’ll explode!
Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese was my favorite childhood delicacy, eaten with family in the coziness of my home. What better way to bring this dish to college than with this convenient adaptation?
Here are the ingredients:
- One cup of water
- One cup of dry macaroni
- Optional spices
- One-half cup of milk
- Up to a cup of cheese
First, stir together the water, macaroni and any optional spices. Microwave until the noodles cook, stir in the milk and cheese and microwave until the cheese melts. If the final product tastes too cheesy, I recommend adding milk to balance the taste and texture.
I would suggest savoring this dish right after making it. It’s an easy, quick meal that makes for a good excuse to take a study break.
If you have ever wanted a whole dessert to yourself after years of sharing with siblings or parents, now is the time. Here are the ingredients:
- One overripe banana
- Two tablespoons of nut butter
- One egg
- A pinch of baking soda
- Optional cinnamon, vanilla and chocolate chips
Whisk everything together in a greased mug and pop it in the microwave for one minute.
This cake is fluffy in texture, tasting like both banana bread and bread pudding. You can experiment with different ingredient ratios, too. For example, more nut butter will create a denser product.
I would recommend this recipe for boring afternoons of work in the dorm when you crave baked goods but don’t want to store leftovers.
Just one note: remember to grease your mug. The worst feeling you can have after baking — or microwaving — is when half of your creation clings to the container.
Anabolic Chocolate Lava Cake
Lava cakes are aesthetically pleasing, delicious and often hard to come by in a college student’s menu. But that’s no longer the case with this recipe. Here are the ingredients:
- A half-cup of water
- One cup of egg whites (or five eggs)
- Five scoops of protein powder
- Five tablespoons of cocoa powder
- Sweetener to taste
Normally, I whisk everything until smooth, but when I have the chance, I like to use a blender! Either way, microwave the mixed batter in a greased bowl for one minute. Keep microwaving in five-second increments until an inch-thick outer ring forms around the liquid center.
Beware, ten extra seconds can turn a soft, fudgy cake into a hard, dry sponge, which is no fun. Made right, this cake possesses a rich chocolatey tang, and the “lava” softens the solid sections. This treat is best shared with friends when your stomachs start growling.
French Toast Bread Pudding
This recipe is definitely my favorite out of these five. Here are the ingredients:
- Eggs in a ratio of one egg to two slices of bread (Yes, you need to do math)
- Optional flavorings like cinnamon, vanilla, a dash of milk (too much will make it soggy) and sweetener
Start by beating the eggs and any optional flavorings in a bowl and ripping the bread into bite-sized pieces. Then, soak them thoroughly in the liquid mixture, transfer them to a greased bowl and microwave for three minutes.
This dish is best when you wake up, and feel free to add breakfast condiments like fruit and maple syrup as well. If you are not a morning person, you can prepare multiple batches. Just revive it in the microwave!
Microwave french toast won’t have crispy edges like the stove-cooked version, but its texture is soft and fluffy, even after reheating. When you make it, the wonderful whiff will wash over the whole room!
Have fun cooking — I mean, microwaving! Now you’re on your way to becoming a collegiate cuisine-er!