4 Quick Microwave Meals You’ll Actually Want to Eat

My kitchen has been under construction for the last couple of months. It was completely gutted and renovated. We were lucky enough to escape the heavy demolition period and stay at my in-laws’ vacation house for a month this summer. But we came home to another four weeks of construction before our beautiful new dream kitchen was complete. That means I’ve spent a month cooking meals in a microwave in my garage. That’s totally as awesome as it sounds.

Over the last month, I’ve found several microwave meal products that I never would have even looked at in the grocery store before. And they’re actually pretty good! Since I know we are all busy, especially now that the kids are back in school and sports and activities are in full swing, I thought I’d share my newfound microwavable treasures. Hopefully they will save you some time and energy on those hectic nights this fall.

5-Minute Pulled Pork or Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Try Curly’s Pulled Pork or Pulled Chicken for instant barbecue sandwiches. They take about 5 minutes to microwave. Throw it on a hamburger bun and you’ve got a tender barbecue sandwich that would have taken you a lot more effort to do on your own. Our kids actually got excited for this meal each time we had it, and that’s not always easy to accomplish. We served it with a side of Simply Potatoes Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

Where I found it: HyVee Refrigerated Foods Section

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8-Minute General Tso’s Chicken

General Tso’s Chicken from the microwave was great for satisfying a Chinese food craving without having to wait for takeout. And it cost a lot less to feed the family than it would cost from a restaurant. This family pack of General Tso’s Chicken from InnovAsian Cuisine is a little sweet and a little spicy. Though it’s not the best I’ve ever had, it can compete with some restaurant quality Chinese food, and that’s pretty good for coming out of your microwave in just a few minutes. It takes about 8 minutes to cook. Add another 6 minutes to your cook time if you are using InnovAsian Cuisine’s White Sticky Rice to go with it.

Where I found it: Walmart Refrigerated Foods Section

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2-Minute Madras Lentil “Chili” with Rice

My daughter’s favorite of all of our microwave meals was Tasty Bite Madras Lentils served over rice. It’s completely vegetarian, but tastes a lot like chili, with a similar texture to chili made with ground beef as well. This takes one minute to cook in the microwave. Add one more minute with pre-cooked, ready to serve rice from Minute Rice and you’re good to go with a complete meal in two minutes. It doesn’t get much more convenient than that! This was a favorite of ours before our renovation, too. We discovered it through the wonders of Costco samples (the reason my kids LOVE going to Costco). And, with just a 2 minute prep, it makes a great workday lunch, too.

Where I found it: Costco and HyVee’s Asian food aisle

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4-Minute Chicken Tikka Masala

Sukhi’s Chicken Tikka Masala has a creamy tomato based tikka masala sauce and chicken that is good enough quality that you don’t expect it to have come out of your microwave. It only takes four minutes to cook and it’s great with a side of InnovAsian Sticky White Rice or some naan bread. You can find naan at Costco and HyVee in their refrigerated food sections. If you add the rice, your microwave cook time increases by about 6 minutes. Dinner for the family in 10 minutes sounds pretty good to me!

Where I found it: Costco’s refrigerated foods section

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Side note: With all of these, we added bags of steam-in-the-bag frozen vegetables from the frozen foods section at the grocery store. Most take about 6-8 minutes to cook.

There you have it – four meals that tasted good enough that I was shocked they came out of my microwave. With no actual effort for prep or cooking! I hope they make a few of your evenings a little easier.


Laura is a mom of three who works full-time from home as a Development Director for a children’s charity. Laura grew up in Maryland, spent her 20s living in Southern California and South Carolina, and has spent her 30s and now 40s in Iowa, moving to Iowa City in 2010. Laura loves dancing, reading, baking, and music. She and her husband Ryan started dating in college (gasp – over 20 years ago!) and they have been sharing life’s adventures ever since. Their biggest adventure is, of course, parenthood. With three kids, the action is non-stop - which is just the way Laura likes it.


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