Most of us tend to think of the microwave as a tool for reheating, melting, or defrosting, but the microwave is actually an oven, capable of cooking meals from scratch. With that in mind, it’s about time we start taking advantage of the quick and easy cooking power of this convenient kitchen appliance.
Understanding the power settings and cooking time required for different vegetables and proteins is essential in order to get everything you can out of the most underutilized tool in your kitchen. Using the wattage to your advantage can help you achieve even the most finessed dish of poached fish, perfectly steamed vegetables, and gently poached eggs in a fraction of the standard cooking time.
Simple salads are improved with microwave-poached or –hard-boiled eggs; soups are made infinitely easier with the nuking power of this quick-cooking oven; and even the classic meatloaf can be achieved in a coffee cup.
Check out our 14 favorite microwaved meals perfect for feeding a hungry family or for a quick solo meal on nights when time is of the essence.
A simple enchilada recipe can be easily converted for the microwave. Use this vegetarian enchilada recipe as a guide and do the following:
Place chopped onion in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap; microwave for one minute until tender. In a separate bowl, microwave sliced mushrooms, covered with plastic wrap, for 2 minutes until tender, stirring halfway through. Mix onion, mushrooms, canned corn, beans, and half the jar of enchilada sauce. Scoop into tortillas, roll, and place in a microwave-safe pan. Pour the rest of the sauce over the enchiladas, and microwave uncovered for six minutes or until heated through. Add the cheese and microwave until melted, about two minutes. — Michelle Kiefer
Lasagna your nonna would be proud of doesn’t have to be a time-consuming affair. Use this vegetarian lasagna recipe as a starting point, but replace the lasagna noodles with no-boil lasagna noodles. Mix the vegetables with the ricotta and 1 /14 cup of the mozzarella. Assemble in a microwave-safe dish according to the recipe instructions, cover with waxed paper or plastic wrap, and microwave for 15-20 minutes, until the noodles are tender. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. — Michelle Kiefer
Enjoy breakfast for dinner in less than three minutes with this egg scramble you can make in a mug.
Need a quick and healthy dinner to make on busy nights? Make this hearty stew of beef meatballs, potatoes, and fresh herbs in your microwave in less than 15 minutes.
A simple poached egg can add a lot to salads, a bowl of grits, and soups. Simply poach your egg in a microwave-safe bowl, and then add it to a salad of seasonal greens and vegetables for a quick, easy, and filling dinner.
Enjoy five-minute salmon cooked in your microwave on top of a bed of greens, with a side of steamed spinach, or alongside a warm potato salad. This simple dish requires little more than a microwave-safe dish and plastic wrap to achieve flaky, delicious salmon.
Spicy chorizo, refried beans, shredded cheese, and fresh tomatoes are piled onto tortilla chips and then nuked in the microwave until hot and melty.