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Chef's Hat: For quick cleanup, make it in a mug

In the last week or two I received several emails with recipes for preparing dishes in a mug.

This is not practical if you're feeding a crowd, but if you're cooking for just one or two people, I found these recipes are simple, quick and easy, and quite good.

Cooking in a mug is great for several reasons. What is really nice about preparing a dish this way is the cleanup. Very few dishes are involved when putting together a meal in a mug. So cleanup can be as easy as washing one mug and one spoon.

I recommend using a large mug or a soup mug when preparing your mug recipes. And make sure to use a "microwaveable" mug.

There are numerous recipes for one-serving cakes and brownies, but you can prepare much more than desserts with just a few ingredients, a mug and a microwave. And let's face it, if the recipe doesn't work out, it's not like you have a lot of time, effort or ingredients involved.

Mug meals are great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. And for those nights when you're just cooking for one or two, or if you're hungry and need something to eat in a hurry, dig out that mug and get cooking.

This is a great way to spend less time cooking and more time outside enjoying our great fall weather. Happy Eating!

Italian Meatball Stew

Adapted from "250 Best Meals in a Mug: Delicious Homemade Microwave Meals in Minutes"

  • 4 frozen meatballs (or use leftover meatballs from a previous meal)
  • ½ cup marinara or spaghetti sauce
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • 1/3 cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • Fresh parsley (optional)
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Place meatballs and vegetables in the mug and microwave for 1 to 2 minutes until meatballs and vegetables are thawed.

In a mixing cup, stir together the marinara (or spaghetti sauce), beef broth, thyme, salt and pepper. Mix well. Pour over the meatball/vegetable mixture.

Microwave another 1 to 2 minutes until stew is heated through. (Heat longer if you want your stew warmer.)

Remove from microwave and sprinkle parsley and shredded Parmesan cheese on the top.

French Toast in a Mug

Adapted from www.stephsbitebybite.com

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread or some type of crusty bread, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ banana, sliced into ¼-inch pieces
  • Maple or your choice of syrup

Layer half the bread cubes in a coffee mug. Top with 1/2 of the banana slices. Layer with the remaining bread cubes and top it off with the rest of the banana.

In a small bowl whisk the egg, milk, applesauce, cinnamon and vanilla together. Pour over the top of bananas and bread. Place mug in microwave and cook on high for 2 minutes.

Remove from microwave and top with your choice of syrup.

Single-Serving Blueberry Muffin

Adapted from wellfloured.com

Muffin:

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ¼ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Topping:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

For the muffin: In a microwave-safe mug combine the flour, baking powder and sugar. Mix until combined. Add the canola oil and milk and stir until everything is well mixed. Place the berries on top of the mixture.

To make the topping: In a small bowl mix together the canola oil, flour and sugars.

Sprinkle the topping over the blueberries.

Microwave on high for 90 seconds. Let the muffin cool for a minute or two before eating.

Scrambled Eggs in a Mug

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons shredded cheese (your choice; colby, cheddar or Swiss always go well in this recipe)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Spray the inside of a 12-ounce mug with nonstick cooking spray. If you do not have a large mug you can use a bowl.

Add eggs and milk. Beat with a fork until well mixed. Add the cheese and mix slightly.

Microwave on high for 45 seconds; remove from microwave and stir. Microwave an additional 30 to 45 seconds longer.

Remove from microwave and season with salt and pepper.

One Serving Mac & Cheese

  • 1/3 cup pasta (bow tie pasta works well in this recipe)
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup shredded cheese (cheddar works well, or a combination of cheddar and Swiss)
  • 1 tablespoon butter

In a large mug, combine pasta and water. Microwave for 2 minutes, remove, stir and check to see if pasta is soft. Cook an additional minute, remove, stir and again check pasta. Cook in one-minute intervals until water is absorbed and noodles are soft. This usually takes 4 to 6 minutes.

Once noodles are cooked, add cheese, milk and butter. Stir. Put back in microwave and cook an additional minute. Remove and serve.

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