Aug 242012

Author: John Sheesley

English: Putting raisins in a microwave oven p...

Putting raisins in a microwave oven produces large quantities of smoke. Don’t do it.

Some would say that life in the dorms is easy. There are hot showers, warm beds, plenty of food, and friends all around. But anyone who has eaten three meals a day in the university dining halls knows that both vitamins and variety are lacking. But eating at restaurants all the time gets  expensive fast, and cooking in the dorms is very hard due to a pesky rule about no open coils or hot plates (something about preventing fires, it seems). So what can those without a stove top do? Turn to the almighty microwave.

Though we often think of it as only for reheating three-day-old cheeseburgers and making popcorn, the microwave was originally invented to act as a very fast, compact oven. It happens to do this very well.

Before we jump right into the exciting microwave recipes there are a few safety tips we have to cover. Like with any oven, be careful not to burn yourself, as food will be hot. Never use grocery bags, newspaper, metal, or foil in the microwave. Oven cooking bags, parchment paper and white microwave paper towels are safe for microwave use, as are glass and ceramics. Don’t microwave food in Tupperware or Styrofoam. Because microwaves vary, times are not precise, so be careful to make sure food is fully cooked.

Now that we have that straight, lets go through a day of microwave meals, made hot and fresh in the comfort of your own room with only the finest ingredients from your local grocery store.

For for a nutritious breakfast in minutes, why not try an egg sandwich. Crack an egg, or two if you’re really hungry, in a ceramic coffee mug and scramble them well with a fork, then microwave on high one minute for each egg or until fully cooked. Place the egg(s) on an English muffin with a slice of cheese and a slice of ham or turkey.

Alternatively,  make an omelet by scrambling a couple of eggs in a mug and adding some cut veggies, meat, and cheese. Microwave for two to three minutes or until done.

When lunchtime rolls around and the energy from your deliciously eggy breakfast begins to wear off, recharge with an ear of corn. Simply wrap the peeled ear of corn in a damp paper towel and microwave for about five minutes. Add a bit of butter and salt and its ready to devour.

If corn isn’t your style try an inside-out pizza. Slip some pizza sauce, cheese, and toppings between two tortillas and microwave until the cheese is a gooey, delicious mess. If you are feeling generous you can cut it like a pizza and share with your roommate. Or not.

Hard-shell taco with meat, cheese, lettuce, to...

Hard-shell taco with meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. Taco! Taco! Taco!

For dinner, lets go all out and make some microwave tacos. This one is best to make for a few people (the recipe serves about 4) but it can be scaled down very easily. First get three of your closest friends and neighbors to go to the grocery store with you, since you’re cooking, maybe you can even convince them to buy the food! Get a half pound of ground beef, some chili powder, salt, garlic powder, cheese, onion, lettuce, and salsa. To make your tacos, crumble the beef into a bowl and cover it with a plate. Microwave it for about five minutes on high, then stir in about 3/4 teaspoon chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. Add some water if it looks dry and cook it covered for another three to four minutes or until there is no pink left in the meat. Dice the onion and shred cheese and the lettuce, a cheese grater works well for both. Fill your tacos with the beef, veggies, cheese, and salsa and enjoy.

Whether you use your new mastery of the microwave to eat healthier, show off to your roommates, or impress the cutie down the hall, remember to always make sure food is thoroughly cooked, and it will be thoroughly delicious. For some more great microwave recipes, be sure to check out

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