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Dorm-Room Microwave Creamy Queso Spaghetti: close-up of a heaping serving amid piles of notes and geeky stuff.
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Dorm-Room Microwave Queso Spaghetti

Dorm-Room Microwave Creamy Queso Spaghetti involves just a few ingredients and is done in under 15 minutes. Perfect for office cubicles, dorm rooms, or anywhere that kitchen space is at a premium.
Course Entree
Cuisine American/Comfort Food
Keyword college cooking, college food, dorm-room cooking, dorm-room food, microwave cooking, microwave meal
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 4 oz spaghetti dry (see Recipe Note #1)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/8 tsp salt (kosher or other coarse salt)
  • 1/2 cup milk (I like whole, but low-fat or skim will work as well)
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper freshly ground
  • 1/2 cup American cheese shredded (see Recipe Note #2)
  • 1/4 cup tomatoes finely diced and drained (see Recipe Note #4)
  • 1/4 cup roast green chiles finely diced and drained (mild; see Recipe Note #4)
  • 1/2 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese shredded (see Recipe Note #3)

OPTIONAL ADDITIONS

  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce (see Recipe Note #5)
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 cup cooked chicken cubed

Instructions

COOKING THE PASTA

  • Lay the spaghetti in the bottom of the pasta cooker. Add the water and salt, then put in the microwave (lid off!) on high for 2 minutes. Carefully remove the pasta cooker and stir the noodles with a fork, being careful to break up any clumps of spaghetti that might be forming. Return to the microwave and continue cooking and checking every 2 minutes, breaking up any pasta clumps as needed.
  • At 6 minutes (total), carefully remove a noodle and check for doneness. It should be al dente, or slightly firm when you bite it. When you’re happy with the texture, put the lid back on the pasta cooker and carefully drain all but about 2 tbsp of the water: any more than this will make a runny sauce.

MAKING THE CHEESE SAUCE

  • Add the milk, pepper, onion powder (if using), hot sauce (if using), chicken (if using), and American cheese to the pasta cooker. Stir well to combine (the cheese should melt quickly). Stir in the tomatoes and chiles. Return cooker to the microwave and cook, uncovered, for an additional 30 seconds. Add in the cheddar cheese and stir well to combine. Lid the pasta cooker and let the spaghetti sit for 2 minutes.
  • Give the dorm-room microwave queso spaghetti a good stir and garnish with additional black pepper, if you'd like. Enjoy!

Notes

A general safety note: use extreme caution when using the microwave to cook pasta to avoid steam burns. Watch as the pasta cooks to make sure that the liquid doesn't boil over. If it does, turn the microwave off and wait for the liquid to stop boiling before attempting to remove the cooker. Use hot pads!
  1. If you have a Fasta Pasta cooker, you can use the 2-serving hole in the lid to measure. Or, use the hole in the center of a standard pasta spoon to measure one serving at a time. You can also make a ~1.5-inch-diameter hole using your index finger and thumb to measure 2 servings of pasta. 
  2. Use the American cheese that you find sold at the deli counter. Buy a block and grate it yourself: the pre-bagged, shredded kind will not give you good results. 
  3. Don't use bagged, pre-shredded cheese: these contain extras (like cornstarch) to keep the shreds from clumping, which will ruin the sauce.
  4. You can use canned diced tomatoes and chiles, or a mix like Ro-Tel (use the "no salt added" variety). If you're using a mix, drain well and measure 1/2 cup.
  5. I like Cholula hot sauce, but sriracha or really just about any hot sauce will work.
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