Microwave Dinners: Quick Meal Ideas for the Microwave

Most of the time, we see the microwave as a convenient tool for boiling water or re-heating a plate of leftovers. But when we literally only have a few minutes before running off to a meeting or back to class, the microwave can become a real lifesaver for pulling together a super-quick meal.These microwave meals certainly aren’t the height of culinary achievements, but they’ll do the trick. Think about jazzing them up with some strong cheese or a sprinkle of your favorite spice mix.

First, some basic techniques:

Eggs - Make them scrambled or poached.
Steamed Vegetables - This tutorial on steaming broccoli applies to any other vegetable, too. Try cauliflower, carrots, and green beans.
Cooking Pasta - Follow the first-half of the instructions for our microwave mac n’ cheese to get plain pasta.
DIY Instant Oatmeal - It’s easy to make your own instant oatmeal mix.
Bacon - This is a great way to cook a just few slices of bacon at once.
Better Jarred Tomato Sauce - Try adding some zing and then heat just a few tablespoons of grocery-store tomato sauce in a ramekin.
Stir Fry Sauces - To make any of these stir-fry sauces in the microwave, just combine them in a ramekin and heat in 20 second bursts until the sauce thickens. Stir between each burst.

And some meal ideas to try:

Steamed Veggies and Scrambled Egg - Top with any of those stir-fry sauces.
Poached Eggs over Oatmeal - Crumble on some cheese for a nice savory dinner.
Egg Sandwich - Bacon optional!
Steamed Veggies and Pasta - Pour on some tomato sauce or simply toss this with oil and lemon juice.
Mac n’ Cheese - Add some steamed veggies for extra goodness or a few teaspoons of stir-fry sauce for flavor.

And don’t forget dessert! There’s always 2-Minute Microwave Cheesecake to be had.

What other ideas do you have for microwave meals?

Related: College Eating: How to Make Better Microwave Popcorn

(Image: Faith Durand)

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