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English: An American actually discovered durin...

Microwave Oven

And you thought your microwave was just for reheating take-out food or rewarming your cup of coffee.  Well check out this list of 10 things you never thought your microwave could do!

 

  1. Cutting Onions Just Got Easier – Trim the ends off your onions and put them in the microwave for 30 seconds on HIGH.  Your eyes won’t sting when you peel them.
  2. Brown Sugar Rock Solid – Place a dampened paper towel in the box and close the lid.  Put in the microwave on HIGH for 20-30 seconds.
  3. Cleaning the Microwave – uh oh you put the spaghetti in the micro for too long and too high.  Fill a small bowl with water and add some white vinegar.  Place bowl in the microwave and heat it on HIGH for a couple of minutes until the mess softens and will wipe clean easily.
  4. Fix Your Old Honey –  a jar of crystalized honey can be restored in your microwave.  Remove the lid and heat on 50% power for 2 minutes.
  5. Get A Hot Compress Quick – Wet a wash cloth or hand towel and heat on HIGH for one minute.
  6. Juicier Lemons + Limes – Put the whole lemon or lime in the microwave and heat for 10-20 seconds on HIGH.  It will be easier to squeeze and yield more juice.
  7. Make Sure Your Containers Are Safe To Use – we’ve all heard about the danger in re-using take out food containers to reheat food.  You can check it out by placing a mug, that you know is microwave safe, with cold water in it.  Put the mug in the container and heat on HIGH for one minute. If the water is hot and the container is cold, it’s safe to re-use.
  8. Don’t Blanch, Just Microwave – You can peel tomatoes and peaches easily by placing in your microwave and heating on HIGH for 30 seconds and then let them sit for 2 minutes.  They should peel easily.
  9. Long Live The Potato Chip – If your potato chips have gotten soggy, place them on a paper towel and heat them briefly in the microwave till they crisp.
  10. Forget To Soak The Beans Overnight? – Place the beans in a bowl and cover completely with water.  Add a pinch of bicarbonate of soda and heat on high for 10 minutes and then let them rest for 30-40 minutes.

Thanks to Gail who sent me these clever time-saving ideas.

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Whirlpool microwave oven

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AND you thought it was only good for reheating leftovers from last night’s dinner, steaming some broccoli or heating up a cup of coffee.   Many people look down on cooking with a microwave, given its association with TV dinners and frozen burritos!  Well sit back and read these suggestions gleaned from a great web site, sent to my by my friend, Susan.  You will see that using a microwave can be a healthier method of cooking food.

Your Microwave Can…

Poach eggs Great for the office. Take some leftover greens or pasta and poach a fresh, gooey egg to throw on top.  Crack one egg into a mug or bowl.  Add 1/3 cup water and 1/2 tsp white vinegar.  Cover the bowl with a microwave safe plate. Heat on 80% power for 60 seconds.  Check, if not quite done, on 80% power, continue in 20 second bursts.  Great idea for lentils, brown rice or salad and makes a great office lunch.

Make potato chips – Easy, crispy potato chips — from the microwave? With no fat? Believe it. Arrange thin slices of potato in a steam basket or plate (with a few paper towels on plate). Microwave for 3 minutes starting on high and decreasing temperature every minute.  Chips should have brown toasty spots – watch for charring as they quickly go from one stage to the next quickly.

Froth milk for your latte – No, you don’t need a special machine — just your microwave and a jar, and you can have frothy topping in no time.  You will need a jar with a lid, milk and your microwave.  Fill the jar with the normal amount of milk you like in your coffee (jar should not be more than half full).  Shake the jar for about 30 seconds till the milk froths and fills up jar.  Remove lid and microwave on high for another 30 seconds; the froth will rise to the top of jar and heat should stabilize it.  Pour milk in your coffee using a spoon to hold back the foam. Then spoon foam on top. 

Cook polentaPolenta doesn’t have to be a time-consuming stovetop affair. This makes a quick bowl for breakfast or supper.  You will need 1 cup water, 1/4 cup coarse cornmeal, pinch of salt, 1 tsp olive oil (optional), milk (optional).  Mix water, cornmeal, salt, oil if using, in a bowl and set microwave for 5 minutes on high.  Halfway through cooking, stir polenta, drizzle in a bit of milk if desired.  Put bowl back in oven, continue cooking. It should be thickening at 5 minutes and will continue to cook after it is out.  Top with more milk, poached egg or brown sugar and walnuts and you have one delicious hearty breakfast. 

Make a quick bowl of mac and cheese – from scratch! – Yes, cook the pasta and the sauce in the microwave. It’s ready in less than 10 minutes. This method wins over the box every time.  For a single serving; 1/2 cup macaroni, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 cup milk (any percent), 1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese or any other cheese you like.  Combine  pasta, water and salt in microwave -safe bowl and heat on high in two minute intervals until pasta is al dente, stirring at each interval – should take 6-8 minutes.  If water is absorbed before pasta is done, add another 2 TBS of water.  Stir in milk and cheese and microwave on high in 30 second intervals until cheese is creamy and stirring at each interval and 1 to 1 1/2 minutes total.  For creamier sauce, add extra tablespoon or two of milk and cheese. 

Toast nuts – Yep, you can toast nuts in the microwave. It’s quick, with less chance of scorching them.  Spread 1/2 cup walnut pieces or other nut on a microwave-safe dish and in one minute intervals, cook on high, stir at intervals.  It may take up to 8 minutes to get that crisp texture, nutty aroma and toasted flavor and you didn’t have to heat up the whole oven and no chance of them getting charred. 

Dry herbs – A good way to preserve fresh herbs for the fall and winter. Need herbs, plate,  paper towel/paper plate.  Wash herbs and spin dry.  Place on towel to catch any remaining water.  De-stem leaves, spread on plate or paper plate.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds – repeat till leaves are crunchy. Some will take up to 2 minutes, others much less. 

Proof bread dough – Hurry up your last bread rise a little bit with a couple zaps from the microwave. After your bread has gone through initial bread rise, you can try this to speed up the last rise.  Cover bread dough with very wet towel, then cover that with dry towel and heat in microwave for 25 seconds. Let rest for 5 minutes, put back in microwave for 25 seconds then remove.  Let rest and rise for about 45 minutes.  The two heat zaps and moisture from towel should have accelerated the proofing.  

Sanitize kitchen equipment – You can use the microwave to sanitize sponges and disinfect cutting boards.  Take very wet sponge and microwave for two minutes to kill 99% of the germs living in it and if your plastic cutting board will fit in your microwave, rub it with a cut half of lemon and microwave for one minute. 

Make popcorn, without a bag – Wait, you say — I know the microwave makes popcorn. You just buy those little packets… Well, yes. But did you know that you can skip those and just put regular popcorn kernels in a greased bowl and pop them in the microwave that way?  Add popcorn kernels to a pyrex bowl or other microwave-safe bowl, cover with a plate or another bowl slightly askew to allow venting.   Microwave about 2 1/2 minutes on high.

 

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