Embrace Your Inner Chef, Using just the Microwave! 

Author Brooke Beales, Keiser University Dietetic Intern 

Has the idea of cooking a meal ever felt like a hassle? Maybe you think this way because of physical limitations, a lack of kitchen space, or because preparing a meal itself can seem overly demanding. 

If this is the case, don’t worry. The trusty ol’ Microwave is the perfect appliance to help get the job done. Whether you’re reheating leftovers or preparing a meal from fresh or frozen foods, the Microwave can do it all. Convenient and easy to use, here are a few ways to help you whip up a quality meal in no time. 

But before getting started, let’s sort one thing out.  

Microwave ovens are entirely safe! The radiation is harmless. Just be mindful of the containers you use. Glass, ceramics, and plastic utensils labeled “microwave safe” are all a good choice.1 

The Art of Reheating 

It is common to open a fridge or freezer and find containers filled with leftover favorites. With the use of a microwave, any food can be revived in minutes without the trouble of dirtying more pots and pans! Just keep in mind: 

  1. Reheating in intervals, 30-seconds or by the minute, and stirring or flipping in between will help distribute temperature evenly.  
  1. Adding a splash of water, oil, or sauce to a dish will help prevent drying out.  
  1. Separating foods that do not cook well together prevents overcooking or undercooking. For example, take yesterday’s barbequed hotdog. To avoid an overcooked hotdog or a chewy, dried-out bun, reheat the hot dog first and then the bun.3 

Minute Meals 

With the number of microwave gadgets available now, you can prepare almost anything! Pasta cookers, rice cookers, steamers, omelet pans, and egg poachers are all available. You can try these gadgets or just stick to what you have. Sometimes a bowl or cup is all you need. 

Here is a quick and straightforward recipe for microwaved scrambled eggs2

Ingredients: 2 eggs 2 tbsp 1% milk 1 pinch of salt and pepper ¼ C finely chopped vegetables (mushroom, peppers, broccoli, onion, etc.) 2 tbsp shredded cheddar cheese (or your favorite cheese)  Directions: Lightly grease the inside of a 12oz mug. Use a fork to combine the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Add the vegetables and microwave the eggs uncovered for 45 seconds. Gently stir eggs with a fork and add in cheese. Microwave for another 45 seconds. Serve immediately.   

Browse the internet and be shocked by how many enjoyable meals can be made by just using the Microwave: macaroni and cheese, enchiladas, a filet of salmon, or a brownie in a mug! Use MyPlate.gov to find even more recipes that include the food groups for each meal, nutrition information, and total cost. 

Entering the World of Frozen Foods 

The options of frozen foods are endless- from breakfast foods to lunch and dinner entrees, snacks, desserts, fruits, and vegetables, you name it! Microwaveable meals can offer a convenient and healthy meal for any time of the day, not to mention, it is a great way to add variety to your diet! With international frozen meals, you can taste flavors from around the world in just minutes without even leaving your kitchen. 

Dietary concerns? Don’t feel discouraged. Nutrition labels are always provided on the back of any given item. If it’s something to be highlighted, such as “low sodium” it will most likely be advertised on the front. The recommended value for sodium intake is less than 2,300 mg a day, it is best that each one of your meals contains 600 mg or less. If you’re overwhelmed by the number of brands, Amy’s and Kashi are two choices among the many that can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

Remember, the Microwave is more than just a tool to cook a bag of popcorn. Try using the Microwave daily, whether it be for reheating, getting a frozen or freshly prepared meal on the table, or for a quick snack while watching your favorite show! 

Sources: 

  1. Brown, J. (2020, July 14). Is it safe to microwave food? BBC Future. Accessed September 30, 2021. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200714-is-it-safe-to-microwave-food 
  1. Carlos, A. The best way to Reheat leftovers in the microwave. Food Network. Accessed September 30, 2021. https://www.foodnetwork.com/how-to/packages/food-network-essentials/the-best-way-to-reheat-leftovers-in-the-microwave 
  1. Veggie Omelet in a Mug. USDA MyPlate U.S Department of Agriculture. Accessed September 30, 2021. https://www.myplate.gov/recipes/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap/veggie-omelet-mug 

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