A Few Unconventional Uses for Your Microwave

Often called “nuking” your food, microwaving your food is usually seen as the purview of college students and people in a hurry. When you have frozen food from the freezer or leftovers from the day before, a quick spin in the microwave can make them hot again. While that is generally the accepted and most common use, it’s not the only one. Once you understand the way they operate, you can actually do a good bit of cooking that will make your life a lot easier. Cooking in the appliance is often preferable to alternatives for a few reasons; you can keep things clean a lot easier than you would cooking on the stovetop or in the conventional oven, and you can cook things a lot faster. There are a few drawbacks, but you can definitely account for them.

Bacon

Bacon is actually best cooked in the microwave. These ovens use waves to create motion in the water molecules in your food. They heat up the water in your food, causing it to move rapidly out of your food. That’s how you can actually burn something even though there’s no fire; the food essentially dries out incredibly quickly, and that’s also why food tends to dry out so much faster than they might in the conventional oven. Bacon, however, has a low water content. You should put your bacon on a plate, sandwiched between a few layers of paper or cloth towels. These towels will soak up the fat that is rendered, as well as keep fat from splashing into your appliance. Clean up is as easy as throwing away your paper towels or washing your cloth towels. The general rule of thumb is that you should run your oven for about one minute per strip of bacon, but that will depend on your oven, your preferences, and your bacon.

Ground Meat

You might not think it, but you can make a great cheeseburger in your microwave. Since the oven drives moisture and oil out of the meat, it will cook very quickly. Cheese also melts really well when it’s nuked. A problem here is that the meat does not actually cook long enough to get brown; you tend to end up with a grayish sort of burger patty. The taste of the burger can be great, but the colour isn’t very appetising. Most recipes for nuked burgers tend to call for something to make it brown; Steak sauce, Worcestershire, or any other of a whole host of brown marinades will probably do the trick, and you can have great burgers in minutes.

Vegetables

Vegetables respond really well to being cooked this way, because they are mostly moisture anyway. To cook most vegetables, you just need to heat up the water. Most people would steam them, but you can do that much faster in a microwave. Since the vegetables are mostly moisture, you just need to put them in a dish with a lid tight enough to hold liquid, and they will create their own steam. This is also especially nice because they will retain their bright colour when cooked this way.