Microwave cooking? I can see your wrinkled nose from here. If the thought of cooking in the microwave leaves you with images of soggy, flavorless meals for soggy, flavorless people, think again. There”s actually a lot you can do with a microwave oven that lets you get actual nutrition and flavor while still being fast and (relatively) easy.
So the next time you”re in a hurry or you just want to show off in the break room at work, consider one of these little recipes.
1. Peel garlic
Instead of spending all that time
picking the papery skin off cloves of garlic, you can pop them in the microwave for about 20 seconds. The skin will slide right off, leaving you with perfect, meal-ready garlic.
2. Cook corn on the cob
Instead of boiling the cobs in a pot (which requires shucking them) or roasting them on a grill, you can also microwave corn on the cob. It might not be as festive as barbecuing it, but it”s good in a pinch. Microwave it with the husks on and the cobs will be tender and juicy. The husks will slide off when you take them out.
3. Steam vegetables
By pouring about an inch of water into a bowl with some vegetables, covering them with a plate, and microwaving, you can get beautifully steamed vegetables. Depending on the vegetable, cooking
times will vary, so this one might take some experimentation.
4. Make potato chips
Slice a potato into rounds with a thickness of about an eighth of an inch, and then lay them out in a single layer on a plate. Microwave them in three minute intervals, decreasing the power level and flipping them each time. Cook until crispy, and you”ll have a crunchy, tasty snack without the grease.
5. Crisp your bacon
Speaking of grease, you can also make bacon even when you don”t have time to break out the frying pan. Start by putting a bowl upside down on a plate. Lay your bacon across the bowl, and cover with a paper towel. Microwave for about a minute per slice. The grease will drip down the bowl, leaving you with crispy bacon instead of a soggy mess.
6. Make caramel sauce
This is not only faster than stovetop, but also reduces the risk of the sticky sauce bubbling up or scorching. In a microwave-safe cup, whisk together corn syrup, sugar, water, and lemon juice
. Microwave until golden, then remove. Heat some cream and pour it into the mixture, and whisk the whole time to keep it from bubbling over. Then add vanilla and butter. You can find the whole recipe here.
7. Toast nuts
They won”t have the same golden finish you”d get if you did this in the oven, but if you”re pressed for time or are only looking to toast a handful of nuts, a microwave will give you a similar flavor for a fraction of the time. Just spread them out into a single layer and zap for four to eight minutes, pausing every now and again to shake them up.
8. Dry herbs
Have flavorful herbs year round by drying them! Wash and dry your fresh herbs and remove the leaves from the stems. Lay them out flat in a single layer on a paper towel on a plate and then microwave on high for 30 seconds. Repeat until the leaves are crunchy and dry. Stored in an air-tight container, they”ll keep for about a year.
9. Scramble some eggs
Okay, microwave eggs
are not the same as eggs cooked up in a skillet. We know. But if you”re in a hurry and still want breakfast, this could be the perfect solution. Mix eggs up in a coffee mug with whatever you normally like eggs with (cheese, spices, whatever) and nuke for a minute and a half. At the halfway point, pause the cooking to stir it, which will give it the scrambled consistency.
10. Make edible parmesan cheese bowls
Okay, this one is admittedly not so quick and definitely not easy, but it”s great for parties or just proving to other people that you”re a fancy-pants microwave chef. It involves finely grating the cheese, nuking it into a pancake on parchment paper, then flipping it over a bowl and pressing it into shape. Check out the full tutorial here.
11. Foam milk
You can do this on the stovetop, but the risk of scalding the milk
and making a mess is greater that way. Even in a microwave, the process is a bit involved. If you”re feeling up to it, fill a tight-sealing jar about halfway with milk
and shake so the milk froths up. Remove the lid and microwave for 30 seconds, and watch the foam rise. Spoon it onto your coffee.
12. Make dulce de leche
Usually this sweet treat takes about four hours of careful cooking, but not with a microwave. Heat up a can of condensed milk in a microwave-safe bowl, stopping about every two minutes to whisk it. After about ten minutes, the milk will look like it”s curdled. Take it out and whisk until it smoothes out. Let it cool a bit before eating, because it will be extremely hot.
13. Get more juice out of lemons and limes
If you need lemon or lime juice, try microwaving the fruits for 10 to 20 seconds, or until the skin is warm to the touch. The heat will make the membranes inside weaker, meaning you can get more juice out of them.
14. Bonus! You can clean your microwave with your microwave!
Give your microwave a fresh-scented steam clean by putting a halved lemon into a bowl of water and microwaving for five minutes. Remove the bowl and give your microwave”s interior a good wipe down. Lemony fresh and spotless!
(via First We Feast)
Now that you”ve got the recipes and skills to make just about anything in the microwave, you”re going to need that last one.