Great healthy fast food!

So, I thought, microwave meals are the answer!

Great healthy fast food! blog image


Yes, it’s possible, so ditch those fast-food takeaways and make your own!

What’s this all about I hear you asking? Well, after giving a talk to service users at a homeless hostel last year, we were asked back to do a cooking demo, ‘Nutritious Food on a Budget’. 

Ok, we can do that we thought, and then they asked if we could make microwave meals?

Humm…Well, even though we have talked about how good microwave cooking is in our blog ‘The Health Benefits of Microwave Cooking’, we only use one at work for reheating and don’t even own one at home. 

But, not to be put off, I started some research. I was conscious that the service users are only cooking for one and so scoured the internet and I found quite a few ‘meal in a mug’ recipes. So, I started experimenting and while cooking in a mug doesn’t work that well, cooking in a bowl does!

We did the demo 2 weeks ago and it was a great success. Here’s the feedback from Flora, the MD of the hostel. “That was brilliant, thank you very much. You put on a great workshop and we have had some really positive feedback.”

Then this research came across my desk

Thirty years of fast food: Greater variety, but more salt, larger portions, and added calories

Despite the addition of some healthy menu items, fast food is even more unhealthy for you than it was 30 years ago. 

Our study offers some insights on how fast food may be helping to fuel the continuing problem of obesity and related chronic conditions in the United States” said lead investigator Megan A. McCrory, PhD, Department of Health Sciences, Sargent College, Boston University, Boston, MA.

So, I thought, microwave meals are the answer!

Make your own fast food!

I’ve now become a huge fan of microwave cooking and have eaten more veggie curry and apple crumble (yes apple crumble in the microwave!) over the last two weeks than ever before. 

I looked after my nieces last Friday and had promised them spaghetti Bolognese for dinner. But, after picking them up from after school club, that would have been impossible as it wouldn’t have been ready before their bedtime. Now with my new microwave cooking skills, it was made in 10 minutes. You heard me right, only 10 minutes! 

So here are the recipes I’ve developed so far, I hope you’ll give them a go, or if you’ve got child at uni pass this on to them. I’m sure you’ll be as surprised as me.

Microwave meals for one

All meals were made with a 850w microwave on the highest heat unless otherwise stated.

• Minced beef normally comes in a 500g pack so 100g is a fifth of a pack.
• dsp = dessert spoon
• tsp = teaspoon
• 1 big mug is 300 ml, so judge liquid measurements using one i.e. a third of a cup will be 100ml.

Things to remember:
• Remember to cut all of the vegetables the same size so they cook evenly.
• Stirring is really important as the microwave doesn’t cook evenly.
• Remember to let stand for at least a minute after removing from the microwave as it will continue to cook.

Peanut butter and jam porridge

4 dsp porridge
5 dsp Milk
2 dsp crunchy peanut butter
½ tsp sugar
3 tsp jam

1) Put the oats in a bowl with the milk.
2) Stir then microwave for a minute
3) Remove from the microwave and stir, then microwave for a minute more
4) Remove from the microwave and stir in the peanut butter, sugar and jam.
5) Leave for a minute before eating.
6) If it’s too thick add a bit more milk.

Scrambled eggs

2 eggs
A knob of butter
1 dsp spoon milk
Salt and pepper to taste

1) Put the butter in a cup or bowl and microwave for 45 seconds to soften.
2) Add the eggs, milk and seasoning and mix well.
3) Microwave for 30 seconds.
4) Stir and microwave for another 30 seconds.
5) Repeat.
6) Stir and let stand for a minute before eating.
Add different flavours to your eggs, maybe some chopped ham, onions, a spinach ball etc.

Cheesy breakfast muffin

A knob of butter
3 dsp self-raising flour
3 dsp grated cheddar
5 dsp milk
1 medium egg
salt and pepper

1) Put the butter in your mug and cook for 30 seconds.
2) Add the flour, cheese and the milk, mix well and season.
3) Microwave for 2 minutes.
4) Check its cooked by putting a knife in, if it comes out clean its done. If not cook for 30 seconds more.
5) Allow to stand for a minute. Then turn out, eat when it’s cool enough!

You can add other things to your muffin, some finely chopped peppers, tomatoes, ham. Or make a sweet muffin leave out the cheese and add some fruit, blue berries or banana maybe.

Smoked haddock kedgeree

1 tsp curry powder
1 expresso size cup of easy cook rice
1½ expresso size cups of water
1 knob of butter
I small piece of frozen smoked haddock, chopped in small chunks
1 egg
2 dsp frozen peas


1) Defrost the smoked haddock before if you remember, if not put on a plate and microwave on the defrost setting for 4 minutes.
2) Remove from the microwave.
3) Put the rice and water in a bowl and cook for 8 – 10 minutes until the rice is cooked.
4) While the rice is cooking chop the fish into small pieces.
5) Add the butter, curry paste, peas and fish, stir well and cook for 1 minute more.
6) Make a well in the centre of the rice and break in the egg. Pierce the yolk.
7) Cover and cook for 1 ½ - 2 minutes more, (depending on the size of the egg) until the egg is just cooked.
8) Allow to stand for a minute, before eating with some fresh coriander mixed in if you have some.

Egg fried rice

½ cup rice
1 cup water
3 tsp soy sauce
1 slice of ham, chopped
3 dsp of frozen peas and sweetcorn
1 egg
salt, to taste
1 spring onion, finely chopped

1) In a bowl, combine the rice, water and soy sauce, and stir.
2) Stand in another bowl in case it boils over, then microwave, covered, for about 8 minutes, until the rice is fully cooked.
3) Mix the frozen peas and sweetcorn into the rice.
4) Microwave for a minute more.
5) In a microwaveable mug, beat the eggs with the salt.
6) Microwave the eggs for about 1-2 minutes, until the eggs are fully cooked.
7) Break up the egg into small bits, then mix it in with the rice.
8) Allow to rest for a minute.
9) Garnish with spring onions, then serve!

These two rice recipes are just a start.
Once you’ve cooked your rice you can experiment with all sorts of other ingredients and flavours. Adding tinned tomatoes, peppers, smoked paprika, dried thyme and frozen seafood for a paella maybe.

Macaroni cheese

½ cup elbow macaroni or pasta shapes
½ cup water
5 dsp milk
1 tsp flour
salt and pepper, to taste
4 dsp grated cheddar cheese

1) Mix the macaroni, water and salt in a microwaveable mug.
2) Place the mug in a bowl as it will boil over.
3) Microwave for 3 minutes, then pour any spilt water back in.
4) Stir and microwave for 2 minutes more.
5) Pour any water back in, add the milk, cheese, flour, salt and pepper, then stir.
6) Microwave for another 30 seconds.
7) Allow to stand for a minute before eating.

See full nutrition here
You can add other ingredients at stage 5 such as ham, spinach, peppers, or cooked chicken.

Baked bean chilli

100g mince
4 dsp baked beans
1 small red onion peeled and finely chopped
½ tsp (5g) Garlic paste
Chilli powder or flakes to taste
½ tsp Cumin – ground
1 Tsp Tomato puree

1) Mix everything up in a bowl and break up the mince.
2) Microwave for 2 minutes.
3) Take out and stir microwave for another 2 minutes.
4) Repeat.
5) Stir and check the meat is cooked.
6) Allow to stand for a minute before eating with tortilla chips, grated cheese and sour cream if you have some.

Bolognese sauce

Half small onion, peeled and chopped
100g minced beef
2 dsp chopped pepper
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp garlic paste
½ tin chopped tomatoes 

1) Mix everything up in a bowl and break up the mince.
2) Microwave for 3 minutes with a lid on.
3) Take out and stir, remove the lid, microwave for another 3 minutes.
4) Repeat.
5) Leave to stand for 1 minute then serve with pasta and grated parmesan if you have some.

*Your microwave will get very steamy but don’t worry.

Chickpea curry

½ can chick peas
½ sweet potato peeled and chopped
1 small potato, peeled and chopped
1 cube frozen spinach
½ can tinned tomatoes or passata
¼ small red or green pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tsp curry powder
Salt to taste

1) Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl
2) Microwave for 2 minutes.
3) Take out and stir, microwave for 2 minutes more.
4) Repeat until the vegetables are cooked.
5) Leave to rest until cool enough to eat.
6) Serve with rice or cauliflower rice
Try adding a swirl of cream, its delicious

Chocolate peanut butter brownie

2 dsp flour
2 dsp sugar
1 dsp cocoa powder
1 dsp sunflower oil
2 dsp milk
1 dsp peanut butter

1) In a cup mix together all the ingredients and cook in the microwave for 1 minute.
2) Serve with cream or ice-cream or eat on its own. 

Oaty apple crumble

1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped into cubes
2 dsp oats
2 dsp flour
3 tsp sugar
10g /1 knob of butter

1) Put the apple in a cup and microwave for 1 minute.
2) Mix the remaining ingredients together in another bowl and microwave for a minute to melt the butter.
3) Stir well, then use to top the apple in the cup.
4) Microwave for a 1 ½ minutes
5) Leave to stand for a minute, then serve with ice-cream, cream or custard.

Do your own experiments!

These are just a few examples, once you get the hang of it you can try your own recipes. I haven’t added them all to the website yet, but have given you the links for those I have added. 

And remember to make sure you’re getting all of the nutrients you need, start that food diary and you’ll be amazed when you start seeing how well you’re doing by cooking for yourself.
Surya Wright

Surya Wright

Co-founder, production manager

I'm our communications and marketing person, dealing with social media and copywriting. I also work with Matt and Ric overseeing the design and strategic management of the site. I'm also the author of the Eva the Hungry Amoeba children's book series (only one so far). You can find it on Amazon. My favourite foods, shepherds pie and smoked haddock!

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