Think Microwaved Food Has To Be Subpar? These Professional Chefs Say Otherwise.
Not everyone is a professional chef – or even wants to be – but most of us would like to be able to cook a quick and easy meal that’s actually enjoyable to eat.
If you’re more keen on using a microwave than an oven or stove, don’t worry. These chefs have some great and easily applicable tips that will delight your palate despite your best (worst) efforts.
First, your leftovers don’t have to be ho-hum.
We all eat leftovers now and again, because we don’t want to be wasteful, and also we can’t always afford to buy a fresh meal every day of the week.
According to chef Carla Contreras, the first step to punching them up is to store them properly the night before.
“Store things separately. For example, if you’re making pasta, store the noodles in a different container than the sauce.”
You’ll also be better off adding something fresh after it’s heated, according to chef Ali Slagle – something like sliced scallions, a squeeze of lemon juice, chopped basil, or fresh dusting of spices.
“Flavors shift in the fridge and also once the food is reheated in the microwave, so be sure to taste whatever you’ve microwaved and adjust seasonings until it tastes great – and not like leftovers.”
Second, instant oatmeal is an opportunity for improvement.
It’s a classic breakfast option, especially in the colder months, but you can do better than what you dump out of the package, encourages Contreras.
“Oh gosh, those dried little berries or peaches – take ’em out. Replace them with frozen berries. Frozen fruit adds texture, flavor, and moisture.”
If you’re fancy and can afford it, milk will always make better oatmeal than water, too, and according to Slagle, spices belong in oatmeal as well – things like brown sugar and cinnamon and cardamom and pumpkin spice, but also salt and pepper.
“It keeps the oatmeal from tasting too sweet.”
Next up, your microwave is great for making rice.
Your liquid-to-rice ratio should be 2:1, and according to blogger Jaden Rae, the key is to microwave on high for 5 minutes, then for 5 more minutes on 50% power.
Slagle also says you can punch it up by using coconut milk instead of water, which will make your rice “rich, creamy, and a little sweet.”
She says you can whip up a quick and delicious microwave dinner by cooking your rice with some canned beans.
“The starchy liquid they’re canned with makes the rice extra creamy, like risotto without stirring.”
Also, Contreras says not to cook your rice in those ready-to-microwave pouches if you want the best result.
“If you keep it in the pouch, the heat won’t get to all the rice evenly. Instead, pour the rice into a bowl and cover it with a damp paper towel and then microwave it.”
For the Mexican food lovers: microwave quesadillas is where it’s at.
Contreras says the biggest worry here is burning the cheese.
“Because of this, it’s best to microwave these foods in 10-to-15-second increments so you can keep checking on it. The babysitting will pay off because your quesadillas will ultimately taste like they were cooked in the oven.”
Chefs agree you should place a tortilla on a clean kitchen towel folded in half inside the microwave. Heat it for 2o seconds by itself, then add the cheese and any other toppings, like chicken, then fold the tortilla and microwave the who thing for 10 more seconds.
Keep doing 10 seconds at a time until it’s done to your liking, but don’t skip the towel step – that’s what’s going to keep your tortilla nice and soft.
So, there you have it!
I’m sure there are more things that will be awesome in the microwave. I think I’ll go find them!
Tags: · cooking, food, how to cook food in the microwave, leftovers, microwave, tips for microwave cooking, top