• Thu. Feb 29th, 2024

Stress-free and mess-free meals in a mug: Risotto and Macaroni Cheese

Anyone who has ventured outside their room in the past few days will have inevitably asked themselves whether their 10am lecture was worth braving Hurricane Abigail for. We have arrived at the time of waking up in the dark, not knowing whether it is three in the morning or whether you have missed a lecture, and when wearing all your clothes to lectures becomes acceptable. But luckily it is not all bad: with the cold weather we definitely need some good, quick comfort food and this week we have got just that for you. So when the temperature outside starts dropping, here is all you need to be able to heat up your hands around a mug of super-easy microwave comfort food.

Ingredients: 1 tablespoon butter, 1/3 cup rice – look for risotto or Arborio rice, 1/2 cup vegetable broth – easy to find ready-made in supermarkets, 1/4 cup white wine, a small (or large – up to you) amount of grated parmesan cheese, 1/3 of an onion (chopped), half a garlic clove (crushed)

Cook the butter, onion and garlic in the mug for three minutes on High. If you do not want to include the onion and garlic in the recipe, just heat the butter to allow it to melt and then move on to the next step.
Heat the broth in another mug (if you have, otherwise add it to the butter and other ingredients) for two minutes until it is hot but not boiling. Stir in the rice (and butter etc if you haven’t already done so) and cover the mug with a plate. Cook on high for around six minutes.Finally stir in the wine and cook for another 10 minutes. During this time most of the liquid should evaporate. Check that the rice is soft enough after this time, stir in the parmesan and fend off the cold weather with your delicious homemade, easy risotto!

If you want to experiment, try including bacon pieces, other vegetables or other kinds of cheese. Ways of cooking these in a microwave can easily be found on the internet or see our ‘omelette’ recipe for ways to cook perfect microwave bacon.

Macaroni Cheese
The idea of nipping into Tesco for ready-made pasta and sauce is great. It is quick, it is easy, you are hungry and looking forward to getting home and having it ready in a couple of minutes time…but somehow it is never quite as good as you were expecting. The pasta doesn’t work out how you think it should, the sauce tastes of nothing, you sit there stirring your dinner and wondering what went wrong. In fact, you would have been better off making it yourself. And now you can – just as easily – because our recipe this week is for easy macaroni cheese – all you need is a little milk, some pasta and a handful of grated cheese and your dinner is sorted. As an added extra you can add mustard or cayenne pepper if you have any at hand, or ordinary salt and pepper. As always you can come up with any additions to this to make it the way you want: bacon, mushrooms – anything you can cook in a microwave.

Ingredients: ½ cup pasta (macaroni pasta works well but use whatever you have), ½ cup water, ½ cup grated cheddar cheese, ¼ cup milk

Heat the pasta and water together in a large mug on high in the microwave for two minutes. Take it out, stir carefully so it doesn’t overflow and heat again, stirring at every two minute interval, until all the water is absorbed and the pasta is cooked completely (it may not need all the water so check each time you stir it to see whether the pasta is cooked). Once it’s cooked, take the mug out of the microwave and stir in the milk and the cheese together. And that’s it. So next time you’re hungry and can’t be bothered to spend time making dinner, don’t go out to buy something unsatisfying at double the price it would cost you to make a better version at home. This dish is great because it is cheap and easy to make, the washing up is practically non-existent and you can make as much of it as you want by easily changing the quantities.

Photo credit: buzzymelibee @ Flickr

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