When you're on the go and need to grab a quick bite or if you have a sudden late-night craving, cooking can be an intricate endeavour that you just don't have time for. In these cases, you are most likely to turn to store-bought microwavable frozen food or a cup of instant noodles.
With this list of 10 helpful microwave hacks, you can satisfy your cravings without dealing with time-consuming prep work and long cooking times. You will also learn a few useful microwave hacks to help you make use of your microwave for more than just reheating leftovers and defrosting frozen food.
1. Brownies in a mug
Of all the great things that can come in a mug, a microwaved brownie has got to be the best. Just mix all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and cinnamon) in the mug and mix in the wet ingredients (oil, water, and vanilla) until there are no lumps. Then, cook everything in the microwave on high for about a minute and 40 seconds (depending on your microwave). These microwaveable brownies are perfect for when the sugar craving strikes out of the blue.
2. Microwave potato chips
Slightly crinkled and surprisingly crispy microwaved potato chips with a sweet, earthy potato flavour take only a few minutes to make. This crispy baked potato chip is easy enough to make, and will certainly serve to satisfy your craving. It just takes slicing potatoes thinly (about an eighth of an inch or 3 mm), before placing them in a single layer on a plate and microwaving for three minutes at a time. Remember to decrease the power level and flip the potatoes after each round for best results.
3. Steamed vegetables
Steaming in the microwave is one of the easiest ways to prepare vegetables and can be done in minutes. Steaming a vegetable also, helps retain more of its original texture, flavour, and nutrients. When it comes to microwave cooking food, careful cutting is essential to even cooking. The time needed to fully steam the vegetables also depends on two things: the power of your microwave and the type of vegetable.
4. Get more juice from a lemon or lime
The next time you're juicing lemons or limes for lemonade, a cocktail or even a tasty salmon dish, microwave them until their skin is warm to the touch. Simply keep the lemon whole, pop it in the microwave for about 20 seconds before cutting and squeezing to yield more juice.
5. Peel garlic faster
If you are sick of having dry and smelly hands from peeling garlic, let your microwave do the work instead. Simply put a whole head of garlic into the microwave for about 15 to 20 seconds on high to have the cloves easily come out of their skin.
6. Soak legumes quickly
Forgetting to soak lentils or beans overnight before cooking is a dreaded thing for many. Not only does it extend the cooking time, it’s can also be frustrating when you are pressed for time. To speed up the cooking process, all you need to do is place those beans or lentils in a bowl filled with water, add a pinch of baking soda and microwave them for about 10 minutes. Afterwards, allow them to rest for 30-40 minutes to have them ready for cooking.
7. Stop your food from drying up
Microwaves heat up food by bombarding the water molecules with energy. This makes them move around faster and heat up. As the water becomes steam, it can remove moisture from our food, rendering it tough and rubbery. Prevent this from happening by either wrapping or covering your food with a damp towel.
8. Dry herbs for garnishing
Dried hearty herbs can be used very much like their fresh counterparts for flavouring roasts or sautés, for sprinkling into soups or on your pizza, or for stewing and braising meat. Lay the cleaned herb leaves in a single layer on a microwaveable plate. Microwave them in 30-second sessions, turning the leaves over between each session.
9. Quick Omelette
Microwaving eggs can easily satisfy your craving for fluffy eggs in little to no time. Just beat two eggs into a glass dish, add some shredded cheese (the more the fluffier) and the filling you desire (onions, bell peppers or chicken) before seasoning to taste. Put it in the microwave on high for about 4 to 5 minutes.
10. Steam clean your microwave
The quickest and safest (chemical-free) way to clean your microwave is to place two lemon halves into a bowl of water and microwave it for five minutes. Next, take the bowl out and quickly wipe down the inside of your microwave with a dry sponge. The process is guaranteed to be quite effortless and effective in removing food stains.