I love the long days of summer when I can be outside and enjoy life without wearing a heavy coat or big furry boots. Ahhhh, beautiful, warm, sunny days! Fast forward: It’s 1 o’clock in the morning and I can’t sleep because it’s just too hot! I’ve got the fan going but I still can’t get cool. Sweat, yes; sleep, no. Sound familiar?
Meals using the microwave
To keep the heat out of my home I’ve learned to close up all the windows and pull the blinds and curtains. I’ve even put a big piece of cardboard in my bedroom window frame to block the sun. It doesn’t look beautiful, but it works! Unfortunately one thing that heats up my home, more than anything, is cooking a meal on the stove or in the oven. I mentioned this at work one day and someone suggested I try using the microwave; it doesn’t create as much heat when you cook. I had never cooked a whole meal using the microwave but the weather outside told me I’d better try something different! Already the temperature in my kitchen was 24.2 C; I’ve seen temperatures of up to 27 C after I’ve finished cooking supper. Would using the microwave keep things cooler? I experimented with the recipe below.
Note: this meal was cooked in a 1200 watt microwave. Depending on the strength of your microwave you’ll need to cook the food for a longer or shorter period of time.
Very important: use microwave safe bowls and lids that let steam escape during the cooking process.
Microwave Veggie “Fried” Rice
- ½ cup long grain rice
- 1 cup water
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 cup of frozen vegetables
- 2-4 eggs
- Place rice and water in a bowl that is about three times as big as the rice/water mixture. You want to make sure the water does not boil over and the rice can double in size.
- Cover and cook, for three minutes on high.
- Allow rice to sit in the microwave for two minutes and then cook again for three minutes on high.
- At the end, allow the rice to sit for five minutes in the microwave.
- Add 1 cup of frozen vegetables
- Cover and cook for two minutes on high.
- Let sit for five minutes.
- Repeat step 1 and 2 until the vegetables are cooked to your liking.
- Mix in 1 teaspoon margarine or butter at the end of the cooking time.
- Scramble together 2-4 eggs.
- Season with a pitch of salt and pepper.
- Place in bowl and grease the bowl with a little oil.
- Cover and cook for one to two minutes on 80% power level.
- Uncover the eggs and mix them so the cooked and uncooked parts are broken up.
- Cook for another 30-60 seconds on 80% power level.
- Eggs should be cooked but if they are not cook for another 30-60 seconds.
- Instead of rice you can make pasta in the microwave as well. Use equal amounts of pasta and water and us similar cooking times as the rice.
- Instead of rice you can have a dinner roll or toast.
- Instead of eggs, open up a can of salmon, tuna, lentils, or black beans and add that (cold or hot) to the rice, vegetable mix.
Temperature in the kitchen after all that cooking? 24.5 C - not bad! All in all, I’m going to use the microwave more often, especially when the temperature outside heats up. Next, I’m going to try cooking meats. I’ll let you know how that goes when I write my next post.
Here’s a few tips for microwave cooking:
- Cut food into small pieces. Shred raw carrots, minced onions, and cube potatoes. The smaller the piece of food the quicker it can cook.
- Cook in shorter time periods and stir the food in between. Microwaves cook unevenly. Foods in the outside edge of the microwave cook faster than foods in the middle so that can make some parts of the food very hot and other parts just warm. By stirring the food every few minutes that food will cook more evenly.
- Foods with skins like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and sausages may explode. Make holes in the skin with a fork so the steam has a place to go. For eggs, break the yolk, or scramble the egg. If the egg is whole, cover it with water so it poaches as it cooks.
- Cover the foods you’re cooking but always use microwave safe containers and let air/steam escape the cover. This keeps the food moist and the food can cook more evenly.
- Let the food stand for five to ten minutes after cooking. For example, rice, pasta, or potatoes will continue cooking when they sit in the steam of the microwave. This is good advice for casseroles, as well. Another good reason to let the dish stand for a few minutes is that the dishes get very hot in the microwave! Make sure you use oven mitts when you take the food out of the oven.
How do you keep your place cool in the summer? What you like to cook in your microwave? Tell us in the comments below!