Microwave Meals: Do They Really Work?

In today’s world, college students like to be able to have what they want with minimal effort. Technology has largely enabled us to do this, and it has finally reached food. All I hear about these days are mug cakes and how you can make everything you love in a microwave.

Now, I’m a person who likes to spend time in my room because it’s cozy and it’s where I do my studying, but for food I either have to go out or to the dining hall. But what if I didn’t have to do that? What if I could customize my favorite foods in my room?

After doing a little research, I came up with three recipes I wanted to try that you can make in the microwave: eggs, mac and cheese, and a brownie in a mug. Little disclaimer, I love scrambled eggs, mac and cheese is one of my favorite meals, and brownies are my guilty pleasure, so I had relatively high standards for these microwave meals.

 

Let’s start with the eggs:

Before coming to college I invested in an egg cooker, like this one from the Kitchen Collection because, well, I’m extra. I didn’t use it all of last year, but last week I was hungry, it was late, and I had to study for an exam so I figured I would take this thing out of the package and see if it worked.

I like my eggs very cooked when scrambled, like to the point they’re almost golden brown from cooking, and I like them pretty even. I put my 3 eggs in the microwave after mixing them up for 2 minute intervals until I was happy with how they looked, and then I let them cool.

When I first slid them out they looked promising, but I was still skeptical as the white part had begun to turn a weird grey color. And I know you may be thinking “Arianna, what if the eggs were just bad?” No, they were not in fact bad, I had just bought them at Star Market.

Regardless, I pushed my skepticism aside and dug in after adding some melted cheese. The first few bites were okay, but as I got to the middle I noticed they weren’t evenly cooked and they were kinda flavorless.

So, final verdict on eggs in the microwave egg cooker: FAIL

 

Next up let’s do the mac and cheese:

I followed this recipe, courtesy of thekitchn.com and author Emma Christensen.

It called for:

1/2 cup macaroni or shell pasta

1/2 cup water

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup milk, any percent

1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded cheese, like cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack, or provolone

And anything else you wanted to add in to your liking.

After following the cooking instructions and getting my final product, I noticed a few things I would change, and just some issues in general.

I ended up cooking my pasta for 7 minutes total, but within the 7 minutes I had to add almost another quarter cup of water because the pasta kept drying up and getting all melded together and almost crispy.

My choice of mozzarella may not have been the best -- going forward I would use cheddar as it’s gooier and melty, but that’s more of an operator error.

Overall, my mom and I both agree that while it’s not the best mac and cheese we’ve ever had, it grows on you and made for a nice little lunch.

Final verdict on mac and cheese: PASS

 

Lastly, the one I was most excited for, the brownie in a mug.

I took to Pinterest for this recipe and found this one courtesy of cherryteacakes.com

I began my measuring and mixing everything in a small bowl before transferring it to a mug.

It looked and smelled promising, but the batch size was quite small, narrowly covering the bottom of the mug I put it in, and the amount of flour to oil had me worried it wouldn’t rise very much.

Unfortunately, I was right.

The brownie barely rose and covered maybe an inch of the bottom of the mug. My mom suggested we try making it again in a small, microwave safe bowl to see if it would turn out any better, but after tasting it we decided against it. The brownie tasted vaguely of chocolate, but mostly of the oil we used (we used vegetable oil).

Sigh, my hopes of finding a good microwave brownie are momentarily crushed…

So, overall rating of the microwave mug brownie: FAIL

 

Now, while I had issues with some of these, feel free to try them yourselves, see if you can make it work for you, or customize it! That’s the beauty of making things in your microwave -- you can adjust it to your preferences and taste. If I did the mac and cheese again I would use cheddar as I said, and I’d add some tomato or even bacon to spice things up. Tune in next time to see if I can crack the microwave brownie mystery and find the perfect one!