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Cook a weeknight meal in no time in the microwave
Easy weeknight meals just got faster (and easier).
Microwaves are now used for far more than reheating last night’s dinner — they have become a new method of cooking. And we’re not talking about "nuking" a frozen dinner entrée. The recipes that we have compiled take real ingredients and transform them into meals and desserts with the simple push of a button. It seems like something straight out of The Jetsons, but cooking in the microwave is a simple and delicious way to get dinner on the table in a snap.
Although the temperature inside a microwave oven doesn’t rise as high as it does in a conventional oven, it still manages to cook a variety of foods (and you won’t believe some of the foods on our list). Weeknight meals, breakfasts, and even desserts just got a whole lot easier when cooked in the microwave. From frittatas and English muffins to meatball stew and pineapple upside-down cake, the recipes that you can make in a microwave are surprising and endless.
Food that is cooked in a microwave is heated quickly and efficiently, and the key to cooking in the microwave is to choose smaller items that can be cooked uniformly instead of large, dense ingredients. Microwave cooking is often looked down upon in professional kitchens because it doesn’t produce the caramelized browning that most chefs try to achieve. However, for weeknight meals made in half the time, we think these recipes are delicious and satisfying.
So next time you are looking for a quick dinner, try some of these recipes and have a meal on the table in the amount of time it would take to pop a bag of popcorn.
Emily Jacobs is the Recipe editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyRecipes.
7 legit meals you can make in a microwave that will save you time and money
The average American household spends $3,000 a year dining out. That's a lot of money that could go towards savings goals or a retirement fund.
There's an easy fix: Going homemade. The good news is, you don't need a lot of time to craft a balanced meal. You don't even need a stove or an oven.
In fact, just a few ingredients and a microwave can get you pretty far.
If you're time strapped, want to whip up a hot meal at work or simply don't want to deal with an oven, here are seven fantastic microwave meals, provided by Tasty.
Regular risotto requires a lot more stirring than this tasty microwave version. You can also play around and add other seasonings and vegetables to the mix.
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ sweet onion, chopped
- 1½ cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
- 1½ cup white wine
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- In a large microwave-safe casserole dish, combine 2 tablespoons butter with the garlic and onion.
- Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Place vegetable broth in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave on high for approximately 2 minutes.
- Stir broth and rice into dish with the onion, butter, and garlic mixture.
- Cover and cook on high for 6 minutes. Add wine and stir.
- Cook on high for another 8-10 minutes.
- Most of the liquid should be gone, but adjust cooking times to your microwave.
- Stir remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and cheese into risotto and stir.
Mac & Cheese
What You'll Need: Macaroni pasta, 2% milk, shredded cheddar cheese, flour
Why reach for a powdered product when you can make your own mac & cheese at home in the same time? It's easy! Just combine half a cup of pasta, 1/4 cup of water, and salt in a bowl. Microwave for 6 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes, and adding another 1/4 cup of water after the first 2 minutes. Once the pasta is done, add in enough milk to cover the pasta, a handful of cheese, and a small scoop of flour to help thicken the mix. Stir and cook for another 30 seconds. This quick meal will provide plenty of calcium to help maintain proper bone health.
The Best Meals to Make With Your Microwave
Whether you're in a dorm, a hotel or a fit of laziness.
Food Network Kitchen’s Microwave Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal for Healthy Dishes Every Grown Up Needs to Know, as seen on Food Network.
When you’re living an oven-free life, dining out is a huge part of the fun. But when you want to eat something homemade — and not even delivery or room service will suffice — it’s time to turn to your existing appliances — namely, the microwave. Armed with a little elbow grease, a microwave and mini fridge, you can whip up home-cooked meals like it’s your home kitchen. We’re talking loaded baked potatoes, noodle bowls, quesadillas and mac and cheese — and even possibly a homemade cake.
When it comes to microwave-friendly meals, one dish comes to mind before all others. Baked potatoes are an easy microwave meal for home cooks, and a go-to recipe for chefs on the road, too. Since leaving his native Australia, executive chef Peter Smith, who oversees the food and beverage program at JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert, has logged plenty of miles. His go-to travel recipe for the microwave is a loaded baked sweet potato, complete with bacon crumbles on top. He’s fine-tuned his recipe over the years to make his ideal of a sweet-savory DIY entrée:
Wash and scrub a medium sweet potato (or yam), poke holes in the sweet potato with a fork (so it doesn’t explode), then rub it with about a tablespoon of oil and salt to taste. Place the bacon slices on the same plate as the potato, then microwave for 7 to 9 minutes until the bacon is crispy (watch it to make sure it doesn’t burn) and the potato is tender. Once the bacon cools, crumble it and reserve. Slice the potato in half and use a fork to fluff up the insides, then sprinkle cheese on top and microwave for another 30 seconds. Top with sour cream, bacon bits and chopped fresh chives.
7 Surprising, Awesome Things You Can Cook In A Sandwich Press
Chances are, next to that trusty microwave at work or at home is a toastie maker, which lends its hot plate to all your cheese, tomato and ham toastie needs, filling the office and your kitchen with its glorious scent.
But aside from toasted sangas, what else can a plain ol' sandwich maker cook?
What about bacon? Or haloumi? Or even steak?
To put the classic toastie maker to the test, we tried to cook seven different foods and, to our surprise, most of them worked. Really, really well.
Here are the seven surprising things you can cook in a toastie maker.
A word of caution, however -- your fellow workmates will probably NOT want you to cook a fillet of smelly salmon or steak on the communal toastie maker.
Caramelised banana is one of the best accompaniments on top of peanut butter toast or porridge (both of which you can make at work FYI), so we set out to make it on the toastie maker.
Sceptical at first, the banana slices topped with coconut sugar began to caramelise after just one minute, and became gooey, sweet and sticky in two minutes. Success.
Not sure what to top your avocado toast with? Well, fry up an egg with a perfectly runny yolk because it's not only possible, but quicker than doing so in a fry pan. Win.
If you like your eggs over easy, just flip the egg carefully halfway.
If you love grilled or roasted veggies but can't be stuffed (or don't have the time) to do it, you can throw your favourite vegetables on a hot toastie maker and have tasty grilled veggies in two minutes. TWO MINUTES.
We used eggplant and zucchini, but feel free to cook tomato, onion or thinly sliced sweet potato.
Holy moly. You can make perfectly cooked bacon in the toastie in two and a half minutes, no joke.
All you need for this life-changing revelation is some bacon and. that's it. No oil needed. Just a hot toastie maker, bacon and a few quick minutes. Pair with that fried egg above and you're set.
If your salad is looking boring, halloumi is the answer, especially this toastie halloumi made in three minutes.
Simply slice up some halloumi, bang it on the sandwich press (no oil required) and cook to golden perfection.
We don't recommend cooking this one at work as the smell is extremely strong, but the fact that you can cook a steak in under two minutes is pretty spectacular.
Thanks to the toastie's non-stick surface, you don't need any oil to cook the meat. Just a few steaks, a toastie maker and a minute and a half. Yippee.
Again, this is not one to cook at work unless your whole office enjoys the smell of a fish market, but for home use this is perfect.
We used a thick fillet of salmon, placed it on the hot plate for just over four minutes and the result was amazing: golden and crispy on the outside, and tender and pink in the middle.
15 Surprising Things You Can Cook In Your Slow Cooker
The crockpot is a treasured possession in our lives–there’s nothing quite like coming home after a long day and having dinner ready for you. You can sit down in your favorite chair with a bowl or plate of your dinner no more than five minutes after you walk in the door.
No complicated recipes, few dishes, and no one angry about having to make dinner after working all day. Just good food and happy tummys.
Of course, there are tons of ways to use your crockpot that you probably never thought of. The crockpot isn’t just a stew, meat and potatoes, roast machine. It has a lot of really amazing uses that you’ll be glad to learn.
Some of these aren’t even food related!
Homemade Yogurt – Yogurt is an amazing snack or breakfast that you don’t have to feel guilty about–especially if you made it yourself! We have it on good authority that homemade yogurt tastes so much better than store-bought!
Fresh Bread – You don’t have to turn on your oven to make this soft, delicious bread, which means your house won’t heat up. This is an easy recipe that will have you embracing homemade bread.
Dipping Chocolate – Whether it’s for fondue, dipping, or making candies, your crockpot is the perfect tool to keep all that chocolate smooth and warm–plus, it won’t burn. You’ll never go back to melting your chocolate in the microwave or on the stove again!
Dye Yarn With Kool-Aid – This is a safe alternative to dying with toxic dyes, which you wouldn’t want to do in a crockpot you plan on cooking in later. Using Kool-Aid gives you vibrant colors and is an easy clean up!
Apple Butter – If you haven’t had apple butter, you need to try this recipe! We never considered making this delicious spread in a crockpot, but we’re sure it beats standing over the stove!
Edible Play Dough – Kids love play dough, but it’s expensive, dries out, and is pretty gross tasting. At some point, your kids will try to eat their play dough, so it may as well be edible! This is an inexpensive way to ensure that you always have enough play dough on hand!
Homemade Soap – Make your own soap and give it away as a gift, sell it, or just enjoy having your own for pennies on the dollar. We should probably mention that you won’t want to make soap in the same crockpot you plan on cooking in. Use an old crockpot!
Homemade Candles – The same goes for making candles! You can make your own candles with personalized scents to keep around the house or give away as gifts, but you’ll want to avoid using the crockpot you make food in!
Crayons – Crayons will break and get too short to use anymore, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take those nubs and melt them down to create a new crayon! And you can use your crockpot to do it!
Bacon Jam – You might not have considered it, but bacon jam is the best thing you haven’t made yet. It’s a savory spread that is perfect for a light snack!
Brownies – We don’t normally think of making a cake or brownies in a crockpot, but you will be seriously impressed with how soft, chewy, and chocolatey these brownies are.
Chex Mix – Make a ton of the classic snack mix without ever turning on your oven or flipping the mix! This is a great idea for a party, so you know you’ll have enough!
Flavorful Chicken Stock – Make fool-proof chicken stock that’s packed with flavor after simmering for hours. You won’t believe how amazing your soup or chicken and dumplings will taste!
French Fries – You can make amazing french fries in the crockpot, if you can believe it. Try these thick Red Robin style french fries and you may never go back to deep fried fries again!
Whipped Cream Frosting – While you can’t make the whole cupcake in the crockpot, you can certainly make a to-die-for frosting! Light, fluffy, but it won’t get mushy if it sits out for a minute or two.
Usually microwaved eggs are rubbery, but I've found a way to nuke them so they are fluffy.
Crack two eggs into a ceramic bowl or mug and whip them with a fork until they start to froth. Add 1/3 cup of grated cheese. Heat on high for 90 seconds in the microwave. Then, just salt and pepper to taste.
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With practice and patience, you can make a beautifully cooked steak in an air fryer.
Since air fryers can serve as miniature ovens, they can also be used to cook steak, Pixley told Insider.
With a little bit of practice you can get a beautifully cooked steak in the air fryer, allowing you to skip the smoke and flames from the grill, according to Yankel Polak, the head chef at ButcherBox.
Plus, it frees up the stovetop and doesn't leave the mess that searing a steak typically produces, Pixley added.
7 Surprising Things You Can Do With Your Food Processor
So you just got a food processor — now what do you do with it? Luckily, you’ve just opened the door to more culinary creations than you can imagine.
Sure, a food processor is great for its typical blending and grinding, but you can make all sorts of meals and utilize a wide variety of shortcuts to make your cooking easier and more enjoyable.
Although some of these foods can be made in a blender, a food processor contains the power and precision needed to expertly execute specific types of food preparation. If you’re looking for some creative ways to use your food processor, try the below seven uses for the handy kitchen gadget.