The Three P's and a C
It's Pasta, Popcorn, Peanut Butter and Carrots. If this is all you have in your fridge, well you are in luck because we are going to prepare dinner and dessert with these four ingredients. If you want it to be a wee bit fancier, and you have some oil, sugar, salt, vanilla and soy sauce-wow- have we got some mind blowing tricks for you.
These meals are ideal for the college student who doesn't have access to an oven and only a microwave. Actually, we did a poll on Because I Said So, and these were the most common ingredients in college student dorms. If you are stuck in your dorms in lockdown and need something quick, easy, filling and delicious -then read on. If you're home and have bare bones for groceries, chances are you have these ingredients on hand.
Pasta- It is true...you can microwave pasta. I know, mind blown. Now, if you have the choice of a big pot of simmering pasta or the microwave and you're not pressed for time, then choose the pot. But, sometimes that isn't a choice and there is no judgement in using the microwave. Unless of course your Gordon Ramsay, and I can honestly say he would judge. Check out this peanut butter pasta recipe and I promise, it's going to be on repeat.
Nut Butter Pasta (we used soy nut butter as our family is allergic to peanut butter)
6 oz pasta (about half a box)
Water-enough to cover pasta at least 2-3 inches over the pasta (use a bowl that can accommodate).
2 TBSP nut butter (preferably natural PB, but if all you have is JIF then go for it)
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 tsp. oil (sesame is great but canola/vegetable oil works too-olive probably not)
1/2 TBSP maple syrup (honey works) if you are using PB like Jif you may not want any syrup at all as the nut butter is already pretty sweet
Sriracha-if you like a little heat 1 tsp. will do the trick
1-2 TBSP water (depending on how thick or thin you like your sauce)
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar (breaks up sweetness a bit)
Place bowl of pasta and water on a plate in the microwave- plate prevents the starchy water from getting all over the place.
Set microwave for 5 minutes
Stir pasta (scoop out a little of the pasta water.
Put back in microwave for another 5 minutes.
If the pasta isn't cooked and water is gone, then add more water.
After pasta is cooked-add the pasta water you saved and mix it in to the noodles.
Add the nut butter sauce (either the sauce below, or just plain peanut butter)
Have any leftover takeout chicken lying around? Throw it in for an extra boost of protein.
You are ready to eat!!
Nut Butter Sauce
Combine the peanut butter, maple syrup, soy sauce, water and oil in a microwave safe bowl.
Heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds until peanut butter is soft and melty.
Mix the sauce until well combined.
Pour over pasta
Drizzle the Sriracha sauce or any kind of hot sauce.
Plain Nut Butter Sauce
We tried this method, and we have to say, that the above nut butter topping was way better. If you don't have any of those ingredients, we would combine 3 TBSP of nut butter with a little water so it's not too thick and microwave until it's melty. Still delicious, just not as "fancy."
What About the Carrots?
Here's what you can do. Shred, dice, cut into sticks and sprinkle on top for that extra crunch. Fancy edition- Spread carrots (don't even need to cut them) out on a foil lined baking tray or tin. Drizzle olive oil and rub it in to carrots, sprinkle salt and roast them for 30 min. on 425 degrees till they are golden brown and caramelized.
Peanut Butter Drizzle Popcorn
Did you know you can pop popcorn in an ordinary brown paper lunch bag? Yup it's true. If you don't like microwave popcorn, just get plain kernels and place 1/3 cup in a small paper bag, fold the top down and microwave for approximately 3 minutes. Voila! Popcorn.
1 bowl Popcorn ( Microwave works-no judgement)
1-2 tsp. sugar (we used coconut sugar-you can use any sugar you have)
1 TBSP butter (we used earth balance vegan butter)
1 TBSP natural peanut butter (if you are using non natural aka JIF, you can probably skip the sugar)
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
*chocolate chips-see below
Non "Fancy" Version
1/4 -1/2 cup natural peanut butter ( all depends on how much you like)
* chocolate chips-If you have them they make a nice addition. Sprinkle them on after the popcorn has cooled otherwise they get very melty.
30-40 seconds in microwave until melted
Drizzle over popcorn
Add some chips (optional)
A few notes
DO NOT USE PLASTIC! You want your peanut butter to be melty, not your bowl.
Also, believe it or not-from a nutrition standpoint, pasta, peanut butter, popcorn and carrots all provide good sources of carb, protein, fiber and healthy fat.
*We used gluten free pasta-just so you know, it has a lot more starch than ordinary pasta and the pasta water will be milkier and thicker
Check out our video on YouTube