It’s dinnertime at the end of a long day and the sun sinks low in the sky, accompanied by the not-so-melodic soundtrack of your growling stomach. It’s as clear a message as any that you’re overdue for some grub. You sigh and ask yourself an age-old question:
What should I eat?
Enter the Microwave Mug Meal. It’s the perfect solution to a common problem, combining the speed and cooking power of a microwave with the easy-to-hold comfort of your favorite coffee cup. Throw some ingredients in your mug of choice, zap it in your microwave, and there’s dinner—no sweat!
And to make things even easier, we’ve rounded up five dishes (er, mugs) to turn to in your time of need.
1. Mac 'n Cheese
This simple recipe from NPR's The Salt takes the idea of Easy Mac to a whole new level. There's no orange powder to be found here; it’s been replaced by a mound of sharp, gooey cheddar. The addition of salsa and optional dried shiitake mushrooms may be a little unorthodox, but the dish comes courtesy of Washington Post Food and Travel editor Joe Yonan, so we’re inclined to trust in his expertise.
2. Meat Loaf
This savory concoction might lack the traditional loaf shape—leading us to wonder what one calls a mug-shaped version—but we’re hardly concerned. What’s in a name? That which we call a meat loaf by any other name would taste just as delicious.
With a combined prep and cook time of just 15 minutes, you’ll soon be too busy stuffing your mouth with beefy goodness to ponder for long. Special thanks to tasteofhome.com for this one.
The traditional brunch food of champions, quiche is delectable at any time of day. And if the long oven bake time can be replaced with just a minute in the microwave, all the better.
The Chicago Tribune found this recipe, in which egg and bread form the perfect base for rich cream cheese to meld with fresh thyme and salty prosciutto. Your microwave dinner has never looked this good.
The name here is again up for debate, since this recipe from yourlighterside.com is pasta-free. But what could be so bad about what’s essentially a hot cup of layered pizza toppings? As an added bonus, this lasagna is the quickest and easiest recipe featured here today. And if anyone gives you a hard time for spooning cheese and sauce into your mouth sans noodles, it’s worth pointing out that a large percentage of your lasagna contains vegetables. It’s practically health food.
5. Pumpkin Pie
Need something sweet to round out dinner? With this quick recipe from Yammie's Noshery, your microwave has you covered.
Pumpkin pie purists can eat the spiced dessert on its own, while those with an extra sweet tooth (read: us) can spoon on the recommended whipped cream, toffee bits, and caramel. And hey, if you want to skip dinner and head straight to dessert, we won’t tell a soul. We’re probably off doing the same thing.
Hero Image: Flickr user "mrsmagic" (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)