Being the foodie and blogger I am, dining hall food was a preeetty big factor when looking at colleges. Somehow, Miami’s food seemed much better on my 3 tours, but by the 2nd week of school, I was already bored and disappointed. However, I found my way around town and discovered halls that I liked. But by the 2nd semester, I only went to the dining hall 3 times. Impressive, no? I admit it was a bit of a struggle since I only had a microwave in my room, and the mini (crappy) kitchenette was a few flights away on the first floor, but I made it work!
Well, for all of you out there, I decided to flashback to freshman year and see if I could survive a week of microwave eats only. Here’s how it panned out (and it actually wasn’t too bad).
Microwave oats: Boil 1 cup of water (in an electric tea kettle and then pour into a cup/bowl, or in a microwave), then add 1/2 cup of rolled oats, let it sit for a minute (covered) then microwave for another minute. You could also do 1/2 water and 1/2 milk. Top with berries, bananas, granola, nuts, etc!
Overnight oats: My favvvvorite is pumpkin oats! In a bowl or mug, layer a few dollops of canned pumpkin (can get this year round at any store- NOT pie filling), a dollop of plain yogurt, several spoons of oats, and repeat for 2-3 layers. Add some cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, or vanilla if you have it, then cover with milk of choice (I use unsweetened soy or almond because I’m lactose intolerant). Set in in the fridge, then grab and go in the morning! And again, top with whatever you’d like.
Yogurt bowls: A cup of greek yogurt, topped with – you guessed it – whatever you want! I like a cup of berries and either some cereal, granola, or trail mix and cinnamon obv. (note: be careful with your greek yogurt)
Eggs: Yes, you read that correct. Take a mini microwave-safe bowl (sprayed or coated with a bit of oil or butter if you have it), crack an egg or two, add in some salsa, frozen chopped veggies, black beans, and/or diced meat, give it a whisk with a fork, and microwave for a minute. Then stir and put it in for another 30 seconds. If it needs more time, microwave in 15 second intervals. You can even poach it!
Toast: No, I’m not kidding. I freeze bread if I don’t finish it fast enough, and this works with fresh or frozen. Simply place it on a napkin and microwave for 15 seconds. If it’s frozen, do it in 15 second intervals until it’s defrosted. You’ll want to repeat the 15 seconds 1 or 2 times, changing the paper towel after it defrosts. Top with butter, jam, or nothing and serve with eggs or just eat on the go!
Bean pasta/whole grain pasta: Real pasta in the microwave? Yes, it’s possible. Boil water, and meanwhile, add your serving of pasta to a small container with a sealed lid (preferably long and flat). Pour boiling water immediately into the containter, about an inch high, and immediately cover & seal. Gently shake for a minute then crack the lid and microwave for a minute at 50% power. Let sit for 30 seconds and repeat x2. Strain out the water and add sauce or eat plain. Enjoy and be proud of this miraculous method you just discovered.
Pasta/spaghetti + marinara + veg + protein: This is one of the heartiest and easiest meals on this list. Simply heat up your favorite marinara sauce (you could even do a can of fire roasted tomatoes + some spices you have on hand). Red wine vinegar works best, but you could even choose red wine (we won’t tell 😉 ). In a separate bowl, add a handful of frozen mixed veggies or some chopped fresh/frozen greens. Microwave until cooked (throw in some sauce or water), adding some beans, crumbled tempeh or tofu, or COOKED meat if you please. Throw it on your spaghetti, and baaaam!
#SpoonTip: add some vinegar to your marinara sauce to take away the canned taste
Spaghetti squash: The BEST. I make it almost every night. Take a spaghetti squash, which you can buy from most grocery stores year round, stab it (have fun & let out that anger) several times with a fork or knife, and microwave for 10 minutes. Let it sit for a few minutes, slice in half, scoop out the seeds, flake the strands, then top. FYI, don’t think of this as spaghetti or as squash. Just eat it. Trust me. It’s good.
Zucchini/veggie noodles: Chop veggies and add sauce. That’s it. Treat this dish like pasta. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll even slice them into noodles(-ish). Or if you’re super fancy and have one, use a spiralizer. But when I’m feeling lazy, I’ll literally just chop the veggies and let it be. Either way is good.
Healthy frozen meals: I love Amy’s! My favorite are her Mexican tamales and enchiladas. I usually add some extra veggies on the side because they’re super saucy. However, beware. She has some pretty crappy meals too. I’ve gotten the bowls, and they’re literally a big bowl of rice + a sprinkling of sauce and toppings. So. Sad.
Soups: I love veggie soups with something on the side, or a heartier soup on its own. There are even some really good frozen soups on the market already.
Taco Salad: This is super easy, just salad greens mix + 90 sec rice + beans + salsa. Make it real big to be filling. You can make it extra tasty with lots of veggies (salsa is in your favor here) and some spices (spiced nuts, flavorful dressings, etc.).
Snacks & Desserts
Microwave apple: The easiest and healthiest thing ever. Just dice an apple. Add cinnamon, ginger, microwave for 1:30. Heaven.
Veggies + hummus + salsa: No need to explain. You know what to do.
So there you have it friends. I didn’t have to sacrifice any food favorites or flavor to eat a week only cooking using a microwave. The secret: mixing in some no cooking necessary foods! Salads, veggies & hummus, fruit, yogurt, etc. I did this meatless, as it is easier and it’s generally how I eat.
If you haven’t already realized this, a week restricted to the microwave will make you appreciate your oven and stove a heck of a lot more, and your parents for putting in all the work cooking for you.
Now you try, and report back.