Your Kitchen Friend, The Microwave Oven


So you’ve bought your first home. Congratulations! You have lots of work ahead to turn it into your castle. To give yourself more time, consider cutting the amount of time spent preparing meals. The microwave oven is a handy tool to reduce cooking time for meals, snacks or leftovers.

Before starting, take time to read the manual that came with the microwave. This will give suggestions and ideas of dishes with similar cooking times, along with instructions for using the oven. Some ovens have features on the keypad that allow a whole meal to cook at once. Think meatloaf, baked potatoes and carrots. Doesn’t that sound delicious?

Some utensils and tools can make microwave cooking easier. A turntable is very helpful. It rotates the food constantly so you don’t need to move the dishes around to avoid cold and hot spots in the foods. Microwave safe dishes of varying sizes enable you to easily find the best one for every food you want to prepare. If you’re unsure if a dish is safe to use in the microwave, you can check by putting it in the oven with a cup of water and heating at 100% power for one minute. If the water gets hot and the dish doesn’t, the dish is safe to use. If the dish gets hot, it’s not safe to use in the oven. Another utensil that’s helpful is a meat thermometer. When poked into the food, it will tell you when the proper temperature is reached so it’s safe to eat.

Back to your planned meal: meatloaf, baked potatoes and carrots. What if you didn’t thaw the hamburger earlier and it comes out of the freezer as hard as a cement slab? Never fear; the microwave is here and defrosting is one of its best features. Once again, consult the owners’ manual. You’ll probably find everything you need to know about defrosting meat and other foods. One caution. Don’t defrost until you’re almost ready to cook the meal. When defrosting, some of the meat may start to cook and if you don’t finish cooking it completely very soon, dangerous bacteria can grow. Check the recipe for standing time, too. Food continues to cook after the bell rings or the buzzer goes off. Follow the instructions of each recipe for best results.

Snacks you find in the frozen food section of the grocery store are easy to prepare in the microwave. The directions are right on the package. Note you are advised to lift a corner of the lid. On other entrees, the instructions say to cut a slit in the plastic. This allows the steam that builds up during cooking to dissipate safely and could save anyone who opens the container from a painful burn.

Reheating leftovers is easy with a microwave. You don’t even have to use a dish. Paper plates, napkins and paper towels are great to use. Covering the food with a napkin or paper towel can keep the top and walls of the oven from being splattered. If it happens anyway, cleaning is easy. Put two tablespoons of lemon juice and one cup of water in a two cup measuring cup. Microwave on high for two minutes, until the liquid is boiling. Leave the cup in the microwave for five minutes and don’t open the door. After removing the cup, the microwave will wipe clean with a paper towel.

While some unexpected utensils, like paper plates and napkins are perfectly fine for cooking in a microwave, some things you’d expect to use are not recommended. Anything made of metal, including bowls, pans or spatulas can damage the oven. The microwaves that give the oven its name bounce off metal objects and can cause a fire in the oven.

As you work on your new home, don’t forget your friend, your kitchen helper, your microwave oven.

This post was written by

jasonjason – who has written posts on Home Tips Plus.
I'm a father of three, married and a home owner since 2006. I've worked in fixing up homes and rental properties.

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