Meals You Can Make In Your Microwave

by Scott Power

As a kid, nothing was better than hosting a sleepover party for your closest friends (well, with a little help from your parents). And few things say that you've really made it as an adult quite like hosting the grown-up version of those legendary sleepovers: your own legitimate dinner party. Throwing a dinner party for your friends is a great way to spend quality time together. Plus, it’s generally less expensive than a night out. Hosting a dinner party is also a great way to coax people over to check out your new apartment or house. As the saying goes: 'If you feed them, they will come.' But wait, what's that you say? You can barely boil water? What if we told you it were possible to whip up gourmet-worthy meals using only your microwave?

We get it: Not everyone's culinary acumen goes much further than making a double-decker peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Or maybe you are a brilliant cook, but find that your tiny kitchenette lacks the proper tools to really showcase your skills. That’s where the microwave — a very powerful, yet sometimes under-appreciated food prep tool — comes into play. Think it’s only adequate for warming your solo meals? Think again. Your microwave might just be your saving grace when it comes to dinner party prep. We’ve partnered with Evol to help you host a full-on supper soirée using only your microwave — without skimping on serving food with real ingredients you can actually pronounce.

1. Revisit College (At Least, Temporarily)

Remember college, a time when you were borderline broke and lived off those cheap, microwavable, single serve mac and cheese cups? Just because you’re in a slightly higher tax bracket now doesn’t mean you should write the dish off. But, maybe it's time for an upgrade. Invite your guests over, and have a spread of different mac and cheese dishes for them to sample. Varieties like chipotle chicken and uncured bacon mac and cheese are bound to be crowd pleasers (plus, they're done in minutes).

While your microwave is prepping, chop up some fresh garnish to toss on top of the final product for added flair. Parsley adds a pop of color, and makes your meal look like a dish prepared by a pro.

2. Embrace The Power Of Potluck

One of the best ways to ensure there’s a vast variety of fare for you and your guests to choose from (without taking on all of the responsibility solo) is to host a potluck dinner, where each guest brings their own dish or contribution. Your microwave can heat up anything that's lost its warmth in transit — just make sure to tell your guests ahead of time to bring their contributions in a microwave-safe container. Pro tip: Have a few empty containers of your own ready to transfer food into when your friends who inevitably fail to read the invite in its entirety show up with a gigantic foil tray of scalloped potatoes.

3. Treat Appetizers As A Main Course

A dinner party doesn’t necessarily require a main course. Hosting an appetizer-only affair creates a more laid back party vibe. Plus, your guests can pick and choose what they want to snack on whenever they're hungry — instead of trying to corral everyone around a table for a sit down dinner. To pull this one off, gather a vast variety of microwaveable appetizers for everyone to fill up on. Easy to eat foods like teryaki chicken skewers are always a good call here. Adding few appetizers that don't require heat will further help your cause, like blocks of cheese with crackers, or a vegetable crudité. The more options, the better!

4. Take A Note From Little Italy

Adding a theme to your dinner party makes it twice the fun. And if you're thinking that an Italian-style feast can't possibly be prepared using only your microwave, think again! Putting out a spread of Italian cold cuts requires zero preparation. Snag a charcuterie tray from your local market or bodega, and serve cold cuts as an appetizer with some veggies and cheese. As for the main course? Whip up a nice butternut squash and sage ravioli, made with real ingredients that would earn Nonna's nod of approval.

5. Keep It Simple

The crux of a truly successful dinner party is the conversation and camaraderie that comes with having a bunch people you love most in your home for an evening — not the table settings or silverware. So stock up on tasteful paper plates and cups that will make for an easy clean up, and stick to a menu of conveniently packaged meals that microwave in minutes. This route is especially useful if you and your friends are eating while in the midst of an activity, like game or movie night. I mean, it's just too easy to shatter your wine glass during a game of charades, am I right?

Now that you're equipped with everything you need to host your very own grown-up dinner party, the only thing you need to do is pick a date that works with all of your friend's conflicting schedules. Good luck!

This post is sponsored by Evol.

Images: Fotolia (4) Shutterstock, Unsplash