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Category: Kitchen: Frugal Tips

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Microwave Tips

by Nikki Willhite

Cooking has gotten so much simpler with the invention of the microwave. We really appreciate using ours in the summer, so as not to heat the house up by turning on the oven.

Here are some tips for using your microwave, so that you donít waste money on cracked dishes or dried out food. Remember that all microwaves differ in the amount of power that they put out, and times are approximate.

-Choose the proper dishes

-Always make sure the dishes you use in your microwave are safe for it. If you are not sure about a
particular dish, fill it half full of water. Then set it next to your microwave, and turn on your microwave (high power) for one minute. It the dish gets hot, it is not safe for cooking. If the dish gets warm, you can use it for reheating (usually done at about 80 percent power). If the dish stays at room temperature, it is safe for all cooking.

-Always use a dish twice the size of what you are putting in to it to avoid your food spilling out.

-Do not use gold or silver trimmed dishes. They could ruin the microwave.

Cooking Times

-Always use the lowest cooking time specified in your recipe. It is easy to dry out food in your microwave.

-Heat your food thoroughly

-Do not be in a rush to eat your food when your buzzer sounds. Remember, that the way the microwave functions is to let the food sit for a few minutes when it is done cooking. The food continues cooking and distributes the heat evenly throughout your food. Test for doneness after the standing time.

-Arrange evenly sized food in a circle for more even cooking. Thicker foods should be place toward outer edges for faster cooking. Food cooks better if cut in uniform sizes.

-Always stir at least once during the cooking cycle.

Reheating Food

-Allow 2 minutes for each cup of refrigerated food.
-Cover rolls with a napkin or cloth, and cook at full power for 20 seconds, more or less depending on
 the number of rolls.
-When reheating a sandwich, wrap it in paper towels to absorb excess moisture.
-Heat gravy for one minute at full power.
-Reheat popcorn at full power for 20 seconds.
-Pancakes should be reheated in a stack, for 25 seconds.

Special Food Considerations

The microwave works best with foods that have a high moisture content, like fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables.

Here are some tips for specific foods

-Apples - pierce before cooking to let off steam and avoid splattering.
-Bacon- separate cold bacon by microwaving 35 seconds at full power.
-Butter- Soften a stick of butter at 50 percent power for 45 seconds.
-Chocolate (square) - Melt at 100 percent power for 45 seconds per ounce of chocolate.
-Coconut Toast a cup of coconut at full power for 2-3 minutes. Spread out thinly to toast.
-Cream, Sour Cream and Eggs- Lower the power to avoid curdling.
-Citrus -microwave for 20 seconds & you will get more juice when squeezed.
-Day old cookies, crackers, potato chips- Renew at full power for 10 seconds.
-Fish (frozen)- thaw in original container at 30 percent power.
-Fruit (dried)- Plum by putting in bowl with a little water and cooking them at high power for 20
-Hash browns (frozen)- thaw first in microwave, then use skillet.
-Herbs- Add during the standing time. Dry fresh herbs in your microwave.
-Ice Cream- Soften frozen ice cream at 30 percent power for 20 seconds.
-Pancakes (syrup)- Heat in itís own container at full power.
-Peas and beans (dried)- use the regular oven or stove.
-Potatoes (mashed) - Cube the potatoes. Add water. Microwave covered until soft, then season with
  milk or cream.
-Potatoes (baked)- Always pierce the skin or cut off the ends to let steam escape.
-Salt- do not add until cooking is finished. Salt draws out moisture.
-Sugar (brown)- loosen hard packed sugar by placing an apple slice in the bag and microwaving at
  full power 5 seconds.
-Vegetables- Cook on high power. Figure around 6-7 minutes per pound. Add butter to the water
  before cooking. Cook in beef, chicken or vegetable broth for better flavor. Cover dark green
  vegetables with wax paper for better flavor and color.


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Category: Kitchen: Frugal Tips

Related Links:  | Recipes | Frugal Tips | Barbecue | Dessert | Fruit | Homemade |
 | Meal Planning | Meat | Organization | Sauces | Veggies |

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