Between long days at the office, summer classes that seem to drag on for hours and busy summer schedules, collegiettes are forced to master the art of saving time. During the busy week, 6 p.m. hits and the thought of making a healthy, home-cooked dinner seems absolutely ridiculous. The task is even more daunting when the only kitchen appliance in your apartment is a microwave. While delivery and takeout offer ease and convenience, there are ways to avoid this temptation, saving both your diet and your wallet.
We’ve scoured popular food blogs and cooking channels for DIY microwave meal inspiration and we have come up with easy, affordable, delicious, and most importantly, healthy meal options. Whether you need a quick breakfast, lunch, dinner, side, or dessert, HC has got you covered!
Making stovetop oatmeal can be a hassle. If you’re pressed for time, but are craving a hot breakfast, this microwavable version is for you. The oats are a healthy dose of protein, which will satisfy your hunger for longer, and the pumpkin is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. What better way to start your day than with a homemade and delicious bowl of oatmeal?
½ cup quick cooking rolled oats
¼ cup and 2 Tbsp. skim milk, or as needed
¼ cup canned pumpkin puree
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon sugar
* ¼ teaspoon nutmeg and/or ginger if you have it on hand
Mix together oats and milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high for one to two minutes, stirring once. Add more milk or oats to achieve the desired consistency and then cook for an additional 30 seconds. Stir in pumpkin puree and cinnamon, sugar and any other additional spices. Microwave for another 15 seconds and enjoy!
Frittatas are typically thought of as a breakfast food, but they are actually a fantastic lunch option as well. The eggs provide protein and depending on what veggies you have on hand it can be an excellent way to get your daily dose of vitamins and minerals. The following recipe is just one suggestion, but feel free to play around with the ingredients and find what flavor combinations satisfy your taste buds.
1 teaspoon olive oil
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ cup chopped red pepper
¼ cup broccoli
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high for 20-30 seconds or until melted. Add onion, red pepper and broccoli. Cover and microwave on high for one minute. Stir in eggs, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high for one to two minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for about three minutes, so the frittata can set.
Sweet Potato (or regular baked potato) with Warm Black Bean Salsa
If you are craving a warm dinner, but only have a few minutes to spare, then this entrée is for you. Sweet potatoes are not only affordable and delicious, but they are also high in vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin D and iron. When combined with a high-protein black bean salsa, a filling and nutritious meal is created.
1 medium sweet potato
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can corn, rinsed
1 Tomato, diced
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Dollop of sour cream (or Greek Yogurt for the uber-health conscious)
Prick the sweet potato with a fork in several places. Microwave on high until tender all the way, about five to six minutes. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine beans, corn, tomato, oil, salt and pepper. Microwave this mixture on high until just heated, about one to two minutes. Once the sweet potato is just cool enough to handle, cut it in half lengthwise and spoon the bean mixture onto the potato. Top each half with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt, whatever you prefer!
Sometimes a girl just needs a big old helping of vegetables for an extra health boost. Broccoli is surprisingly easy to make in the microwave and is an excellent source of vitamins, calcium and fiber. This recipe spices things up a bit with the addition of some tangy lemon juice and tasty garlic.
½ head fresh broccoli, cleaned and cut into florets
1 Tablespoon water
1 ½ teaspoon olive oil
¾ teaspoon lemon juice
½ garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt to taste
Microwave broccoli and water in a covered, microwave-safe bowl on high for five minutes or until crisply tender. While the broccoli is microwaving, mix the rest of the ingredients together. Drain the cooked broccoli and then pour the lemon/garlic mixture over the broccoli and stir to coat. Cover the dish and let it sit for about two minutes to allow the heat from the broccoli to “cook” the raw garlic.
Easy Baked Apple
After a long day, it can be difficult to ignore your sweet tooth. The ice cream in the fridge might be calling your name and your will power quickly weakens. In order to satisfy that sweet tooth without denting your diet too much, consider making this microwaveable baked apple. With only five minutes of prep required and a measly two minutes of cook time, you can whip up this delectable sweet treat during your favorite TV show’s commercial break!
1 granny smith apple
1 ½ Tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon raisins (optional)
Core the apple and peel if you desire. Make sure that you get all of the core and all of the seeds out. Combine the rest of the ingredients, except the pecans, and place in the cored out section of the apple. Heat in a microwave-safe bowl for one to two minutes in the microwave. Sprinkle the pecans on top for some crunch and a little extra protein!