Sometimes, the coffee shop is all about that much-needed dose of caffeine to help jumpstart the day. Other times, it’s the reward of a warm treat on a chilly day....
The microwave is one of the most powerful tools in the kitchen. Not only does it heat up our food, but it does it quickly which gives us delicious meals in minutes. The barrier? We often stick with microwaving leftovers or pre-cooked meals, which is great, BUT you can also cook an entire meal in a microwave without any hassle!
Check out this list of foods that microwave well and make delicious, wholesome meals in seconds:
- Scrambled eggs: Many people have a goal to eat more protein at breakfast. Eggs are super delicious and full of protein, healthy fats, and even essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin D and choline. Spray a microwave-safe bowl with cooking spray, then add 1-2 scrambled eggs. Cover the bowl or ramekin with a plate or venting lid, then cook for about 1 minute. You can make a healthy breakfast in seconds! You can even get creative with this Pesto, Mozzarella, & Egg Breakfast Sandwich.
- Pasta: Waiting for the water to boil before cooking pasta can take extra time. If you’re looking to get lunch or dinner on the table in 10 minutes or less, cooking pasta in the microwave may be your next best option! If you’re looking to make a meal for one, combine ½ cup dry pasta with 1 cup water. Microwave in a microwave-safe bowl on high for 5 minutes. Stir and add more water if needed. Cook for 5 more minutes, or until pasta is soft. If you are looking to make pasta for the family, add ½ cup dry pasta with 1 cup water for every person who is eating. There are handy kitchen gadgets out there, like this microwave pasta cooker, or you can use a large microwave-safe bowl. It’s easy and fun! Choose whole grain or bean pastas for extra fiber and protein, top with your favorite veggies and lean protein, sprinkle with cheese, and you have yourself a complete meal in minutes.
- Applesauce: DIY applesauce is a great addition to any meal. You can combine this fiber and nutrient-rich snack with Greek yogurt, use in place of oil for baking, or pair with your favorite pork chop recipe. The best part? You can do it all in the microwave! Peel and chop 1-2 apples then add to a microwave safe bowl. Cover apples with water (about 1-2 cups). Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Stir and continue to microwave until the apples are soft. Drain the apples, then use a blender, food processor, or potato masher to make a puree. Add honey or cinnamon for extra flavor!
- Baked Potatoes: The microwave is a great place to steam up a delicious baked potato! These fiber-rich complex carbohydrates make the perfect addition to any meal, and take about 5-10 minutes to cook in the microwave. Wash your potatoes well, then prick with a fork several times (don’t forget this step!). Add the potato to a microwave-safe plate, then cook for 5 minutes on high. Turn the potato over, then cook for another 5 minutes or until soft. You can cook regular baker potatoes or even vitamin A-rich sweet potatoes in the microwave. Use this Baked Sweet Potato with Black Bean Chili recipe for inspiration! You can even find bagged steamable baked potatoes in some grocery stores for easy prep.
- Spaghetti Squash: Mix up your pasta routine with this tasty veggie! The best part is you can cook it in the microwave without any hassle. Simply pierce the spaghetti squash with a large knife 3-4 times. Put on a microwave-safe dish and cook on high for 5 minutes. Turn the squash over and cook for another 5 minutes, or until soft (may need more time for larger squash). Let stand in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, then cut open the squash and scoop out the goods! Toss it together with Garlic Shrimp & Cilantro for a protein and fiber-rich meal.
- Poached Eggs: If scrambled eggs aren’t your thing, you can poach eggs in the microwave too! Simply add water to a bowl or a mug (at least half full), add some vinegar, cover it with a plate, and microwave for one minute. Poached eggs make a quick breakfast, lunch, or dinner idea, like this Poached Egg Over Asparagus recipe!
- Soup in a Mug: It’s noon and you only have 20 minutes for lunch. What do you do? Make a quick soup in the microwave! Add your favorite pre-chopped veggies and canned beans to a mug. Cover veggies and beans with low sodium chicken or vegetable broth and a few of your favorite seasonings. Cook on high for 5-8 minutes, until veggies are soft. Enjoy with a piece of whole grain bread or roll.
- Veggie Chips: These make a quick snack for any movie night or road trip. Spray 1 piece of parchment paper with oil spray. Line your thinly sliced veggies over the parchment paper. Season with salt, pepper, or your favorite seasoning. Microwave on high for 3-5 minutes, or until crispy. Some microwaves might take longer or shorter, so watch the veggies while they cook to prevent burning. Root veggie chips cook very well in the microwave!
The microwave is a practical cooking tool that works well with many recipes. Save yourself time and stress by using it more often, especially in a time crunch. Cooking foods in the microwave also helps to preserve nutrients, which makes it a healthy cooking method. A win-win for preparing healthy, fast, and easy meals.