By Chef Alli on May 31, 2019

Microwave cooking tips

Microwave Cooking Tips

Microwave cooking can save you time and stress. Don’t miss these nine kitchen hacks that can you’re your microwave earn its keep in the kitchen. 

Microwave Cooking Pudding and Cream Pie Filling 

There's nothing worse than a saucepan full of homemade pudding with a scorched bottom. Instead, place your pudding ingredients into a large glass bowl, whisking to combine. Microwave on high power for four to five minutes, then whisk again. Return the pudding to the microwave and cook on high power in one-minute intervals, whisking after each one. Continue for two to three minutes more or until the pudding is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Whisk pudding until smooth, then cover with plastic wrap while warm, pressing the plastic wrap firmly against the top of the pudding; let cool completely, then chill. (FYI, pressing the plastic wrap over the top of the warm pudding prevents it from forming a skin as it cools.) 

Tempering Chocolate 

Here's how to have perfectly melted chocolate every time with no scorching: Rough chop the chocolate, placing it into a large glass bowl. Cook on full power in 30 second bursts, stirring gently after each one, until the chocolate is melted, glossy and smooth. Towards the end of the cooking time, you may need to microwave in 10-second bursts, stirring after each one. 

Toasting Nuts and Coconut 

Nuts and coconut are high in calories and fat; toasting them makes them much more fragrant, allowing you to use less in your recipe. Arrange walnuts, pecans or almonds in a circle on a plate or small platter; microwave for one minute, then in 30-second increments as needed, tossing the nuts after one minute. How do you know when the nuts are toasted? Use your nose - as soon as the nuts are fragrant, they’re done. Let the nuts cool, then store them in a freezer bag in your freezer for easy access. Coconut can be toasted in the same fashion, and you will easily be able to see the progress since it turns from light to dark in color. 

Gaining More Juice from Citrus 

To make your lemons and limes much more pliable and easier to squeeze, pop them (whole) into the microwave and heat on full power for 30 seconds. Let the citrus cool enough to handle, then cut them in half and juice away. The heat from the microwave softens the citrus rind allowing for more juice. If you prefer, juice whole lemons and limes by inserting an ice pick into one end; squeeze to expel juice through the hole.

Cooking Corn on The Cob 

We love to steam corn on the cob in the microwave. Place an ear of corn, shucks and all, into the microwave and cook on full power for four minutes. Remove the ear of corn from the microwave using hot pads. Still using the hot pads, pull the hot shucks back and away from the ear of corn. As you do so, most of the corn silk should easily pull away from the ear of corn right along with the husks. For each additional ear of corn you put in the microwave to cook together, add one minute to the total cooking time.

Cooking Bacon 

Place a couple paper towels onto a dinner plate, laying five to six strips of bacon on top, covering the bacon with another layer of paper towels. Cook the plate of bacon on full power for two minutes. Flip the bacon strips over, cover again and cook for another two minutes. As the bacon cools, it will get crispier. This method isn’t quite as good as pan-fried, air-fried or oven-baked, but it's fast and easy in a pinch.

Making Winter Squash Easier to Peel and Cube for Sheet Pan Roasting 

Roasting butternut squash in the oven with a bit of olive oil is delicious since high heat causes the squash to release its natural sugars. But first, you’ve got to peel and cube that thing. Here’s a super slick way to do it: 

  1. Using a fork or sharp knife point, poke holes all over the winter squash to allow steam to escape while it's cooking in the microwave. 
  2. Next, place the squash into the microwave and cook on full power for three minutes. Remove the squash from the microwave, letting it rest until it’s cool enough to handle. This short amount of time in the microwave will now allow you to very easily peel the squash. 
  3. On a cutting board, cut the butternut horizontally in half; scoop out the seeds in the bulb. Now slice each half into slices that you can then cut into cubes. 
  4. Place the cubes of squash onto a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a 425-degree oven, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, or until fork-tender and caramelized. Season with salt and pepper to taste; serve at once. 

Disinfecting Your Kitchen Sponge 

Place your wet kitchen sponge in the microwave and heat on full power for one minute. This process will kill 99% of any bacteria within the sponge. 

Speedy Microwave Cleaning Hack

Fill a medium-size glass bowl 2/3 full with water; add a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice. Microwave for four minutes, then allow the bowl to sit in the microwave for five to 10 minutes. The condensation from the hot water will steam your microwave, loosening any “gunk” that happens to be adhered on the sides, top and turntable. Carefully remove the bowl of hot lemon water from the microwave, immediately wiping down the inside, including the turn table. You will have a sparkling clean microwave in just minutes.

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  • Chef Alli

    Chef Alli is a wife, mom and chef. She's been stirring up a love of farm fresh cooking for more than a decade.  To see more of Alli's recipes, go to www.chefallis.com.