Microwave Monday: Mac and Cheese

By Lauren Sharkey

Mac and cheese is one of my favorite foods on the planet.  Seriously, the chef that initially thought to combine pasta and cheesy goodness deserves a high five.  Unfortunately, there is nowhere to get really awesome macaroni and cheese on campus.  Additionally, you can only eat so much Easy Mac in a given week.  Not to mention that orange powder cannot be healthy for you.  Plus – there really is nothing like homemade macaroni and cheese.  So, how do you get the great taste of home into your dorm room?  Just follow these steps:

Here’s what you’ll need (makes 2 servings):

1 cup pasta (fast-cooking pasta can be found in any supermarket)
3/4 cup of cheddar cheese
Milk
Water
Butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Mustard packet (Optional)
Microwave-safe tupperware
Strainer

Directions:

1.  Cook pasta by placing one cup of pasta into microwave-safe bowl or tupperware, and add about 1 1/2 cups of water.  Cover and cook for three minutes before checking on pasta.  Keep adding one minute until pasta is fully cooked.  Strain and return to bowl.

macandcheese

2.  In another microwave-safe bowl or tupperware, place 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter and microwave until melted.  Add 1/4 cup of milk to the butter and heat for 30 seconds.  (At this time you may add salt and pepper, and mustard if desired.  If you add mustard, heat for another ten seconds.)  Add 1/2 cup of cheese and mix.  Heat until cheese is melted (ten second intervals).  Add remaining cheese (about 1/4 cup) and heat until melted.

macandcheesesauce

3.  Mix pasta and cheese together and enjoy!

IMG_0220

*You can also add bacon, grilled chicken, and other toppings to jazz up this favorite!
**Also, after you’ve mixed the pasta and cheese together, put a little sprinkling of shredded cheese on top with some panko breadcrumbs and pop in the microwave for another 30 seconds…do it!

Where you can get supplies:

Microwave-safe bowls and tupperware can be found at Target, Stop and Shop, and other local supermarkets.  You can also find microwave-safe storage containers online at Amazon.com.  They can usually be found individually for about $3-$4, but also come in sets of 10 + for about $20.

Strainers can be found at any local supermarket, Target, or dollar store.  Salt, pepper, and ketchup packets can often be found in the cafeteria at the SAC.

Cost Breakdown:

Milk: $3.29
Butter: $4.99
Pasta: $1.49

As we discussed in Two-Minute French Toast, one egg costs .29¢ and a teaspoon of butter is .15¢. Milk cannot adequately be calculated, so we just kind of have to round up to .15¢ since the amount we’re using is so small.  The real cost we’re looking to determine is the pasta.  One cup of pasta makes two servings.  Eight ½ cup servings come in a box, meaning there are four 1 cup servings.  So, a one cup serving is .37¢.

THIS ENTIRE MEAL COST YOU: .81¢…that’s less than $1!

So, even though the ingredients for this recipe cost you $9.77 (assuming you did not already have butter and milk in your dorm), pasta lasts so long as you keep it in a dry place (i.e. tupperware, mason jar, etc.).

And that’s how The Savvy Student does Mac and Cheese on a budget :)!

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