Last Updated on October 22, 2019 by Diane Hoffmaster
This post about the best microwave cooking tips for busy families is sponsored by Best Buy. All opinions are my own.
Want to cook without heating up the kitchen? Cooking dinner in the microwave is a great option. Or, maybe you live in a small area that doesn't have a stove. Microwave recipes aren't difficult and you don't have to stick to frozen dinners. And if you are cooking for one, microwave entree recipes can help you save money on eating out. But, how do you do more than just reheat leftovers in the microwave? I thought I'd share a few microwave cooking tips that may help elevate your food game this month.
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Is cooking in the microwave bad for you?
So, a while ago, I had a friend who told me she tossed her microwave for good. She was concerned about the health effects of microwave cooking. While I am a huge health nut, I can't imagine not having a microwave. I would be drinking cold coffee for the rest of my life. So, is cooking in the microwave bad for you? Certainly make sure to follow any microwave safety tips in your user manual but what about other issues?
Like these microwave cooking tips? Check out these posts, too.
- This is the Easiest Way to Clean the Microwave!
- Brown Bag Microwave Popcorn Helps You Save Money and Eat Healthier
- How to Keep the Refrigerator Clean and Organized
Cooking with a microwave oven is convenient, simple and fast. How does a microwave work? Basically, it turns electricity into electromagnetic waves called microwaves. These waves stimulate molecules in food which creates energy that is converted to heat. Are microwaves safe? Check out Healthline for the full details on all the science but basically, any cooking reduces nutrient values in foods. Microwave cooking does not appear to be any less 'safe' or reduce nutrient value significantly more than traditional cooking methods.
Microwave Cooking Tips for Busy Families
Microwaving your food can be a fast and convenient way to make dinner. However, you need to know a few cooking tips before making dinner in the microwave. Follow a few of these microwave do's and don'ts as you prepare your food:
- Don't use metal in your microwave. I prefer ceramic or glass when making microwave recipes for my family.
- Arrange foods so that they cook evenly. That means, spread things out on the plate evenly when reheating.
- Cover dishes. This will retain moisture so your microwave recipes don't turn out dry.
- Frequently stir, turn, and rotate your foods. This is one of the most important microwave cooking tips. Stir often to ensure even cooking.
- Cut foods into small pieces, if possible. Small cubes of beef will cook better than a slab of steak.
- Stack your bowls for more cooking space. If you need to microwave more than one bowl at once, raise one of the bowls up higher with a cup so that you have more room.
Microwaves are great for cooking food quickly, however, cooking times will vary depending on the microwave you have. And remember, microwave ovens tend to cook food more efficiently from the outside IN. So, place foods that need a longer cooking time on the outside of the plate. Leave the center of the plate for items that cook the fastest.
Another little known fact is that SALT attracts microwaves. So, if you put salt on your food before you cook it, you may end up with dry food. Wait to season your food until after it is done cooking.
How to Steam Vegetables in the Microwave
Cooking vegetables in the microwave is actually very easy because steaming them is simple. Just cut your fresh veggies into pieces that are less than an inch thick. Next, put them in a ceramic or glass bowl with about 2 to 3 tablespoons of water. Place a plate over the top of the bowl like a lid. Then, microwave your vegetables on high for 3 to 4 minutes. Be careful taking off the 'lid' as the steam is HOT!
Easy microwave entree recipes
So, you need a few microwave oven recipes to get you started? Make sure to follow the microwave cooking tips above for the best results. Skip the prepackaged microwave entrees and try a few of these recipes instead:
- Cheesy vegetable quiche with cauliflower crust: A healthy on the go breakfast recipe from your microwave
- Flaky microwaved salmon: Healthy, tasty, and fast with a sriracha mayonnaise.
- One-bowl mac and cheese: Uses water, macaroni, and your favorite blend of cheeses, however, add a few veggies for a complete meal.
- Potato soup in a mug : Use a large mug so it doesn't bubble over when cooking.
- Meatloaf in a mug: Serve with a salad for a complete meal.
Learn how to use your microwave oven safely by reading the material that comes with it. Your manufacturer may even include a microwave recipe book for you to brows through. If not, check out The Complete Guide to Microwave Cooking. Loads of great microwave recipes in there! You should also invest in some microwave safe cookware before you get started.
Investing in a New Microwave Oven
If you are considering buying a new microwave oven, consider the Breville Combi 3-in-1 Microwave from Best Buy. Cooking food in the microwave really depends a lot on the type of microwave oven you own. Certain features, microwave power levels, etc will effect the outcome of your microwave recipes. Better microwave cooking can be achieved with a better microwave oven!
The new Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1 Microwave is a combination air fryer and convection oven. It lets you air fry (crunchy fries, Brussels sprouts, chicken wings), bake or roast (whole chickens, lasagna, chocolate brownies) or simply microwave leftovers with even heat distribution. It also has some great features like a child lock button, quieter operation, and mute buttons.... no more beeps giving away your 3 AM snacking habit! Other key features include:
- Easy presets at your fingertips: Smart Cook, Smart Reheat & Smart Defrost
- Cooks your favorite dishes faster. Using Microwave, Convection Oven and Grilling to achieve the desired temperature and perfect results in less time.
- Powered by the Element iQ system. Smart algorithms steer power to where and when it’s needed to create the ideal cooking environment.
- Precise and even heat distribution. Reheating and cooking food evenly for more delicious results.
Whether you are a college student trying to figure out how to cook with a microwave in the dorm or just a busy mom reheating leftovers in the microwave, quality matters! Invest in the best microwave oven you can find to ensure that your microwave recipes turn out delicious!
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.