Microwave challenge: surviving 24 hours on microwaved meals

For most people, microwaved food usually involves reheating leftover takeout or making Cup Noodles. Oftentimes, however, it can actually be used as a convenient and cheap alternative to traditional methods of cooking. In fact, you can make the same gourmet meals you’d make with a regular stove or oven, just in a lot less time. To test our newly found microwave powers, we embarked on a food challenge: surviving 24 hours eating only microwave-cooked meals and snacks.

Breakfast: One-minute quiche


Start the morning with a delicious microwave-mug quiche while also ridding yourself of leftover veggies and bread. Begin by placing a large egg in a mug with some milk and cheese, then add diced bread and vegetables (we recommend tomatoes, spinach and fresh herbs). Stir until well mixed, and place in the microwave for one minute on high for a quick, simple quiche.

Snack: Nuked potato chips


To defend yourself against munchies throughout the day, prepare some crispy potato chips in the morning, along with your quiche. Thinly slice a washed potato, and place the slices in a single layer onto a plate covered with olive oil. Sprinkle some salt and pepper for seasoning, and pop in the microwave for two to four minutes, or until they begin to brown on the edges. Take them out, and let the nuked potato chips cool for a few minutes — the chips will continue to get crispier the longer you let them sit.

Lunch: Mug macaroni and cheese


Rather than turn to another packet of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, try making this simplified gourmet dish. Start by pouring some elbow macaroni and water into a mug. Place in the microwave for eight minutes, pausing two to three times to occasionally stir and add more water as needed. Once the pasta is cooked al dente, add cheese — a mix of cheddar, jack and parmesan will provide the most flavor — and stir with some of the remaining water. Put the mug back into the microwave for another minute, and enjoy your thick, gooey pasta.

Dinner: Chicken fajitas


For dinner, try this hearty, flavorful meal in just a few steps. First, chop up some bell peppers and onions and place them in a large microwavable dish. Sprinkle on some Southwest seasoning mix for flavor — if you want to use your own mix, we recommend putting together some chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt and a pinch of cayenne. Prepare strips of uncooked chicken, and place them on top of the vegetables. Bombard with another layer of seasoning, and place a cover on the dish. Pop in the microwave for 10 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked, and devour with some rice or tortillas.

Midnight snack: Nutella mug cake


This simple, sweet treat requires only four ingredients: Nutella, flour, baking powder and milk. Combine the ingredients and stir in a mug until smooth. Pop in the microwave on high for one minute, and use a fork to test if it is fully cooked: the fork should come back out clean, not gooey. Fully indulge with a scoop of ice cream on top, or combine with a fruit topping to avoid guilt.

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Contact Jenny Yoon at [email protected].