The large rectangle box with knobs and complicated buttons are a thing of the past. Today, microwave ovens are smaller in size and greater in power. We now have the luxury of one-touch buttons for cooking most of our popular foods. The microwave has not only sped up cooking time, but increased convenience in the kitchen by momentous standards. Despite all the advances in technology, most consumers still think of their microwave as an individual portion cooking device. A bag of popcorn or cup of coffee are common items to put in a microwave. Convenient microwave dinners or other snacks are also rather popular. With the wonders of a microwave, there must be more you can do with it.
Here are some great tips for cooking in the microwave. We all know that the microwave is terrific for warming up a snack, but did you know that you can freshen up a bag of old chips or pretzels by placing them in a microwave safe bowl and cooking for one minute on high? Your stale snacks will taste like new.
Your microwave can make cooking a breeze. When using a recipe that calls for softened cream cheese, toss a package in the microwave for 1.5 to 2 minutes at 50% power. You will never need to leave that cream cheese out on the counter again. Softening butter or margarine is easy in the microwave. A stick of margarine or butter only takes 45 seconds in the microwave. Never cook the butter in the packaging. Always unwrap the stick of butter and place in a microwave safe bowl.
Did you know you can toast coconut in the microwave? Spread coconut on a paper plate in a thin layer. Keep a close watch on the coconut to avoid over-browning. Cook on high 2 to 3 minutes until lightly brown.
You can also toast nuts and seeds in the microwave. Whether it is sunflower seeds, seeds from your Halloween pumpkin, or almond slivers, they will turn out beautifully in the microwave. Spray a microwave safe plate with non-stick cooking spray. Place the nuts or seeds in a thin layer on the plate. Use High power to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Stop when the seeds or nuts are lightly brown because they will darken as they cool.
Dessert has its place in the microwave, too. Soften your extremely hard ice cream in the microwave to make scooping easier. A full half gallon of ice cream only takes 30 seconds on high to soften. No more straining to get that scoop of ice cream out just to fling it across the table.
Top your ice cream off with some chocolate or caramel sauce. A seven ounce package of unwrapped caramels should be placed in a microwave safe bowl. Add a tablespoon of water and microwave for 1.5 to 2 minutes. Stir every 30 seconds.
You can simply melt baking chocolate in the microwave. Break in half one or two squares of baking chocolate and place them in a microwavable cup or small boll. Cooking on the 50% power level, cook for 2 to 3 minutes. After just one minute check every 15 to 20 seconds and stir to prevent scorching.
Make your breakfast better by warming up your syrup. Nothing tastes better on your pancakes, waffles, and French toast. Zap the uncapped bottle of syrup for 40 seconds and you are ready to eat. Crystallized honey can be liquefied easily in the microwave. Just a few seconds in the microwave and you will be enjoying your sweet treat.
If you can fresh fruits and vegetables from your garden or local market, you can use your microwave to make some of the jobs easier. In a deep microwave bowl, heat water to boiling. Drop tomatoes or peaches in the water for a few seconds. This will make peeling a breeze. Blanching vegetables before freezing is a good idea. After you have prepared the items, for example, peeling, dicing, or chopping, place them in a microwave safe bowl with a bit of water. Cook for three to four minutes per pound. Rearrange items half way through the cooking time. Remove items when done and place in ice cold water. Drain the vegetables and place in freezer-safe plastic bags.
Peeling onions and garlic is a snap when you use your microwave oven. Onions only need 1 or 2 minutes in the microwave. Garlic cloves can be placed in a small bowl and cooked for 30 seconds at 80% power. When the cloves are cool enough to handle, the skin will easily slide right off.
There are some items you should avoid cooking in the microwave. Stuffed chicken breasts may not cook completely in the microwave. Do not cook eggs in the microwave still in the shell. Steam can build up in the shell and cause it to explode.
Never warm up a baby’s bottle in the microwave. The nutrients in breast milk can be lost. Hot spots can form in the bottle due to uneven heating. This will possibly cause a burn. Always warm a bowl of water in the microwave. Place the bottle inside the bowl to heat the milk or formula.
These tips will transform your microwave from coffee warmer and popcorn popper into helpful and handy. You will use your microwave daily to make cooking easier and convenient with these tips.