Microwave cooking is easy |  Food and cooking

Microwave cooking is easy | Food and cooking

BERNIE MASON For Lee Montana Newspapers

The extreme heat we’ve experienced this summer has us looking for ways to save money on energy costs and keep our homes cooler. Using the microwave to cook meals is one way to do this. Cooking with a microwave uses 80% less energy than using a conventional oven or stove, which saves on your energy bill. The microwave is good for many uses other than just reheating food or popping popcorn. In the early 1980s, I gave many demonstrations of the use of the microwave oven, and people were surprised by its versatility. It can be used for baking bread or pies, roasting meat, cooking casseroles and making jams and jellies. It’s the best way to cook a white sauce or pudding without worrying about scorching the sauce. It is also a time and energy saver for making baked potatoes. Although the microwave may not brown food as well as the oven, it is easy to make it more appetizing. To give your microwaved bread or cake a crust-like appearance and to help preserve freshness, lightly grease your baking dish and sprinkle with some kind of crumble topping. Sauces such as Worcestershire or ketchup can be used to brush the top of the meat. Cakes or quick breads may have uncooked dough in the bottom center. Elevating the dish by placing it on an inverted plate will help with more even cooking. Since microwave ovens can have different power levels, cooking times may vary. Always start with the least amount of time suggested in the recipe and add more as needed.

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Basic steak

The fritters stay moister when microwaved, so this recipe does not contain milk or water. If you want to use a favorite recipe, reduce the liquid by about half. Microwave according to time, but use a thermometer to test for doneness (145 – 155). They should be firm to the touch on top. If you use a round roasting pan, a ring dish will cook more evenly. You can create one by placing a bowl of custard in the center of the casserole and layering the steak mixture around it.

1½ kilos of lean beef

1/4 cup fine breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons ketchup, steak, barbecue or chili sauce (for topping)

Mix well all the ingredients except the topping sauce. Decide which shape you want to use for steak, loaf, round or individual. Spread the steak mixture on the plate. Top with sauce, if desired. Microwave on high 12 – 18 minutes for the round pan, 8 – 13 minutes for the ring pan, 13 – 18 minutes for the loaf and 10 – 13 minutes for 6 individual buns. Rotate halfway through the cooking time if the microwave does not have a turntable. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes to finish cooking and firm up. If you want, you can also make a single serving of steak. Press some of the meat mixture into a microwave-safe cup. Cover with wax paper and microwave at 70% power (Medium-High) for 4 – 5 ½ minutes or until meat is firm, rotating mug halfway through cooking time. Let it sit for 2 minutes.

Source: “Basic Microwave Turning”. The Microwave Cooking Library by Barbara Methven

Tuna medley

Save time and energy by using the microwave to cook casseroles. Instead of baking lasagna in the oven, use the microwave. This tuna casserole includes a variety of vegetables and there’s no need to boil noodles because it includes potatoes instead.

½ cup thinly sliced ​​celery

1 (10¾ oz.) cream of mushroom soup

1 can (6½ oz) tuna, drained

½ package (5 oz) frozen green peas

1 teaspoon of parsley flakes

1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 (1½ oz. each) cans potatoes, divided

Combine the carrots, celery and onion in a 2-quart casserole. Cover; Microwave on high 3 to 4½ minutes or until tender-crisp. Mix the soup, tuna, peas, soy sauce and spices. Cover; microwave 4 to 6 minutes or until heated through, stirring halfway through cooking time. Stir in two-thirds of the potatoes. Microwave for 30 to 60 seconds. Sprinkle the remaining potatoes and cashews on top.

Source: “Microwave Meal in 30 Minutes,” Microwave Cooking Library, Barbara Methvan.

Muffins with bran

Making muffins in the microwave is a great time saver. A batch of six muffins can be made in about 5 minutes. Since the microwave draws moisture from the food, it is recommended to use two paper liners in the muffin cups. Since food continues to cook after being removed from the microwave, remove the muffins or quick bread when the top is slightly damp. Muffin cups don’t fill as full as they would if they were baked in the oven because the bread expands more in the microwave.

4 teaspoons of baking powder

Mix the bran cereal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Mix the eggs, oil and milk. Pour into dry ingredients. Mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened. The mixture should look lumpy. Spoon 3 tablespoons of batter into each paper-lined microwave muffin cup or ¼ cup into each paper-lined 6 oz. cup cream or 7 oz. Polystyrene cup. Sprinkle chopped walnuts on top. Microwave on medium-high (70%) until tester inserted near center comes out clean. (Each muffin will take about 30 seconds to 1 minute if you want to cook them individually.) Turn the pan or rearrange the muffins halfway through the cooking time. Remove the muffins from the pan immediately.

Source: “Tappan Microwave Guide.”

Carrot cake

You don’t have to turn on the oven and heat up the kitchen to bake a cake. The microwave will take care of it in minutes and it tastes great!

1 cup finely chopped carrots

¼ cup finely chopped walnuts

Select the dish you use for baking. A clear glass pot is preferable so you can check the bottom to see if it is cooked. Use a 9-inch round or an 8-inch square. There is no need to prepare the pan if you plan to serve the cake from the baking dish. Place all ingredients in mixing bowl. Mix on low speed, then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Spread the dough into the prepared baking dish. Do not fill the pot more than ¼ to half full due to expansion during cooking. Microwave at 50% (medium) 6 minutes, rotating ½ turn every 3 minutes. Increase the power to High. Microwave 2 to 6 minutes or until done. Leave on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes. Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream cheese frosting: In a bowl, combine 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, ½ package (4 oz.) cream cheese, room temperature, and ½ tablespoon cream. Mix well. Beat in 1¼ to 1½ cups confectioners’ sugar until smooth.

Source: “Microwaving and Desserts,” by Litton.

Bernie Mason writes the Local Flavor column for Lee Montana Newspapers. She was a Yellowstone County Extension Agent for 24 years. Mason grew up in Sidney in a family of German and Danish ancestry.

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