In most kitchens, the microwave is a reheater and a defroster. But there are ways to coax out delicious flavors and textures that you'd swear came from an old-fashioned, slow-cook oven.
We had a thousand-watt mission to demonstrate that cooks who use microwave ovens only to reheat coffee or to thaw and heat
frozen foods are missing a fundamental point: The microwave can actually cook food.
By "cook" we mean deliver crisp textures and complex flavors associated with the dry heat of the much slower regular oven. We wanted a quick, moist meat loaf, for example, or a genuinely creamy risotto that takes half the stovetop time and requires half the amount of stirring.
First, you won't want to miss these Microwave Sweet Potato Chips. You'll need a mandoline to slice the potato thin enough to crisp. The results are delicious and easy, sans the hassle of the oven.
View Recipe: Microwave Sweet Potato Chips
This entrée cooks in 7 minutes, with very little cleanup. The bags we used (Ziploc) are dioxin-free and food-safe in the microwave.
View Recipe: Cod with Fennel and Orange
Substitute pecans, walnuts, peanuts, or pine nuts for almonds, if you prefer.
View Recipe: Almond Brittle
This risotto is not covered while microwaving. Be sure you are using at least a 2-quart bowl to allow plenty of room for the
liquid to boil.
View Recipe: Asparagus and Lemon Risotto
The meat loaf cooks in the microwave for just 8 minutes, a fraction of the time it takes for traditionally baked meat loaf.
Broiling the cheese on top of the cooked meat loaf until it's brown and bubbly lends the dish a pleasing, oven-baked look.
View Recipe: Everyday Meat Loaf
This hearty dish, with eggs, beans, and cheese, is good for any meal. Add a little cooked chicken or ground beef for a filling
breakfast-for-dinner option, or cook the eggs ahead and pack each ingredient separately for an assemble-at-work lunch. It's
also good for kids to make themselves, as everything cooks quickly in the microwave, no stove necessary.
View Recipe: Quick Breakfast Tostada
Make the combination of peanut butter and chocolate even better by stirring in instant coffee granules and topping the fudge
with chopped peanuts.
View Recipe: Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Fudge
Baking the potato in the microwave makes this dish a snap to prepare. Fontina, mozzarella, or even Parmesan would work in
this dish. Serve with filet mignon, flank steak, or a seasonal green salad.
View Recipe: Caramelized Onion-Stuffed Baked Potato
Everyone loves tacos. These easy-to-make soft tacos can be spicy or mild, depending on the type of salsa you choose. Serve
with a tomato-and-onion salad.
View Recipe: Soft Chicken Tacos
This recipe resembles a hearty potato hash and is a great use for leftover ham. Cooked entirely in the microwave, it's ready
to eat in less than 15 minutes, so pair it with fresh fruit or a salad for a truly effortless dinner.
View Recipe: Ham and Cheese Hash Browns
For an even shorter prep time, omit the braiding step. Cut salmon fillet into four (six-ounce) pieces, and cook as directed
in braided method.
View Recipe: Braided Salmon