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Easy dishes in the microwave

It’s always been there for us—a trusty tool, always ready to heat a cold dinner in a flash, warm some milk or even create a great meal from scratch, in no time at all. The microwave has changed how we cook, offering shortcuts and hacks to make cooking a cinch. 

However, most people don’t utilize the full capacity of a microwave, using it only to defrost and heat foods. Read on to learn how to get the most out of your microwave when you have the least time available. 

After years of testing and experimenting with the best ways to use a microwave, here are some of my top ways to use a microwave to create a healthy, quick meal:

  • Replace your steamer

    • My favorite steamed dish: fish in papillote
      • Cooking fish in parchment paper eliminates the need for extra fat or oil, makes no mess if sealed properly, and gives you a flavorful meal of moist, delicious fish 
  • Replace your oven 

    • My favorite baked dish: Baked potato
      • When you need something filling and satisfying, a baked potato can do the job well. Avoid a long cooking time in the oven by using the microwave, and you’ll have a baked potato in around 12 minutes! Replace your stovetop
    • My favorite cooked dish: scrambled eggs
      • Did you know you can have a plate of scrambled eggs in under a couple of minutes thanks to your microwave? Add some veggies from your fridge and you’ll have a lightning-quick meal full of protein and nutrients.  If you need even more ideas for vegetarian dishes, check out this post on vegetarian alternatives to meat
  • Replace your stovetop

    • My favorite dish: Veggies with cheese 
      • Yes, you can definitely cook your frozen veggies on the stovetop or steamer, but cooking them in the microwave is not only the shortest way, it best conserves the nutrients of the vegetables by limiting the cooking time. You can follow the cooking instructions on the package for cooking the veggies, in addition to adding a bit of salt, pepper and olive oil. Then, after a short time microwaving the vegetables, you can add some cheese on top to melt. This makes an exquisite light meal or snack! 
  • Replace a water bath

    • My favorite pastry hack: melted chocolate
      • Melting chocolate in a water bath over the stove takes way too much time in comparison to melting it at 20% power a few times in the microwave

Now that you have some ideas of how you can be using your microwave, it’s important to check the features of your microwave to visualize the capacities of your specific model. It’s also good to keep in mind in case you’re in the market for a new microwave one day soon. 

There are three main things I look for in a microwave: power, size and convection cooking. While there are many other features you can also have in a microwave, I find these three are essential features for a  powerful, useful microwave. Look for power of at least 900 Watts, a size of at least 27 Liters if you like to cook larger quantities, and a convection cooking setting, which allows you to cook things with circulating hot air, just like in your oven. 

There’s no doubt that microwaves have helped chefs create less work-intensive, more efficient recipes. You can even combine traditional cooking techniques with a microwave to speed up certain parts of meal preparation. This means you can cook more complex recipes by speeding up some preparatory parts with a microwave.  This can also be helpful when you are getting the whole family involved in preparing meals, which can make meals fun. The microwave can simplify some of the steps involved in meal prep. For more ideas that are useful when you are trying to stick to a healthy diet, check out this post on healthy ideas to help you keep your diet in check.

There’s truly no limit to the number of hacks possible with a microwave. Experiment with your microwave and enjoy unique creations. Just one last piece of advice from an experienced user: don’t forget to cover the bowl when appropriate!

If you’re looking for other time-saving ways to eat and are here on Oahu in Hawaii, another great option is to use a local meal prep company. Good Clean Food Hawaii offers numerous meal options, including plant-based items. You can use your microwave to reheat your delivery. I love the fact that the packaging is plastic free. 

Have questions? Comments? I would love to hear what you think below!

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