One microwave meal for one that I make a lot of in the winter months is an Easy Mac Cheese. This unceremonious dish is a quick and easy microwave macaroni cheese, without making the cheese sauce. Although I can make a great cheese sauce in the microwave, that turns out perfect and lump free every time, I don’t always have milk in the house so it’s a non-starter.
I will soon be getting some dried milk in again, but as I’ve moved a few times in the last two years, my cupboards are sometimes lacking in what used to be my standard store cupboard ingredients!
I like to use the small macaroni when I make macaroni cheese – even better are the fast cook varieties, where the pack says they cook in just 3 minutes. However, you can cook any type of macaroni in the microwave – it’s just a question of how long it takes.
You’ll need: a microwave safe jug/dish to cook in, a small splash of oil (optional), some dried macaroni, some cheese (I use grated cheddar), your favourite sauce (I use brown sauce).
- Firstly, boil a kettle of water, you’ll need boiling water for this. Of course, you could just start with cold water in the microwave, but that means the cooking takes a little longer – but if you’ve no kettle, then use the microwave for everything!
- Measure out how much macaroni you want to cook – you can do this by eye, or measure out half a mug or so. You can rinse the macaroni if you wish, but it’s not essential. I usually don’t.
- Place the macaroni in a microwave-safe dish, as large/deep as you can. I tend to use a glass Pyrex measuring jug for a lot of microwave cooking and so will usually cook macaroni in that.
- Add a splash of oil. Any oil, what’ve you got? It’s not essential, I just like to add a small splash of oil as I’m convinced it helps to keep the macaroni separate as it cooks, instead of clumping together.
- Add boiling water to your macaroni and place your dish in the microwave.
- Set the microwave to two minutes on high and watch through the window to ensure it’s not bubbling over. After 2 minutes is up, stir the macaroni, then return it to the microwave for another 2 minutes. Repeat this until it’s done. How long it takes will depend on how much macaroni you’re cooking, the size/shape of your cooking dish and the power of your microwave. You can tell when it’s done by tasting a bit each time. It needs to be as soft as you like it.
- Once your macaroni is cooked, drain the water away from the dish.
- Grate cheddar cheese and add it to the macaroni – as much or as little as you like. Give it a stir around then pop the dish into the microwave for 1 minute so the cheese melts.
Now, that’s a simple and easy macaroni cheese!
Of course, you can adjust it a little if you wish, by adding in 1-2 spoons of milk when you add the cheese, which will loosen up the cheese ‘sauce’ a little, or by adding a heaped tablespoon of soft cream cheese (like Philadelphia).
I think macaroni cheese tastes better when served in a bowl, rather than a plate.
I like to serve macaroni cheese with a tin of tomatoes, the whole tin usually! I’ll also usually add some brown sauce to the macaroni cheese.
I always say “there are no points for presentation” – one of the joys of single living and cooking for one is that there’s nobody around to tell you that you can’t do this! It’s a one pot dinner.
This quick macaroni cheese makes it an achievable quick dinner for one, without too much fuss.