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.
April 05, 2013
1 of 13Photo: Romulo Yanes
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.
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.
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.
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.