The easiest and most delicious pumpkin mac and cheese you’ve ever had – in just five minutes!
Growing up in the 80’s, microwave cookery was a big part of my culinary experience. My parents had this hulking beast of a microwave – the kind of microwave that you’d be afraid to stand in front of while it was running – that was physically attached to the stove. Certainly not all of our meals were microwaved, but a good number of things came out that way. It wasn’t until I moved away to university that I discovered it was possible to cook scrambled eggs without a microwave. Or oatmeal. Or peanut brittle. Or chocolate sauce.
These days my microwave is more or less reserved for heating things, like my morning mug of tea that I invariably forget somewhere and have to nuke for 30 seconds to get back to an acceptable temp, or melting things, like butter for popcorn or chocolate for brownies. And I’m a recent convert to the mug cake game (seriously, what took me so long?!).
But today I’m going to ask you to be brave. To silence your inner hippy, wake your inner 80’s child, and embrace a little microwave cookery, as it were. Because this, this is going to be worth it.
Friends, I have on offer something truly spectacular today. A single serving of macaroni and cheese that can go from start to shovelling hot cheesy goodness into your face in just five minutes. That’s right, you heard me. Mac and cheese. Single serve. Just. Five. Minutes.
I wish I could claim to be the genius who first thought of this, but lo, I am not. I stumbled across the recipe here, and immediately upon seeing it went out and bought the one ingredient not already in my home – elbow macaroni noodles. I tested it, high-fived my microwave, and then set about making it my own.
The original recipe is awesome. You should make it. In fact you should probably make it before you try my pumpkinified version so you know what the benchmark should be like. And then try this version because it’s October and October is about all the pumpkin things and this is that.
Mac and cheese is always a bit on the indulgent side, but that’s the beauty of a single serve recipe. No leftovers to taunt you. If I had known about this in the first trimester it would have saved me from a looooootttta servings of boxed mac and cheese (<– actually probably not, but it still would have been good to know about).
I’ve made this version slightly more healthy by swapping out half of the cheese with pumpkin puree. It’s every bit as creamy, got that great pumpkin flavour, and just tastes like fall, you know? Plus pumpkin gives it that great orange cheddar colour without any actual scary orange colouring, which might even make you forgive the microwave part.
- ⅓ cup elbow macaroni noodles (uncooked)
- a scant ½ cup water
- a scant ¼ cup milk
- ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese*
- ⅛ tsp cornstarch*
- 1 Tbsp pumpkin purée
- the tiniest pinch of nutmeg (optional)
- Place the macaroni noodles and the water into a large mug. Microwave on full power for 2 minutes. Stir. The water will probably have boiled over a bit. Don't worry, it's all part of the process. Just wipe it up and move on.
- Microwave for another minute. Give the noodles a good stir.
- Microwave for another minute, and then check to see that all the water has been absorbed.
- Stir in the milk, cornstarch, shredded cheese, and pumpkin purée. Microwave for a final minute.
- Stir well, and let stand for about 30 seconds to a minute. Stir again. Enjoy.
-Use elbow macaroni - anything bigger won't cook quickly enough. If you're using really tiny macaroni it may be cooked after 3 minutes - just check after every time when you stop and stir.
*If using pre-packaged shredded cheese you can leave out the cornstarch
-Also, I'm totally aware that a Tbsp of pumpkin purée is a totally obnoxious amount to ask for. If you don't have a can of pumpkin on the go, you can leave it out and double the cheese instead.