Meals in a Mug: Microwave Cooking

I’ve heard of this here and there, but today NPR confirmed the trend: cooking lunch (or breakfast, or dessert) in your coffee mug…in the microwave. Think it’s crazy? I’ve tried it for brownies, and it actually works, albeit in a single serving size. Maybe I’m ready to try scrambled eggs or mac ‘n cheese, too…would you?


Listen to the radio story here. And check out two recipes they offered up!

Recipe: Mac & Cheese With Mushrooms In An Office Mug

(based on a recipe on the Kitchn)

  • 1/4 cup macaroni pasta
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons dried shiitake mushrooms, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons roasted tomato salsa
  • 1/2 teaspoon flour

Combine the pasta, water and salt in a large microwave-safe mug.

Microwave on high in 2-minute intervals until the pasta is al dente, stirring between each interval. This should take about 6 to 8 minutes total. If the pasta absorbs all the water before it is cooked, add another 2 tablespoons of water.

Stir in the milk, cheese, mushrooms, salsa and flour. Microwave on high in 30-second intervals until the cheese has melted into a creamy sauce, stirring between each interval, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes total. For a creamier sauce, add an extra tablespoon or two of milk and cheese.

Recipe: Brownie In An Office Mug

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter (may substitute peanut butter or Nutella)
  • 2 tablespoons milk (or water)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon slivered almonds

Combine the butter, almond butter and milk in a large microwave-safe mug, and microwave on low for a few seconds, just until the butter melts. Stir to thoroughly combine, then sprinkle in the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Stir to combine. Microwave on high for about 1 minute.

Grow Your Own Way · News

Rooftop farming in the city

Have you heard about this? A group of would-be farmers has leased the rooftop at the Boston Design Center for what will be 40,000 square feet of urban growing space, creating Boston’s first rooftop farm.

Located along the new South Boston Waterfront district, Higher Ground Farm eventually wants to offer a CSA, supply restaurants, and even host a farmer’s market. They hope to grow 100,000 pounds of produce in the 2013 season.

Why a rooftop farm? It’s keeps food growers close to their consumers, and can mitigate the effects of climate change by helping to reduce the urban heat island effect in major metropolitan areas. Green roofs reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat, and take up otherwise wasted space in many urban settings. They can also reduce storm water runoff, improve overall air quality, attract diverse insects and birds, and — of course — improve access to fresh, healthy produce for all, which may reduce food insecurity.

Sounds like they hope this will be the first of many such rooftop farms in Boston. I know these already exist in Brooklyn, Europe and Canada — is there one near you? Have you ever been to one?

And if you are Boston-local, there’s a benefit tonight for Higher Ground, with tickets still available. Register here! It sounds like a rad time.


Black Bean Brownies

A coworker shared this recipe with me the other day, and I had to post it for Valentine’s Day. He claims they came out really well. Would YOU try brownies made from black beans?

Courtesy: Oh Taste N See

Find the full recipe here. It’s low fat and sugar free. Something tells me Mr. McGriddle wouldn’t put up with these.


Soy Chorizo Chili

I got this recipe from Food to Run For. It sounded easy and hearty for a cold winter day, and what better opportunity for comfort food than Blizzard 2013! Plus, it gave me a chance to break out my new, red Le Creuset, which Mark got me for Christmas. Ogle the beauty:

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You only need a few simple ingredients — sweet potatoes, red onion, black beans, chorizo, broth and salsa — and then it simmers on your stovetop for an hour or more, filling the house with yummy smells. And it’s versatile, so if you don’t care about keeping it vegetarian, you can swap the meat and the broth to suit your taste.

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Soy Chorizo Chili


  • 2 cups of chopped sweet potato
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 Package of Soy Chorizo from Trader Joe’s, removed from the casing
  • 1 1/2 cups chunky salsa, mild or medium
  • 1 14-oz. can black beans
  • 1 cup veggie broth
  • Water, if needed to thin out the chili
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

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In a large stock pot, simmer all the ingredients except the water, broth and seasonings for at least one hour. After an hour, taste for salt and pepper and add broth. Turn up the heat with medium salsa instead of mild, or a splash of hot sauce; or keep it mild like we do. And, if you don’t care about it being vegetarian, you can add in spicy sausage or even use chicken broth instead of veggie.

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One important note about using a Le Creuset: you must coat the bottom of the pot with a fat, whether butter, olive oil, or a combination of the two like I used here. I sauteed the chopped red onion for a few minutes while I prepped the sweet potato. I found that two cups of sweet potato amounted to just about what you’d yield from chopping one large sweet potato (peeled, of course).

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If you buy the soy chorizo from Trader Joe’s, which I highly recommend, you have to remove the casing before using it. It ends up having a crumbly texture that’s perfect for chili.

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A little bit messy, but so worth it!

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Another important note about cooking with Cast Iron: you really, really can’t start cooking over high and then turn down the heat like you do with normal cookware to get the pan hot, as cast iron retains heat extraordinarily well and it’ll ruin your food if you do that. Start over LOW and then turn up a tiny bit if you need it. These cook so evenly and efficiently, it takes getting used to.

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I added in the broth bit by bit, so I could see how it was absorbing before adding too much. If you prefer it more liquid-y than I do, you can add all the broth and even some water too.

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I also covered mine for a bit to help the liquid absorb. You can leave it uncovered for sure.

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It’s done whenever the sweet potato chunks are nice and tender but not falling apart!

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Serve it plain or topped with sour cream or Greek yogurt. Delicious.

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I like this recipe even better than the Real Simple Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chili I made last Valentine’s Day (what was I thinking, making chili for Valentine’s Day??) You can tell I’m not a newlywed I guess. We also went to the Bruins game and drank 6 beers and two plates of nachos between us instead of hitting a nice dinner, so you can see where our priorities lie.

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I realized after making this that the soy chorizo might be the perfect taco filling that I’ve been searching for since becoming vegetarian. You wouldn’t even need to season it; it has that taco seasoning flavor going for it already, with just a touch of heat.

The heat in this mellows a bit if you reheat the next day, making it the perfect candidate for leftovers. I served it topped with sour cream for Mark, and plain Greek yogurt for me. That was a delicious substitution which I highly recommend!


Enjoy this flavorful, filling dish to take the bite out of winter.