Microwave Gourmet: Because You Don’t Need a Stove to Cook

Microwaves are the ultimate convenience tool in the kitchen, and they can be used for much more than boiling water for Ramen or heating up last night’s pizza (like there’s ever any left). With a few ingredients and a couple of kitchen tools, you can tame your hunger with some brain food that will get you through morning classes or a late-night cram session.

Breakfast

We’re all familiar with the cake in a mug craze, and that easily translates to a muffin in a mug. Made with whole wheat flour and healthy sweeteners, these are cheaper and healthier than the sugar bombs waiting for you at the coffee shop down the street.

Banana Mufin

Mash a 2-inch piece of banana in a mug. Add to it 2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour; 1/2 a teaspoon of baking powder; a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon; 2 teaspoons of maple syrup, honey or agave; 2 1/2 tablespoons of milk and a pinch of salt. Stir until combined, add a palmful of your favorite dried or fresh fruit, and microwave it until the top dries out — about 45 seconds to a minute. Inspiration: biggerbolderbaking.com/5-microwave-breakfasts/

Late-Night Snacks

Sure, you could buy a bag of potato chips with the change you find in your backpack, but you know what’s even cheaper than a bag of chips? A potato. Impress your friends by turning an ordinary potato into crispy potato chips using nothing more than a knife and a little cooking spray.

Microwave Potato Chips

Wash your potato and slice it as thin as possible — 1/8 inch to 1/16 inch is ideal. Spray a plate with cooking spray, put your slices on the plate in a single layer and sprinkle them with a little salt. Microwave them until they just start to turn brown. That’s your signal that they’re crispy. Warning: Your friends will eat the first batch before you can finish cooking the second.

Sweets

Microwave popcorn is a staple in every college dorm room, but it isn’t exactly health food. There are plenty of unpronounceable additives in every bag, and the lining in the bag itself could cover your popcorn with stuff you shouldn’t be eating. Skip the pre-bagged popcorn and make a healthier and more delicious version yourself by tossing a quarter cup of popcorn kernels in a brown paper lunch bag, folding the bag over and microwaving it until the popping stops. Sweeten it up for a special occasion using the recipe below.

Microwave Caramel Corn

Put popped popcorn into a brown paper lunch bag. In your trusty muffin mug, stir together a heaping 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 3 tablespoons of butter, 1 1/2 tablespoons of corn syrup, 1/2 a teaspoon of salt and a 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla. Microwave your concoction for 2 minutes, stir it, and microwave it for two more minutes. Stir in 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda, which will cause the caramel to bubble up (science!) and pour it over your popcorn in the paper bag. Shake the bag. Toss the bag full of caramel-coated popcorn in the microwave for  one minute, shake it, and microwave it for another minute. It’ll make your fingers sticky, but it’ll get you through finals.

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