When the microwave first came out, many believed it would revolutionize the way we cook. But here we are, 60 years later, and not that much has changed in the kitchen. While almost all kitchens are equipped with microwaves, they're really just used to reheat food and make quick popcorn. But so much more can be done with this kitchen appliance (as Marie Smith author of Microwave Cooking For One proves).
And though we're not suggesting you make all your meals in the microwave -- or any of them -- we found the list of dishes the microwave could make and the cooking tricks could help you with fairly impressive. You never know, it could come in handy when in a bind.
We know what you're thinking, bbq should never be made indoors and definitely not in a microwave. All we can say is that <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/330198/bbq-chicken-in-the-microwave-with-colesl?czone=home/home-tech/kitchen¢er=907785&gallery=274266&slide=256772" target="_blank">Martha Stewart says it's okay</a>.
Mac And Cheese
Surprisingly, this is even better than mac and cheese from the box. This <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/dinner-quick-onebowl-microwave-94006" target="_blank">microwave mac and cheese</a> recipe uses real sharp cheddar!
You might think a brownie made in a mug, in a microwave, would be the lowest of the low when it comes to brownies. This is not the case with the mug brownie recipe we found on NPR's The Salt. This <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/02/25/172505187/the-microwave-miracle-of-cooking-in-mugs" target="_blank">recipe has espresso, dried cherries and almonds</a>.
Pop Real Popcorn
Yes, we said it. You don't need to use bagged microwaveable popcorn to make popcorn in the microwave. But, you do need this crazy science lab looking contraption. You can get it at <a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Home-Marketplace-Microwave-Popcorn/dp/B002D3VIVC/ref=sr_1_2/?ie=UTF8&qid=1294963971&sr=8-2&tag=apartmentth0a-20" target="_blank">Amazon for $21.95</a>.
Corn On The Cob
Cooking corn in the microwave is as easy as peeling back the husks, placing them cobs on a paper towel and cooking on high for 8-9 minutes -- <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/314050/corn-on-the-cob-with-cilantro-lime-butte?czone=home/home-tech/kitchen¢er=907785&gallery=274266&slide=263280" target="_blank">until crisp-tender.</a>
Who needs a fancy espresso machine with a frother when they have a microwave? The smart folks at The Kitchn showed us how to froth milk in the microwave with nothing more than <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-milk-foam-without-100716" target="_blank">fresh milk and a small jar</a>.
Yep, the microwave can toast your nuts. Sometimes, even better than the oven (less <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/kitchen-shortcut-how-to-toast-99158" target="_blank">chance of scorching</a>). Cook time depends on the size of the nuts.
We're not kidding, you can make lemon curd in the microwave! No more worry about over cooking the eggs, no more mess of pots in the kitchen. You just need one bowl, and patience to heat the curd in 1 minute intervals until it <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/make-lemon-curd-in-the-microwa-140449" target="_blank">coats the back of a spoon</a>.
Peanut Butter Cups
We will forever be grateful to Martha Stewart for teaching us how to make <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/335622/easy-peanut-butter-cups?czone=home/home-tech/kitchen¢er=907785&gallery=274266&slide=260007" target="_blank">peanut butter cups </a>with the ease of the microwave.
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Not every cake can be successfully made in the microwave. But the flourless chocolate cake works beautifully; it's moist, dense, chocolatey and <a href="http://www.healthdiscovery.net/forums/showthread.php?207834-microwave-flourless-chocolate-cake" target="_hplink">cooks in just two minutes</a>.
Eggs, Any Style
Fried, scrambled or poached, you can make eggs any which way you like them with just a few minutes in the microwave. There are just a few key tips to remember (so that the <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8XXSrmH91E" target="_hplink">eggs don't explode</a> and make a big mess). First, never cook an egg still in its shell. Second, <a href="http://whatscookingamerica.net/Eggs/MicrowaveEggs.htm" target="_hplink">lightly pop the yolk</a> before cooking.
In a fraction of the time it takes to cook an artichoke the conventional way, you can make it in the microwave. When cooked the old fashioned way (in a pot with water) making an artichoke can take 35 minutes. But in the microwave, you <a href="http://kitchen-parade-veggieventure.blogspot.com/2008/04/how-to-cook-artichokes-in-microwave.html" target="_hplink">can have it done in 5-7</a> (allowing for a few more minutes to cool).
It's true that pudding is pretty easy to make. But it's just that much <a href="http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/microwave-chocolate-pudding-recipe.htm" target="_hplink">easier in the microwave</a> where you can make it in the same dish you serve it.
When making a fresh tomato sauce, you know you'll have to deal with the chore of peeling the skin off. The microwave can make that just a bit easier. Pop them in for 30 seconds (let rest for two minutes) and the tomato skin will slip off easily.
Reviving Potato Chips
There's no sadder fate for a potato chip than ending in soggy oblivion. But with a microwave, that problem is solved. If your chips have lost their crunch, place them on a paper towel and microwave for a few seconds. The paper towel will absorb the excess moisture and make your chips crisp again. You can also just slice up potatoes real thin, and zap them till they're crisp in the microwave.
When we think of bacon, we often imagine the sizzle and pop sounds coming from the pan. And while you won't get this in a microwave, you will <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Cook-Bacon-in-the-Microwave" target="_hplink">get perfectly cooked bacon</a> with a lot less mess and a little less grease.
Your microwave won't quite take the place of your juicer, but it can help coax the juice from limes and lemons. If you've got a hard or dry citrus fruit, pop it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and then give it a try.
Eggplant can be a tricky vegetable to prepare well. It easily becomes completely soaked up with oil or is dry and withered. But in the microwave, you can steam it in just <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/02/dining/02mini.html?pagewanted=all" target="_hplink">minutes for a perfectly silky </a> result.
Softening Brown Sugar
There are a few things you can do to revive your sugar and the microwave is one of them. Place a<a href="http://www.slashfood.com/2008/04/04/tip-of-the-day-revive-your-brown-sugar/" target="_hplink"> moist paper towel</a> in the bag, close it up, and microwave for 20-30 seconds. The sugar will be as good as new.
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