Is it possible to make simple, healthy microwave meals? What about snacks? Of course it is! You just need a little know-how.
Now is the time to begin thinking differently about serving simple and healthy meals directly from your microwave oven. Many people use a microwave just for reheating food, or making microwave popcorn. But there is so much more this workhorse of an appliance can do!
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to use the microwave to give yourself the edge by saving time while still eating healthy food? Unfortunately, some people are wary of using a microwave oven for more than just reheating food because of confusing information about whether or not microwave ovens give off dangerous levels of radiation.
In reality, microwave ovens generate a minimal amount of radiation, and definitely not enough to harm you.
Microwave ovens are just that – ovens. They can cook food as well as a standard oven, and typically in a lot less time. So it’s time to start thinking outside the box and view your microwave oven in a new light.
Think of your microwave oven as an easy way to cook up delicious breakfasts, lunches, dinners and even side dishes, desserts and snacks.
Breakfast in the Microwave
Eggs are a breakfast staple in many homes. Full of vitamins and protein, eggs are definitely a healthy choice, and using the microwave oven to cook them is a smart move.
Traditionally, poaching eggs involves boiling a pot of water, adding salt and vinegar, and cracking the eggs delicately into the water. It’s much easier to make poached eggs in the microwave.
All you need is a microwave-safe bowl, some hot water, and a pinch of salt and vinegar. Add the egg to the bowl, set your microwave for the desired time – usually 1-2 minutes – and you will have a perfectly poached egg.
Scrambled eggs are even easier. Just crack a few eggs into a microwave-safe bowl and whisk with a tablespoon of milk. Add some diced vegetables, ham, or a handful of fresh spinach.
Cook until done, 2-4 minutes (depending on your microwave), stirring once or twice. Top with shredded cheese and green onions.
Bacon and eggs are the perfect breakfast combo, so why not cook some bacon in the microwave too? Choose turkey bacon for the same amount of protein and flavor, but with less fat and fewer calories than regular bacon.
Just lay a paper towel on a plate (to absorb any grease), place a few slices of bacon on the paper towel, and cover with another paper towel. For extra crispy bacon, lay the strips of bacon on an upside-down bowl. Cook until the desired level of crispiness is reached.
For a sweet treat on the weekend, try making single servings of french toast in the microwave. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a mug. Add 1-2 slices of cubed bread.
Stir together one egg, two tablespoons of milk or cream, and some cinnamon and vanilla extract, then pour it over the bread. Microwave for 1-2 minutes.
Lunch in the Microwave
These lunch ideas are not only simple and healthy, they’re easy to prep the night before and then cook them at the office the next day. Every office has a microwave, right? So why not use it!
Cut a red bell pepper in half and remove the insides. Place both halves in a microwave safe dish, and add 1/4 cup of water to the dish. Fill each red pepper half with uncooked ground beef.
Sprinkle with garlic, salt, and pepper and microwave for 3-4 minutes. Top with jarred pasta sauce and shredded cheese, and microwave again until cheese is melted.
Place a formed hamburger patty (you can use ground turkey to lower the calorie count, just make sure you cook it thoroughly) on a microwave-safe dish, and microwave for about 3 minutes. Place a slice of cheese on top of the patty, and cook an additional minute, or until cheese is melted. Serve on a whole grain bun with lettuce and tomato.
Put 1 cup of cooked rice into a microwave-safe bowl, and top with 1/2 cup frozen vegetables. Cover and cook for one minute.
In a bowl, mix one egg with 1 teaspoon each garlic, ginger, diced onion, and soy sauce. Pour over the rice and vegetables and stir. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Dinner in the Microwave
Place some sliced onions and peppers in a microwave-safe dish. Place chunks of chicken breast on top of vegetables, and sprinkle with taco seasoning.
Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and cook for about 10 minutes, just until the chicken is fully cooked. Serve with tortillas, salsa, and guacamole.
Slice 2 chicken breasts into bite-size pieces. Add 1 tablespoon curry paste and 1 tablespoon olive oil and stir to coat the chicken. Cover and cook for 6-8 minutes.
Add a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, 1/4 cup each of fresh chopped basil and cilantro, 1 can of coconut milk, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, stir, and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes.
Rinse 1-2 salmon filets with cold water and pat dry. Place the filets skin side down on a microwave-safe dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place a fresh sprig of dill and two lemon slices on each filet.
Cover and microwave for about 3-5 minutes, until salmon is completely cooked. Squeeze fresh lemon juice onto each filet and serve.
Side Dishes in the Microwave
Love having risotto with your meal, but don’t love standing at the stove and constantly stirring it? Use your microwave to make a healthy and tasty meal or side dish with risotto.
Start with some garlic, butter and onions, then add the risotto and some broth. Microwave for about ten minutes, you’ll have the perfect side dish to complement any meal.
Macaroni and Cheese
You no longer need to make macaroni and cheese from a box. Here’s a healthier version of the classic dish. Use low-fat milk and cheese to keep the calorie count down.
In a large, microwave-safe dish, combine 1/3 cup dried macaroni noodles with 1/3 to 1/2 cup water (the stronger your microwave, the more water you will need). Microwave for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add about 1/3 cup of the cheese of your choice, and microwave again until the cheese melts, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add a splash of milk and stir, and you’re done.
Do you realize how easy it is to make baked potatoes in the microwave oven?
Just scrub your potatoes (or sweet potatoes!) well, and pierce them a few times with a fork. This will allow steam to escape, so you don’t have exploding potatoes in your microwave oven.
Cooking time will vary, depending on the size and quantity of potatoes you are cooking. Start with six minutes for smaller potatoes, and then continue cooking in 2 minute increments.
Corn on the Cob
Place corn on the cob, unshucked, in your microwave oven. Microwave for 3-5 minutes, depending on the size and quantity of your ears of corn. Allow to cool slightly, then shuck the ears just prior to serving.
Desserts in the Microwave
Who says desserts can’t be easy to make, or healthy? It’s easy to whip up low calorie cookies and cakes for one or many in your microwave oven. Try this classic brownie in a mug recipe.
Microwave Brownie Mug
Mix together 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons cocoa powder in a microwave-safe mug. Add 2 tablespoons melted butter and 1/4 cup milk and mix well.
Microwave for 1 minute, then in 30 second increments until cooked through. Sprinkle with semi-sweet chocolate morsels.
Snacks in the Microwave
Spread some whole grain tortilla chips on a microwave-safe plate. Mix some refried beans and salsa together, and put a few spoonfuls on the chips. Add some green chiles, chopped onions, and low-fat cheese.
Microwave for about 1 minute, until cheese is melted and beans are hot. Top with additional salsa, sour cream, or guacamole.
Yes, potato chips can be healthy when they are baked in microwave oven rather than deep-fried in grease.
Thinly slice a white potato or a sweet potato (a mandolin works well for this). Sprinkle them with your choice of herbs and spices – sea salt, pepper, smoked paprika, rosemary, the choice is yours.
Spread them in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate, and microwave them for 1-2 minutes, depending on the thickness of your slices.
So there you have it, 17 ideas for simple, healthy microwave meals.
Use your imagination to create your own meals, or do some online research. The possibilities are endless!