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Do you "cook" w/your microwave?

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/02/din...

Article in today's NYT got me thinking. My microwave takes up a lot of space on my countertop. Am I using it enough to make it worthwhile? Once in a while I thaw in it but that's tricky and requires constant monitoring. I guess we use it a lot to heat up leftovers. I clean my sponges in it.

Do you have any good recipes that require your microwave?

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  1. no, I don't eat leftovers, so not even for reheating items.

    mine is mounted above the stove so it does not waste space, and the only things I use it for is to warm up the babies milk, the clock feature, and I also use the timer function for other cooking.

    1 Reply
    1. re: swsidejim

      Baby's milk and the microwave are not a good match. http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/he...
      But for a more humourous reason, here's one dad's perspective:
      http://www.instructables.com/id/How-t...

    2. I use it often to heat up leftovers, defrost meat, melt butter. I often cook in large batches for the purpose of freezing leftovers and use it a lot for that. Just this morning I reheated some crepes that I froze. Can't say I've ever actually "cooked" with it though.

      1. We use ours to reheat leftovers, defrost meat, melt butter and heat milk when I am making a white or cheese sauce. The only "cooking" I do in it is I use it when I make grits.

        1. I agree w/ the veggies, quick baked potatoes too. I cook sausages too to get the fat out before adding them to sauces, soups, stews, and kraut.

          1. I don't think I really "cook" with my microwave, either. The closest I get is when I microwave butter and shallots together to "cook" the shallots in the butter sauce.

            I use it to heat milk or water, melt butter, and warm up canned dog food. I'll also use it to defrost frozen egg noodles, but not so much for meats or fish. I have coworkers who cook eggs in the microwave at work, but I haven't tried it yet.

            We also use ours to reheat leftovers since it's a fairly quick way to do it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: TomDel

              Most canines prefer their meat slightly above room temperature.
              I take it you don't fox hunt.

            2. I cook with the microwave:

              Steamed vegetables, defatting sausages and smoked ribs, eggs, soups (e.g., fish and vegetables; put together each bowl and cook in mw), poached fish, baked and mashed potatoes, several quick sauces, long grain rice, seasoned stock to make couscous, and am going to try an artichoke (as per a thread the other day).

              Obviously, I cook much more with the stove and conventional oven; but the mw is simply a good tool, even the best tool for some things.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                Artichokes are great in the MW. Much quicker and they turn out perfectly every time.

                1. re: giveittomikey

                  I have developed a technique for cooking artichokes. I use a coffee cup, half full of water to hold the artichoke. I then put plastic wrap over it and extending under the bottom of the cup to help contain the steam. I have used a rubber band to get the same effect. I cook it at half power.

                  If I think "steamed veggie's" I often use the microwave.
                  To me, cooking an egg evenly and not overcooking it has been a real challenge. Anyone have a secret?

              2. I have a vegetarian chili, with eggplant and black beans, that was written as a microwave recipe and that's how I make it. And I have a surprisingly good microwave recipe for risotto that I'll use when for whatever reason I can't or don't want to stand at the stove and stir.

                I don't defrost meat or chicken in it if at all possible because it cooks the meat more than I want it to. I like leftovers, and usually cook in order to have them, so use it a lot for rewarming, especially my morning oatmeal. In additon to melting butter, softening brown sugar, steaming artichokes and other vegetables, and warming citrus fruit so it yeilds more juice, I often make bacon in it (unless I specifically want the fat) between sheets of paper towels to cut down on the amount of grease.

                1. I use it to cook rice. Other than that, heating things up is about the only use it gets.

                  1. I only use it to heat water or leftovers. My kids like to make oatmeal in it.

                    1. The queen of microwave cooking is Madame Benoit, a Canadian chef who was very popular when microwaves were all the rage. You could google her and I'm sure find a lot of ideas.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: sarah galvin

                        Hi Sarah,

                        Another doyenne regarding microwave cooking, is a woman by the name of Thelma Pressman. I don't know what she is up to today, but about 10 or so years ago, she was pretty popular. In one of her cookbooks, she gave a recipe for eggplant parmigiana, and this definitely classifies as cooking in the microwave. A very thick and chunky tomato sauce was first made in the microwave, and then when it came to the eggplant itself, slices were egged, then breaded, and microwaved. Then you spooned the sauce over the slices, and topped with shredded mozzarella. The whole dish got a final microwaving, and it is deeelishus! Probably the best version of eggplant parmigiana I have ever tasted.

                        Cheers,
                        Jeff

                        1. re: JeffW

                          Eggplant seems to be a popular food for the microwave. In the past 24 hours, I've found four recipes for eggplant in the microwave that look terrific. There was actually an eggplant recipe (Indian) in the Times' article. I guess it is the high water content of eggplant that allows it to steam in the microwave. Guess it's the same as the potato and any ingredient that is predominantly water.

                          1. re: JeffW

                            Pressman, Thelma. 1989. 365 Quick & Easy Microwave Recipes. New York: Harper & Row.

                            1. re: JeffW

                              And still another MW authority is Barbara Kafka. I read her blog and it's so informative. She litteraly "wrote the book" on Microwave cooking called, "Microwave Gourmet", a NYT best seller and is the recipient of the James Beard Foundation lifetime achievement award.
                              http://www.bkafka.com/

                              About the only I cook in the MW are baked potatoes, and an occasional fish or winter squash. It's above the stove so doesn't take up any counter space.
                              The trendy thing to cook these days is risotto which was discussed in both Ms. Kafka's and Mark Bittman's blog this week.

                          2. I soften my winter squash in it before cutting so it's easier. I poke holes in it first. That's the most "cooking" I'll do--the rest is quick heating/reheating.

                            1. i cook in it

                              mostly veggies or potatoes
                              but i use

                              eg tnight i had a omelette and home fris for dinner. i pre cooked the potatoes in the MW

                              i make veggies that i would steam in there all the time for my kid and for me as well

                              also works well with fish

                              1. Yeah, I use the damn thing. I guess you could say "cook with it" to a point. I don't want to give the impression that I don't use the stovetop/oven, since I do every day. I warm the dinner plates in it nightly. Breakfast plates too if it's applicable. Veggies, rice, bacon, Minor's broth, butter for softening, oatmeal, leftovers, fish, cold coffee and a host of other items. I'm kind of chagrined to admit it though since I've heard all kinds of bad things about what microwaves do to the structure of foodstuffs.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: diablo

                                  embrace it. it's ok. no one thinks that by saying you cook with it, it means you don't use other methods too. if you told me you used a grill, would you think i thought you didn't use the stove too?

                                  embrace it.

                                2. I use my microwave to "steam" fish and egg custards. Less clean up and once you understand how the microwave cooks it does well.

                                  1. I cook potatoes, asparagus (don't kill me), chicken (for use diced up), hot cocoa, and a few sundry things now and then (like a few strips of bacon or a squash). The most common use is to heat leftovers, rice, tv dinners, soften butter, heat a set amount of liquid to a known temperature like for bread making without having to check the temp, and to defrost meat (which must be done carefully). I use it almost every day.

                                    Do any of you have an opinion on the roux question? Some people claim that it really will work, and it a matter of minutes to make roux in the microwave. I'm afraid of starting a fire, so I haven't tried.

                                    Is it worth the counter space? Well, I wish I had purchased a smaller one than I have. For what I do, smaller would be a better idea, but yes, it means someone besides me can heat up leftovers/dinner if I am too wiped out. That is a blessing for sure. Also, it dirties few dishes, or the right dishes, a blessing on many days as well. It can get me out of a bind like I forgot to add something to a dish, and I can nuke it up to the right level to toss in the dish. So its speed helps (on small quantities). I like that it shuts itself off so that it is one less thing for me to forget for a few seconds too long. What I use it for can all be done in some manner on other equipment.

                                    I mostly avoid it for cooking an entire dish, though, because instructions usually seem to be to open it up and rearrange stuff every minute or so, which would drive me batty. I don't have to open a sauté pan and take it out and uncover it and rearrange stuff and then press more buttons, etc.

                                    10 Replies
                                    1. re: saltwater

                                      why would anyone kill you for cooking asparagus in there? it does asparagus quite nicely.

                                      1. re: thew

                                        I agree - and other green vegetables too. I don't have a microwave anymore - no room. I do wish I had one for heating leftovers ...

                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                          artichokes too. They are unbelievably quick and taste better too

                                          1. re: Candy

                                            How do you do artichokes in the microwave?

                                            1. re: jenniegirl

                                              Trim them, rinse with water, shake dry then wrap tightly in plastic wrap with the edges coming together at the bottom. Sometimes I put thin slice of lemon on the tops before wrapping. Nuke on high for about 5-6 minutes, depending on your MW. The plastic will balloon up around them. They steam in their own juices and have a richer flavor.

                                              1. re: Candy

                                                What if you don't use plastic wrap?

                                                1. re: saacnmama

                                                  ziploc bag... sealed all the way, except for leaving a little corner open so the bag doesn't 'splode.

                                                2. re: Candy

                                                  Hmm, I feel really uncomfortable microwaving in plastic. Would probably work well in a covered glass dish too, though, huh?

                                          2. re: thew

                                            I've been told I am ruining perfectly good asparagus by putting it in there. I think it does asparagus nicely, though, especially if I am occupied at the stove with hollandaise. I like to point the tips to the center. I place it with half the spears pointing one way and half the spears pointing the other way, so the rectangular dish has tips in the middle and ends at the far ends of the dish.

                                        2. I use mine for defrosting things, and heating leftovers.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Kelli2006

                                            I cook chicken breasts, fish, steam veggies, melt butter, nachos, popcorn, Rice Krispie treats, rice, soften mochi, chi chi dango but mostly for reheating things.

                                            I do use it to heat up moistened towels for sore muscles or when I want a home facial.

                                          2. My microwave is a "hybrid" oven and microwave so it's two devices taking up the space of one. Such things are a necessity in Tokyo where wall-mounted kitchen devices are uncommon (because of earthquakes) and space is at a premium.

                                            I use mine to cook when I think it won't impair the quality of the result. As others have mentioned, I steam cook vegetables (carrots, broccoli, etc.). I also reheat leftovers.

                                            I also make quick and simple dishes in it like cheese sauce for leftover pasta (easy and it gives very smooth results in the microwave - heat the milk (in a glass dish) to near boiling, stir in some grated cheese that has been tossed with a tsp. or tbsp. of flour (I process the cheese in a small food processor bowl and throw the flour in as I grate it), heat again, stir, heat again and stir once more). You can also make a pretty nice low carb cheesecake concoction (3 oz. cream cheese softened, 1 egg, a dash of vanilla, and 2-3 packets of Splenda, mix well and microwave until barely set and eat with a spoonful of fruit spread - yummy) or cook eggs for sandwiches in the microwave.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Orchid64

                                              I always make my corn on the cob with a microwave. I rinse the husked corn and wrap it loosely with plastic wrap. I nuke it for 1 minutes and the turn it and nuke it for another 50 seconds. I then put the corn on the counter and it comes out perfect every time. I also use the microwave to cook fresh beans and other veggies, using plastic wrap pouches and a little water. Microwaves soften or melt butter beautifully and they melt chocolate like a dream. They bring milk to room temperature for baking in a hurry. The baked potatoes are pretty good too.

                                            2. I cook lots of stuff in my microwave. My first was a "RadarRange" back in the 70's. I had some thin round straight sided bowls that I nuked cake batter in. The batter would rise, just as in a standard oven, but I could tell when it was done because the whole thing would begin to rise right out of the dish. When the bottom of the cake was near the top of the bowl, the cake was done. Wasn't gummy. In fact, the texture was very similar to one cooked in a bamboo steamer. Alas, the bowl got broken and I couldn't find another.

                                              About that same time, my kids began using the microwave to cook their marshmallows. They swell like a puffer fish, then collapse and burn if you don't rescue, cool, and eat them when they're at their maximum puff. And then my son and stepson used to have morning contests with the microwave. They would nuke their oatmeal in parcelain china bowls, then set the dishes side by side and add ice cold milk. The one whose bowl cracked first was the winner. I discovered their game when my dozen bowls dwindled quickly to four. I tried to console myself with their creativity factor, but ended up yelling at them anyway.

                                              Today my microwave is a compound cooking device. Uses microwave and/or halogen light in any degree of heat or combination. With this machine, I can char a steak on the outside with the halogen and have it any degree of doneness I wish on the inside using microwaves. The halogen/microwave combination is great for cooking (as in browning, crisping, and not just heating) all sorts of restaurant style first course frozen foods I get from Sam's. I can also do things like meatloaf, if I want to, but I don't want to because MY meatloaf always ends in terminal indigestion, and who needs that?

                                              I have always used my microwave for making soups, stews, cooking veggies. I do not cook eggs in it. Well, I did once and that's how I learned not to do it again. I know. You can pierce the yolk with the point of a sharp piece of shell and they won't explode, but I like them better cooked in traditional ways.

                                              Oh! And the early RadarRange would NOT, under any circumstance, cook carrots! It cooked all other vegetables beautifully, but don't try to cook carrots! Had something to do with frequency of microwaves and the fiber in carrots. I think Raytheon was the only company that made microwave ovens way back then. They were certainly the first, if other companies had begun invading the territory. Some redesigning of the magnetron resulted in cooked carrots! But I had to buy another microwave to do it. Broke my heart because I loved that all chrome machine. Talk about conter space... It was HUGE!

                                              Come to think of it, cooking with microwaves is an old family tradition. When my second husband was an engineer on the R&D phase of the Patriot Missile System at White Sands Missile Range, he and some of the other engineers used to stick a couple of hot dogs on a looong stick and hold it in front of the radar antennas for a quick hot lunch. Hey. Did I ever claim electronics engineers are smart?

                                              Anyway, microwaves are great for all kinds of cooking. Wouldn't want to give it up!

                                              1. See if you can get a copy of Barbara Kafka's Microwave Gourmet. You'd be amazed what is possible in a mw.

                                                1. Buongiorno...come si sente oggi?

                                                  Here's a heretical idea. Prepare polenta in your nuker. Use plain ol' stone ground cornmeal, not something label 'polenta' because it'll cost you at least 3 times as much.

                                                  I think Barbara Kafka's book cited by Candy may have the procedure. I've done it many times.

                                                  It takes 2 6-minute nuke periods with a stirring in between times. My wife, the one with Italian genes in our family, will not eat polenta. She also will not eat mushrooms.

                                                  Oy vay!

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: ChiliDude

                                                    Sono bene. Come siete oggi? Nothing heretical about it but your wife and I may be related. I don't like it either. I live in the South now and if you want to talk heresy, tell someone you don't like grits. Same flavor/texture.

                                                    1. re: ChiliDude

                                                      yes the recipe for firm and soft polenta are in the book as well as one for grits. I have to compare polenta side by side in pressure cooker and MW.

                                                      1. re: ChiliDude

                                                        Another very good book with lots of recipes, including polenta and various risottos, is "Micro Ways" by Jean Anderson and Elaine Hanna--although I admit I use it almost exclusively for the timing charts, which are spot-on.

                                                        1. re: ChiliDude

                                                          I am italian and I also hate mushrooms. however I do like polenta. My gram used to make it for us kids and spread it on a huge board on the kitchen table then top with her homemade pasta sauce and grated parm... Didn't get much better than that!

                                                        2. I don't own a microwave, so no. I reheat leftover in either a covered frying pan on the stove or in the toaster oven.

                                                          1. Meatloaf! My brother, sister and I despised meatloaf until one day when a babysitter took us to her mother's house for dinner and she served us her oddly delicious "microwave meatloaf." We got the recipe and it has become a family favorite.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: meb26

                                                              Yes, meatloaf is great. There are times when I am craving a home-cooked meal and meatloaf in the microwave is one of the fastest, most satisfying things to prepare. It is really interesting how the sugars in tomato sauce and, especially ketchup, brown and develop a crust on the meatloaf. It does not at all look grey and steamed as you might expect.

                                                            2. I don't always thaw meats in mine, but often melt butter or warm milk for yeast breads. I also boil water when I only need a tablespoon or two in my machine-made Hollandaise sauce. I always do puddings (cornstarch blancmanges) in it, and by extension, fillings for traditional cream pies (coconut, banana, chocolate). Of course, the crusts are baked in the regular oven the regular way - from scratch.

                                                              I make iced tea by nuking a teabag (no staples) in a tall glass in a couple inches cool water for 80 seconds. Then, pull out, stir, remove teabag, add ice and water. Quick and easy. When I need a broth to add to a gravy, I nuke the cup of water with chicken or beef granules.

                                                              I like to start meatloaf in the microwave when I'm in a hurry. In the meantime (about 8 to 10 minutes or so, give or take), I heat my oven to 375 to finish and glaze it. Yeah, I know ... seems fussy. But it tastes great and can cut as much as 45 minutes off the cooking time.

                                                              I precook potatoes when I'm concerned I don't have enough time to get them cooked all the way through. Bake them in microwave as usual (maybe short the time a little), then slice, cut, dice, whatever you need to, to finish them under broiler, in cast iron skillet, in potato salad, or alongside your roast in the drippings. I've also done scalloped potatoes in the microwave with very little difference in texture. These are scalloped potatoes from scratch, with white sauce and with or without cheese.

                                                              If I'm out of burner space on the cooktop, I'll do my veggies in the microwave, too.

                                                              But when I think on it, I am not sure I use a recipe that was developed JUST for the microwave.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: k_d

                                                                I haven't cooked the recipe in ages but stuffed peppers cook very well and quickly in a microwave oven. I use mine mostly as an assist to regular cooking. Mostly things already posted.

                                                              2. the only thing I use mine for is warming plates. There are so many dishes that taste so much better on a warmed plate. so I microwave the plate to heat it up. thats about it.

                                                                10 Replies
                                                                1. re: cassoulady

                                                                  Does anyone have a manual for their microwave that says warming plates in it is okay? I'm used to them warning you not to turn it on with nothing in it. Some people used to keep cups of water in them to prevent turning them on without anything inside to cook.

                                                                  1. re: saltwater

                                                                    gee i had never heard of that but you might be right. do you think it is bad for the plates?

                                                                    1. re: cassoulady

                                                                      depends on what the plates are made out of

                                                                      1. re: cassoulady

                                                                        If your dish washer isn't half full all the time like mine, it makes a great plate warmer. In fact, many dishwashers have a plate warmer setting. Popping them into a warm oven is also a great method. For a whole bunch of reasons I won't bother going into here, using a microwave as a plate warmer probably isn't the best thing for the microwave or the plates.

                                                                        1. re: cassoulady

                                                                          I don't know. I've just heard it is bad for at least some microwave ovens to run it without stuff inside that absorbs the energy correctly. If your plates are warming up quickly, though, maybe they are doing a good job of absorbing the energy?

                                                                          My microwave came with instructions on how to test if a plate was safe to use to cook food on in the microwave, and part of the test was if the plate itself heated up, or if the food or water heated up first instead (which, of course, will end up heating the plate). If the plate heated first, then I wasn't supposed to use it to cook food in the microwave. But that is really not the same as just warming it up for a few seconds. Cooking food takes awhile. I've actually had a few plates in a microwave "safe" plate set be such that I cooked the food for two minutes and the plate was hot enough to burn me and the food was not warm. I threw those individual plates out. The rest of the plates in the set were fine. It was really strange.

                                                                          1. re: saltwater

                                                                            If the plate is pourous clay, such as old original Fiesta Ware, it will absorb water and when it absorbs enough, the steam can build up and cause the plate to explode. There are some types of dishes that are made of porous clay but have a smooth solid glaze on the outside. The glaze often cracks and crazes, allowing water to seep inside and that too can cause an explosion.

                                                                            In my experience, as long as you're using vitrious china (non-porous like glass) there is no problem with microwave safety UNLESS, as Candy points out, it has any sort of metal trim, including gold, silver, platinum, copper, whatever.

                                                                            On some microwaves it will only damage the china when the metal arcs, on other microwaves it will damage both the china and the oven, and on a few very special microwaves, you can even use metal pans in them. Unless you are absolutely sure what works for your microwave, better to err on the side of caution.

                                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                                              Huh. My stuff wasn't vitreous or glassy. It was "stoneware", which I presume means it is a glazed, fired product. I'd never considered that my problem was that the glaze was flawed and it was holding water inside the plate. I couldn't tell from looking at it that it was any different from the other plates in the set. This means the other plates will slowly break down, too. I wonder why they label them as microwave safe if they are not? I suppose to sell them...

                                                                              1. re: saltwater

                                                                                Hoo boy! Stoneware is (and is not) a whole different category. Stoneware is a high-fired clay -- baked in a kiln at the same approximate 1,200F firing range as vitreous china -- but...! It may or may not be vitreous... However, any stoneware that says microwave proof on it should be vitreous.

                                                                                "Vitreous" simply means that the clay is fired long enough and hot enough for the clay (special kind of clay) to meld into one solid mass. Your toilet is made of vitreous china. So is fine china. And some, but not all stoneware is vitreous.

                                                                                Most experts classify fine china as "stoneware" rather than the other way around. The original meaning of "stoneware" is/was that the material, after firing, is as hard as stone anc can withstand scratches (up to a specific force) by a steel scribe.

                                                                                "Earthenware" is what I was talking about when I said some dishes are porous inside and glazed with a solid (waterproof) glaze on the exterior. The old original (and possibly the new stuff being made today, but I just don't know for sure) Fiesta Ware is earthenware.

                                                                                There was a lot of earthenware made in years gone by that looked like fine china, had fancy patterns and all that jazz, but was actually earthenware. And when you picked it up, you would notice that earthenware was thicker than china, and often lighter. Well, something of the same mass and volume would be lighter in earthenware than it would in porcelain. With time, and especially when heated in ovens for serving dinner, the glaze would craze and water would seep in. That showed up especially after washing, when water seeped through the crazing and showed up under the glaze as darker color around the cracks.

                                                                                I have one plate from my great grandmother's "every day dishes" that is made of earthenware. She had service for 24, and used it daily to feed the family and ranch hands. Because she always heated it in the oven before serving a hot meal, it is extremely crazed. It's the last surviving plate from her. No idea what it's worth today, but the entire set of dishes were free gifts handed out by some flour company or other such entity back in the 19th century. Has a picture of the White House on it as it looked way back then. Had she used fine china for everyday dishes, likely every one of her descendants would own a piece today. China is far more durable than earthenware.

                                                                                And just to pretty much cover the whole gamut while we're at it, there is also "chalkware." That's the stuff that prizes at a carnival or circus were made out of. It's simply plaster of paris poured in a mold, then painted iwth something that looked like glaze but wasn't fired in a kiln. Never used for dishes, though some decorative "candy dishes" may have been made from chalkware.

                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                  Cool. Lots of info there. I know what you mean about Grandma and if only she had used nicer plates. I have some of what is left of my Grandma's plates. They are slowly breaking. They are some type of plastic in her case. China would last longer!

                                                                          2. re: cassoulady

                                                                            If the plates have a gold or platinum rim you may get some arcing and it may darken the metal. I would not do it.

                                                                        1. re: Lisbet

                                                                          I use mine for reheating leftovers, melting butter, heating liquids that need to be room temp. Occasionally I'll make a scrambled egg in it, which it does really well. In the past, I've used it for veggies--especially baked potato when I'm in a rush. Microwaves also do bacon really well--gets it nice and crispy and cooks off most of the fatty pieces. And yeah it's a darned expensive timer, but I suspect that's what I use it for the most.

                                                                        2. Like others here, I use it primarily for heating leftovers, steaming vegetables (corn, beans, asparagus), cooking grains (polenta, oatmeal), melting butter & chocolate, heating milk for lattes, heating plates, and sometimes cooking a sweet potato for a quick lunch for one.

                                                                          One thing no one's mentioned here yet which I think is a good argument in favour of microwaves - if you have a really inefficient electric stove (sigh) it's a good way to save electricity as well as time.

                                                                          1. My microwave is above my stove. I don't think I have ever really *cooked* anything in it. Basically I heat water, veggies, leftovers, and defrost some meats if I forget to take them out of the freezer. And of course microwave popcorn.

                                                                            1. My oven is over the stove. Until I got a rice cooker, it was the best way to cook rice. Corn on the cob is best in the microwave. Chicken for other recipes is quickly "poached" in the oven. I used to brown my ground beef in a colander then use it in my pasta sauce, also cooked in the microwave. Scrambled eggs, oatmealand gravyies are done regularly. Artichokes for stuffed artichokes: no better way. Stand trimmed chokes upright in a bowl add water, olive oil, garlic cloves and cover with plastic wrap. I'd have to look to see how long they cook, but when cool, I drain them and stuff them, then drizzle with olive oil and bake in oven. They're killer. Used to make a kind of risotto, but now exclusively use the pressure cooker for perfect, creamy risotto every time. Never thought about warming plates. Need more info on that.

                                                                              1. I make a chocolate pie that I always get raves about. Believe it or not, I microwave a bought graham cracker crust IN ITS FOIL PAN and have never had any trouble with doing so. My microwave is ancient (probably 20-25 years old by now), and I'm afraid if I get a new one I won't be able to make this recipe anymore, but it is the easiest dessert to put together. I can do it in about 5 minutes. If anyone wants the specifics, just ask.

                                                                                1. In at work I am pretty dependent on the microwave. I use it to heat up a wide variety of insta-lunch type items.

                                                                                  I don't know if I would consider that cooking though. In fact, if I had the time, I wouldn't even rely as heavily on the quick items as I do.

                                                                                  In case your curious, the place of business:
                                                                                  Wine Reviews - http://www.classicwines.com

                                                                                  1. Last night my husband cooked an eye round roast in the mike. He's done this for over 20 years. When he first did it, I was very skeptical.But it tasted very good ! Other than that, its 'baked" potatos, white and sweet, corn on the cob, whole acorn squash.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: chowmel

                                                                                      can u tell us how he cooked it

                                                                                    2. Like many others, I cook a lot of veggies, but I've gotten more into steaming lately. However, I love cooking broccoli in the micro til it browns and gets a bit burnt (I know it loses nutrients, but love that browned taste).

                                                                                      I also precook potatoes or yams or corn before tossing in the toaster or on the grill to crisp and char.

                                                                                      Oatmeal and soy grits also get nuked in the micro to cook, of course watching to make sure they don't overflow.

                                                                                      I also make great chicken breasts poached in chicken broth.

                                                                                      1. i use the microwave to prep stuff but never to cook. like before frying FRIED CHICKEN, i nuke the pieces first so i'm sure they're not raw inside.

                                                                                        the microwave is also handy for when i'm rushing mashed potatoes: just submerge peeled potatoes with water in a microwave safe bowl and zap for 10-15 minutes.; drain, season and bash in the same bowl. just remember the bowl will be very hot so use pot holders and be careful.

                                                                                        i've also had 'acceptable' results browning minced garlic: i cover chopped garlic in vegetable oil and let rip on hi for 2-3 minutes and strain the bits after (i also reuse the lightly 'flavored' oil with good results).

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: epabella

                                                                                          Microwave pre-cooking: And, as C oliver just mentioned in the bacon thread, you could pre-cook your bacon a little before wrapping around shrimp or scallops so the bacon is cooked when the other is done.

                                                                                        2. i forgot to mention that i 'cheat' with my microwave whenever i make risotto: start as you normally would but use a pyrex bowl to saute your onions, etc. after i ladle in the first half of the stock required, i toss in the remaining half and nuke on hi for 3-5 minutes, then stir like crazy. this way i avoid having to constantly mind the pot and suffer the heat from the stove.

                                                                                          1. In 2003, I moved to a place without a microwave for a few months. As I knew I wouldn't be there long, I figured there was no point in buying a microwave. By the time I left, I was so used to functioning without one that I've never had one since and don't think to use them when I visit friends / family.

                                                                                            Back when I was young, my dad and I attended a course at the Sears that sold us our first microwave on the topic of microwave cooking. After that, lemon chicken cooked in the microwave was one of our favourites for quite a number of years.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: vorpal

                                                                                              I cook no Thai in the micro either.

                                                                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                I reheat Thai FOOD in the microwave. I think it reheats well as leftovers. Though Thais are smaller than us I don't think they would fit in or want to be in a microwave oven.

                                                                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                  Depends on the food, though. I find that rice noodles in the microwave are far from ideal. The best way to handle them is to put a little oil in a wok, throw them in, sprinkle lightly with water, and stir fry for a couple minutes over medium-high heat. The texture is much better this way.

                                                                                            2. I remember there was a time where I lived by the microwave...it was the most important tool in the kitchen LOL.... Now, I have grown up a bit.

                                                                                              I absolutely hate the microwave and pissed I ever spent so much money on one (its a convection type). Anyhow, the place I live has an installed microwave so now I have TWO.. LOL

                                                                                              I use it for reheats, butter, liquids, and steaming veggies in the bag.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: cityhopper

                                                                                                i just want to reiterate

                                                                                                i do not "cook" w/it i cook w/ it

                                                                                              2. As much as possible - it's faster, means less dishwashing, and maintains the flavor of fresh and frozen vegetables better than boiling on the stove. It also saves a lot of power, which is a plus in hot weather. In winter, I'll steam vegetables on the stove for extra warmth if the house is chilly.

                                                                                                Unshucked corn on the cob - the simplest and best flavored corn ever.
                                                                                                Hot cereals
                                                                                                Rice
                                                                                                Puddings
                                                                                                Baked potatoes (cook till mostly done, finish in oven for crisp skin)
                                                                                                Vegetables - fresh and frozen
                                                                                                Rouxs, white sauces
                                                                                                Cheese sauce
                                                                                                Bacon
                                                                                                Poached chicken breasts
                                                                                                Frankfurters and other pre-cooked sausages
                                                                                                Melting butter
                                                                                                Melting chocolate
                                                                                                Melting cheese on buns for burgers, hot dogs
                                                                                                Frico
                                                                                                Scrambled eggs - only if it's too hot to use the stove
                                                                                                Cooking soaked dry beans
                                                                                                Lentils
                                                                                                Marshmallow Krispie treats
                                                                                                Fruit compote
                                                                                                Chutney and jam
                                                                                                Baked apples'
                                                                                                Popcorn

                                                                                                I never, ever reheat leftovers, or something out of a can, on the stove. Anything that needs to be crisp goes in the oven or toaster oven, all other leftovers in the microwave.

                                                                                                1. Back in the late 80s, my family purchased a hulking monster of a microwave, and I (a teenager back then) made turkey in it. The microwave had all kinds of promises of browning, and I have to say it did brown some. The meat was very tender that night, but the next day it was exceedingly rubbery. Have never attempted turkey in a microwave since then.

                                                                                                  A few years later, I moved away from home and ended up in an apartment with no stove, only a microwave, for a couple of years. There are many things you can cook well in the microwave, from scrambled eggs to "baked" potatoes.

                                                                                                  I have to say, though, that now that I have both a stove and a microwave, I have embraced the stove as the main cooking appliance in my kitchen. However, the microwave is fabulous for

                                                                                                  Melting chocolate - no more double boiler, yay!!!

                                                                                                  Making popcorn, and I'm not talking packaged microwave popcorn. I have a great popper that makes it with no fat, in half the time, with 1% of the mess I create when I try making it stove-top

                                                                                                  Making Rice Krispie squares - the microwave is great for quickly melting the butter/marshmallow mixture, without burning it, and you won't have to stand there stirring all the while (just once in a while)

                                                                                                  Rewarming pizza - no, I don't do it entirely in the microwave, that results in a rubbery crust; but, I warm the pizza to just above room temperature and then put it in the toaster oven to heat it the rest of the way and recrisp it; this makes the reheating job many times faster, in my experience.

                                                                                                  Porridge - make it right in a glass/ceramic bowl and no messy pot to clean.