3 Healthy Mug Meals with Chicken

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Do you set the same goal every year to eat healthier? If you don’t change your habits and your environment, then you’ll find yourself stuck in the same place come next year. Sometimes though, despite best efforts, life gets in the way, making it impossible to put healthy eating at the top of the priority list. One solution is mug meals.

Whether you’re a novice in the kitchen, need super-quick meals with minimal cleanup or are cooking for just one or two, mug meals (all made in the microwave) are sure to keep you on track with your goals. You can cook a batch of quinoa in the microwave to eat throughout the week, plus find ways to enjoy it with leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken.

To make things even faster, prep all of your ingredients on your designated meal-prep day (a wonderful habit to develop) so that they’re all ready for you when you need them. You can also amp up the nutritional value by serving these mug meals alongside raw or prepared vegetables.

As you experiment and become more familiar with preparing meals in a microwave, you’ll learn that the possibilities are endless. It’s a wonderful way to repurpose leftovers, and in less than 5 minutes, you can sit down to a healthy and portioned meal you can feel good about eating.

I’d like to include a note about microwave ovens. Since every microwave is different and cooks at a different rate, it may take you some extra time in the beginning. I suggest setting the power level at medium (if possible) and keeping a close eye on the microwave. But don’t worry! Once you try several times, you’ll become an expert in no time.

Quinoa

Place quinoa in a microwave-safe container (I used a Pyrex one) and add 1 cup of water. Cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the water starts boiling. Set aside for 15 to 20 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed. Cook for an additional 2 to 4 minutes until all of the water is absorbed.

Tex-Mex Chicken Quinoa (pictured above)

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 cup diced red onion

1/2 cup cooked chicken, roughly chopped

1/4 cup black beans

2 tablespoons salsa

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 cup cooked quinoa Salt and pepper, season to taste

Toppings: avocado, cheese, cilantro, freshly squeezed lime juice

Directions:

In a large mug, combine oil and red onion. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, until softened. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir, and microwave for another minute or two. Serve with toppings of choice.

Per serving: Calories 393; Fat 11g (Saturated 1g); Sodium 266 mg; Carbohydrate 37 g; Fiber 7 g; Protein 36 g

Curried Chicken Quinoa

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 cup diced red onion

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup diced carrot

1/2 cup cooked chicken, roughly chopped

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 cup cooked quinoa

Salt to taste

Cilantro (optional)

Directions:

In a large mug, combine oil, onion, celery and carrot. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the rest of the ingredients and microwave for another minute or two, until heated through.

Per serving: Calories 361; Fat 11 g (Saturated 1 g); Sodium 173 mg; Carbohydrate 31 g; Fiber 6 g; Protein 33 g

Sweet Potato Chicken Breakfast Hash

Ingredients:

1/4 cup diced sweet potatoes

1 tablespoon water

1/2 cup cooked chicken, roughly chopped

1/4 teaspoon paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

1 egg

Toppings: salsa, cheese, avocado

Directions:

Add sweet potatoes to a wide mug with water and microwave for 2 to 5 minutes until tender. Stir in chicken, paprika, salt and pepper.

Microwave for a minute until warmed. Carefully crack egg on top. Sprinkle a little water on top of egg and microwave for about 30 seconds to a minute, until the egg white is solid but the yolk is still runny. Serve immediately with toppings of choice.

Per serving: Calories 261; Fat 9 g (Saturated 2 g); Sodium 137 mg; Carbohydrate 9 g; Fiber 1 g; Protein 34 g

Min Kwon, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian who specializes in food sensitivities. She has a passion for translating the science of nutrition into real-life, applicable advice and tips. In her healthy food blog, The Adventures of MJ and Hungryman, she focuses on sharing simple yet healthy recipes made from wholesome, REAL foods.