Any college student will tell you how the boxy invention, known as the microwave, has saved their tails many-a-time. Of course our fond memories of microwave cuisine include such horrors as rubbery, tasteless, and fattening flavors. rest assured that the microwave has more capabilities than Top Ramen and Hot Pockets - all it takes is a little know-how and some ingenuity.
The microwave heating method:
Before we embark on the heating turntable, we need to understand how the microwave functions in delivering a hot meal to the hungry and impatient. A microwave oven uses radio waves to heat the food. The water and fat molecules in the food rub together and cause friction when high amounts of radio waves are present, creating heat and making the food hot. A microwave oven also uses significantly less electricity than an electric oven, about 70% over a studied 100 hour segment of use. Another benefit is that a microwave won't heat up your whole house like an oven will, making that additional use of home heating/cooling less frequent and saving you additional money and you don't even know it.
Now that we understand a bit of microwave science, we can apply this knowledge to more proper cooking techniques when using it.
- Rule of thumb for cooking meat in the microwave is 6 minutes per pound of meat.
- Since the cooking process rubs water molecules in the food, some of the water content in the food evaporates, making the food rubbery in texture. To alleviate this issue, sprinkle the food with tap water, or add about 1-2 tablespoons of water to the bottom of the cooking dish to compensate for the water loss.
- Arrange the thicker parts of the meal towards the outer parts of the cooking dish, and thinner parts of the meal in the center to allow for more even cooking.
- If the food is covered in conventional cooking, cover it in the microwave also. Be sure to vent the cover to allow steam to escape.
- Add salt to your meal AFTER cooking in the microwave, as the salt can draw out excess liquid during the cooking process.
I hope those tips assist you in making dishes from the microwave that are so tasty, you'll fool everyone!
One more thing...Recipes would be nice, wouldn't they? No worries, I got you covered. I highly recommend the following site, devoted to microwave meals without the TV Dinner sigma. This site has perhaps the largest collection of microwave recipes I have ever seen, and what's better is that they utilize fresh ingredients that you would see in traditional gourmet cooking. See for yourself and you'll be surprised: Microwave Recipes Cookbook Online
All of these tips, tools, and ideas at your fingertips will no longer leave you looking at the microwave in disgust when you want a quick, good meal. Not to mention, you'll be saving money on energy costsand the ability to devote more of your time to your busy lifestyle.