The microwave is a truly versatile addition to any kitchen.
Most of us rely on it for the workhorse tasks of reheating or defrosting. With a little imagination, though, it’s simple to rustle up meals with all the flavor of something more laboriously produced in a slow cooker.
If you fancy extending your repertoire beyond breathing life into a tired coffee or nuking unambitious microwave meals, read on…
Remember: the microwave is perfectly capable of bona fide cooking. We usually think that crispy textures and rich flavors are the domain of regular ovens with the dry heat they kick out. Think again!
Take note, too, that the microwave is a perfectly safe addition to your cooking arsenal. Urban myths about microwave ovens being harmful to food and health are baseless.
1. Cinnamon Oatmeal
This breakfast is not only simple and nutritious but extremely tasty.
As with many recipes, you can customize it according to taste. Add some fruit or nuts. Eliminate boredom from the equation. Give your tastebuds a treat.
- Quick oats (1/2 cup)
- Skim milk (3/4 cup)
- Honey (2 tbsp)
- Pinch of salt
- Cinnamon (1 tsp)
- Microwave milk and oats for 2 minutes (or until your preferred consistency is achieved)
- Mix in salt, cinnamon and honey
- Stir and serve
2. Ham & Cheese Hash Browns
Fancy a hearty meal packed with protein and carbs? This classic is also a great way to make use of leftover ham for maximum effect. Plated up in fifteen minutes, this redefines simplicity.
- Frozen hash brown potatoes with peppers and onions
- Chicken broth (1/3 cup)
- Drained artichoke hearts (1/2 cup)
- Pinch of black pepper
- Chunks of ham (3 oz)
- Monterey Jack cheese (2 oz)
- Put potatoes and broth in a casserole dish, cover with lid
- Microwave on HIGH for 12 minutes stirring after 6 minutes
- Uncover dish, stir in remaining ingredients and sprinkle with cheese
- Finish off for 1 minute uncovered on HIGH
3. Cod with Fennel & Orange
Choose this delicious dish as an entrée or a light main course. The delicate licorice flavor of the fennel complements the orange beautifully.
Make sure to use Ziploc bags which are safe to microwave and dioxin-free.
- 2 cod fillets (6 oz)
- Fennel (1 cup, thinly sliced)
- Fennel fronds (2 tsp finely chopped)
- Salt (1/2 tsp)
- Extra virgin olive oil (1 tsp)
- Unsalted butter (1 tsp)
- Dry white wine (2 tbsp)
- Orange segments (1/3 cup)
- Crushed red pepper (1/4 tsp)
- Thyme (4 sprigs)
- 4 strips orange rind
- Garlic cloves (2, thinly sliced)
- Sprinkle fish with salt and place in 2 Ziploc bags
- Place orange segments, fennel fronds and olive oil to one side
- Divide all other ingredients between 2 bags then press out air and seal
- Microwave on MEDIUM HIGH for 5 minutes
- Cool 2 minutes
- Remove from bags, plate up, add the remaining ingredients and drizzle with olive oil
4. Bacon & Cheddar Smashed Potatoes
Here is another superb way to pep up carbohydrate-rich potatoes in the microwave.
Get maximum taste with minimum fuss.
- Baking potatoes (4, peeled and cut into small pieces)
- Bacon (1 slice, cooked and crumbled)
- Sour cream (1/2 cup)
- Skim milk (1/2 cup)
- Shredded cheddar cheese (1/4 cup)
- Fresh minced chives (2 tbsp)
- Pinch of salt and black pepper
- Put potato pieces in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and make slit through center
- Microwave on high for 10 minutes, stand for 2 minutes
- Mix in sour cream and other ingredients, mash to desired consistency
5. Perfect Poached Eggs
Poached eggs are sumptuous but can be tedious to prepare. No more!
This is an incredibly rapid and practically foolproof method.
Warning: Make certain to prick the egg yolk with a toothpick before cooking to prevent it exploding.
- 1 large egg
- Water (1/3 cup)
- White vinegar (1/8 tsp)
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Add white vinegar and water to a small cup
- Break in the egg, prick yolk with toothpick, loosely cover with plastic wrap
- Microwave for 1 minute
- Remove egg with slotted spoon, sprinkle with salt and pepper, serve with toast
6. Peanut Butter & Banana Burrito
PB and banana is a timeless combination.
While we usually associate a burrito with savory flavors, the introduction of sweet elements gives it a unique twist.
Ideal at any time of day and simply couldn’t be much quicker or fuss-free. There is no excuse to eat poorly with a microwave in the kitchen.
- 1 whole wheat tortilla
- Raspberry jam (1 tbsp)
- Reduced fat peanut butter (1 tbsp)
- 1/2 medium banana
- Shredded coconut (1 tsp)
- Spread peanut butter and jam evenly over tortilla on flat surface
- Sprinkle over the coconut
- Place banana on edge of tortilla and roll so enclosed
- Wrap inside paper towel, microwave for 30 seconds
- Break it out and enjoy!
7. Homemade Popcorn
Popcorn is traditionally absolutely laden with butter.
The best foods of any nature are usually homemade. Microwave popcorn is no exception.
If speed is of the essence then make yourself an awesome snack to enjoy with your movie in less time than heading to the store takes.
- Canola oil (1/2 tsp)
- Popcorn kernels (1/4 cup)
- Mix popcorn kernels and oil in glass bowl
- Cover with plate and microwave on HIGH for 3-4 minutes
- Remove, season to taste and serve
8. Ravioli & Ripe Tomatoes
Pasta is versatile and easy to cook but simpler still in the microwave.
If you cannot find microwavable ravioli then frozen pasta is an ideal substitute.
- Microwavable cheese ravioli (1 bag)
- Ripe tomatoes (1 1/2 lbs)
- Freshly grated lemon peel (1/4 tsp)
- Basil leaves (1/2 cup)
- Extra virgin olive oil (3 tbsp)
- Grated fresh Parmesan (1/4 cup)
- Salt and cracked black pepper
- Set aside pasta and Parmesan
- Place all other ingredients in a bowl and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes
- Cook ravioli in microwave following directions on packet: times may vary slightly
- Add pasta to sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan and serve with garlic bread
9. Microwave Chocolate Fondue
Chocolate fondue has an elaborate and decadent ring to it.
In addition to the incredible taste, confectionery rich in cocoa has many health benefits. Blood pressure can be controlled, the healthy flow of blood promoted and there are also benefits for cardiovascular health.
Be indulgent. Treat yourself and your body.
- Bittersweet chocolate chips (1/2 cup)
- Skim milk (1/4 cup)
- Fresh fruit to taste (4 cups)
- Combine chocolate and milk in a bowl and microwave for 1 minute
- Remove bowl, stir chocolate until smooth and serve with fruit
Enjoy these 9 great ideas and extract the very most from your microwave oven.