Cooking with Claire: How to microwave like a champion

“Cooking with Claire” is an introduction to dining beyond the dining hall using easy, fast and cheap recipes.

Last week’s column focused on cooking in a full kitchen. This time, I’m catering to the dorm crowd. A lot can be done with a microwave and a fridge. Put down the EasyMac and think outside the box (or cup).

There are certain things that can be done in a microwave and there are things that cannot. For example, soups, noodles, rice, cheeses and proteins heat up perfectly in a microwave. Breads, such as garlic breads and even pizza, are not at their best after nuking.

The Daily Campus featured five easy microwave recipes in the first issue a few weeks ago. Angie DeRosa explained how to make delicious mug brownies, breakfast burritos, parmesan buttered ramen noodles, quesadillas and nachos.

Taking a hint from her article, eggs are perhaps the easiest microwave hack. Scrambled, and even hard-boiled eggs can be whipped up in a few minutes. Pair it with a cup of French toast, and you’ll be full until the dining halls open for dinner.

To embellish the renowned EasyMac and make it a bit better, mix in some bacon crumbles, or even diced ham or chicken. It adds some protein to the simple carbs and sodium.

Another easy snack to embellish- popcorn. Add nuts, seeds, candies and spices for a snack filled with whole grain and protein.

Cramming on Sunday night and can’t make it down to the dining hall for dinner? You can cook a full dinner of salmon, rice, corn on the cob and other steamed vegetables in the microwave.

Craving Moe’s but don’t have the cash? This recipe for vegetarian burrito bowls will surely fulfill that craving.

You can even make mini meatloaf in the microwave. This recipe explains how to transform a quarter pound of hamburger meat into a meatloaf for one.

Don’t forget that your fridge can hold more than leftover wings and beer. Pick up lettuce, dressing and other salad fixings for a perfect salad at any time of the day.

Beyond traditional salads, you can also keep fruit or pasta salad in the fridge for days. Save your ramen noodles or macaroni and cheese elbows and add some mayonnaise or oil and veggies.

Buy cans of tuna fish, cheese and rolls for a quick tuna melt sandwich between classes.

To finish off a perfect meal, grab another mug and make a cookie, cheesecake or lava cake in a mug to satisfy your sweet tooth.

When it comes to microwave cooking, the sky is the limit. Just remember to use your head. No one likes the guy who set the fire alarms off at 4 a.m. because he forgot to watch his popcorn.


Claire Galvin is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at claire.galvin@uconn.edu.