The microwave gets a bad rap. If what comes to mind are visions of reheating sad frozen dinners, burning bags of popcorn and that never-clean crusty office microwave your coworker just warmed up his fish lunch in, you’re not alone. In the age of trendy toasts, artisanal everything, shiny copper cookware and the Instant Pot, the microwave has lost its standing in the kitchen.
But, the microwave is not the enemy. For one thing, it’s a practical and incredibly useful appliance. Yes, it’s great for softening butter in a pinch or zapping a frozen burrito for a quick lunch, but it can also be leveraged as your sous chef. That’s right, the microwave is your ally in the kitchen, and it’s here to help you conquer mealtime. The microwave has plenty of tricks up its sleeve that will make routine cooking tasks like steaming vegetables and peeling garlic totally fuss-free.
We rounded up eight clever microwave hacks that will simplify your dinner prep and make your life a whole lot easier.
Corn on the Cob
Microwaving corn on the cob in the husk is an efficient way to get perfectly cooked corn without dealing with the messy silk or pot of boiling water. For one or two ears, microwave for about three minutes. Let them cool, and the husk and silk should slide right off.
Get More Juice Out of a Lemon
Got a rock-hard lemon on your hands? Poke a small slit in the fruit using a knife and microwave for about 30 seconds. The lemon will become juicy and pliable — ripe for squeezing!
Making chicken with forty cloves of garlic for dinner? Pop whole unpeeled cloves into the microwave for 15 seconds, and the skins will slide right off.
To steep fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, bay leaf or sage in olive oil, just microwave about half a cup of oil with two teaspoons of herbs for two minutes. The herbs will become crispy and impart delicious flavor into the oil. Let it cool to room temperature and use it in salad dressings or to sauté veggies.
Microwave nuts at about 70 percent power for three to five minutes for perfectly toasted nuts.
Poach an Egg
Poached eggs are the perfect topper for weeknight grain bowls, pasta and even salads. Fill a microwaveable mug with a half-cup of water, gently crack an egg into the water and make sure it’s completed submerged. Cover the mug and microwave it on high for about one minute. Use a slotted spoon to remove the egg.
To make steamed veggies in the microwave, just put the veggies in a microwave-safe dish, add a little bit of water, cover the dish tightly and microwave it on high for about three minutes.
Make a Baked Potato
Grilling steaks for dinner? With just five minutes and a microwave, you can have the perfect baked potato to round out your steak dinner.
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