We usually look at the microwave and think about reheating old cups of tea, or making ready meals when we can’t be bothered to cook. At best, we’ve learned how to sculpt yesterday’s takeaway leftovers so they heat more evenly, but that’s about the extent of our microwave cooking.
But that’s a mistake. Microwaves are really efficient cooking machines, as they use much less energy than ovens or hobs do. And as we mentioned in the post about how LED light bulbs can save you money, we’re always looking for new ways to keep energy costs down. Cooking in microwaves can help you do just that.
Sure, you might have to adopt a different strategy to get the right texture in your food, but it’s totally possible to cook some amazing dishes in your microwave. Want more proof? Below are 12 microwave recipes that will totally change how you see that box in your kitchen.
Microwave recipes for breakfast
1/2 cup quick cooking porridge oats
1 tbsp ground flax seed
1/2 cup milk
1/3 a banana, mashed
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 an apple, chopped
2 tsp honey
Pop the oats, flax seed, egg and milk into a mug. Stir it well with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir again until it’s all fully combined. Cook it in the microwave on full power for 2-3 minutes. Fluff it with a fork. You can also add a little extra milk if it’s too dry.
1 1/2 tbsp milk
Salt and pepper
1/4 of a plain bagel or similar kind of chewy bread
2 tsp cream cheese
1/2 slice prosciutto or ham
Fresh thyme leaves or fresh chopped chives (optional)
Dijon mustard (optional)
Beat the egg and milk together with a fork in a coffee cup, and add the salt and pepper to taste. Tear bread into small pieces and stir it in. Add the cream cheese and stir, then add the prosciutto pieces and stir again. Microwave the mix on high for about 1 minute and 10 seconds. Garnish with the muster and fresh thyme or chives.
4 tbsp wholemeal plain flour
3 tbsp Demerara sugar, plus a bit extra to sprinkle on top later
1/3 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1/4 banana, mashed to a pulp
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp plain yoghurt
2 tbsp whisked egg
2 tbsp water
1 splash vanilla extract
Put all the ingredients (apart from the extra bit of sugar) in the mug and mix well. Make sure the mug is only about two-thirds full. Sprinkle on the sugar, and pop it into the microwave for three minutes on full power. The mix will have risen over the edge of the mug and will be nice and sticky. Let it stand for ten minutes before eating.
Also, you should know that it will be denser than regular muffins, but it should still be quite yummy.
Microwave recipes for main dishes
250g salmon fillet
Salt and pepper
1 lime, thinly sliced
Rinse and pat dry the salmon, and lay it skin down in a glass, microwave safe bowl. Mix the mayonnaise with a couple of drops of Tabasco, to taste. Lay a couple of lime slices on the top. Cover the dish and cook the fish for 3 and 1/2 minutes. Check if it’s done: the fish should flake easily when pulled at with a fork. If it’s not done, cook it on 30 to 60 second bursts until it is.
4 large potatoes
4 knobs of butter
Your jacket potato toppings of choice
Scrub the potatoes and prick them with a fork evenly all over. Cook the potatoes for around 9 minutes (it may be more or less, depending on the size of the potatoes) on full power, turning halfway through to make sure they cook evenly. Slice the potatoes length-wise, and add the butter. In a bowl, mix the toppings of your choice. If they include cheese, pop them into the potatoes and heat them for another 30 seconds or so, until the cheese has melted.
1 litre water
1 295g tin of condensed cream of mushroom soup
285g frozen broccoli florets
110g tinned fried onions
Put the water in a 2-litre microwave safe dish, and heat it on full power until it is bubbling, which will be about 15 minutes or so. Break the spaghetti in half, and put it in the water. Microwave it for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the pasta is cooked through. Drain the pasta and set it aside in the dish.
Cook the broccoli according to the microwave directions, then add it to the spaghetti. Reserve the broccoli water. Stir in half of the fried onions and the soup, and add the broccoli water. Toss this until it is mixed well, then top it with the remaining onions. Cover the dish, and microwave on full power until the top is crunchy, about 15 minutes.
Let it stand for about 5 minutes before eating.
Microwave recipes for side dishes
1kg butternut squash, cubed
2 onions, chopped
A knob butter
500ml vegetable stock
100ml double cream
Salt and black pepper
1 dash ground nutmeg
1 dash ground cloves
1 dash ground cinnamon
Put the squash, onion and butter in a large microwave safe dish. Cover it, and microwave it on full power for 4 minutes. Peel the squash if you haven’t already, and stir in the veg stock. Cook that on high for 20 to 25 minutes, until the squash is nice and tender. Puree the whole thing in a food processor or blender. Add the cream, salt and pepper, and blast it until heated through again, which is probably about 3 to 4 minutes. Finally, finish it off with the remaining spices.
Shaped pasta of your choice – though macaroni is the standard choice
A bag of fresh spinach
175g cream cheese or other spreadable cheese
Toasted bread crumbs (optional)
Put the water into a large microwave safe bowl, and heat for about 15 minutes on full power. When it is bubbling, add the pasta. Heat the pasta for another 15 minutes or so, until tender. Drain and set the pasta aside. Put the bag of spinach and the cheese into the bowl. When the cheese is melted and the spinach wilted, toss everything together. If you want a crunch, you can add toasted bread crumbs on top.
Serves 4-6 people
4 tbsp caster sugar
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp mixed spice
2 tbsp corn flour
275g vacuum packed beetroots, sliced
1 1/4 (about 295g) tins mandarin oranges, drained
Whisk together everything but the beetroot and mandarin in a large microwave safe bowl. Cook the mixture on full power for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is boiling and thick. Stir in the beetroot and mandarins. Let it stand so the mixture heats the beetroot through. You can then either serve it warm or chilled.
Microwave recipes for desserts
50g caster sugar
50g self raising flour
1 medium egg, beaten
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp of jam, golden syrup or treacle
In a medium sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until it is very smooth. Add in the egg and the milk very slowly, so the butter mix doesn’t curdle. Sift in the flour, and gently fold it in. Put the jam, syrup or treacle in the bottom of a microwave safe bowl, and gently pour the batter on top. Cover and cook it for 3 and 1/2 minutes on full power. It is done when the pudding looks firm when slightly jiggled and the top is sticky. Serve it hot.
4 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
4 tbsp self raising flour
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp Nutella (or more if you prefer)
1 egg, beaten
Add all the ingredients into a mug, and whisk with a fork until it is all combined well. Cook it on full power for 1 and 1/2 to 3 minutes. The cake should have risen above the lip of the mug. Top with whipped cream or chocolate sauce if you want.
50g (2oz) cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp sour cream
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
2-4 tbsp sugar to taste
Mix all the ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Cook it on full power for 90 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds to keep everything nicely mixed and smooth. Refrigerate until serving, or at least an hour. If you like, you can top it with fresh fruit, whipped cream or another topping.
Which one of these recipes are you going to try first? Is there anything you cook in the microwave?