Although I don't generally advocate for cooking foods in the microwave over more traditional cooking methods, the pure convenience factor is undeniable. The influence of microwave cooking on nutrition content of food and health is a debated subject detailed here and here. The question I pose is, is it better to eat nutritious food cooked at home, even if in a microwave, or fast food out of the house, due to lack of time to use traditional cooking methods? I would say the former option. Which is why, below I will provide you with 5 foods that you did not know you could cook in the microwave. (Slight humor contained within, please don't be offended)
Although cooking rice in the microwave may be sacrilegious in some cultures, this is America where we deep fry oreos, so I think cooking rice in the microwave will be ok. Heres how to cook white rice in the microwave: Start by rinsing rice, this removes any extra starch. Then in a microwave-safe baking dish or medium bowl, combine 1 cup long-grain white rice, 2 cups water, and ½ teaspoon salt. Microwave, uncovered, on high (power level 10) until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 18 minutes. While this isn't much quicker than cooking rice on the stovetop, its great when you do not have a stove available.
If its one of those mornings where you just don't feel like using another frying pan while cooking your eggs. (If you don't feel like using any pans at all be sure to read the next one) Heres how to cook bacon (pork, turkey, chicken bacon) in the microwave: Place 2 sheets of paper towel on a microwave-safe plate. Lay up to 8 slices of bacon on the paper towels. Make sure not to overlap the slices. Place 2 more sheets of paper towel on top. Heat in the microwave on high for 4 to 6 minutes. This should give you relatively crispy bacon to go with your breakfast, or eat by itself while on your couch watching Netflix.
When you thought cooking eggs could not get any easier, think again. Heres how to cook scrambled eggs in the microwave: Beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper in microwave-safe bowl or 12-oz. coffee mug until blended. Microwave on high for 45 seconds: stir. Microwave until eggs are almost set, 30 to 45 seconds longer. Serve immediately. While the eggs do not come out as tender as scrambled eggs in a pan, this is a quick alternative.
4. Pasta (True Italians, please don't read this one)
Sometimes that ten minutes it takes for water to boil is just too long, did you know you could cook pasta in the microwave? Heres how: Get a microwave safe bowl and add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of pasta of your choice. (Try whole wheat for some added fiber and nutrients) Add water to the bowl so the pasta is a couple of inches deep. Place the bowl on top of a plate and put it in the microwave just in case any water spills over. (Thank me now) Take the suggested cooking time from the pasta box and add 3-4 minutes. Voila, decent pasta in around 10 minutes.
Last but not least, vegetables. The microwave can be a great tool for steaming vegetables in about half the time it usually takes. Another plus is, because of the shorter cooking time, more of the nutrients remain within the vegetable as opposed to leaching out into the surrounding water. Heres how to cook most veggies in the microwave: Arrange vegetables evenly in a microwave-safe dish, preferably a glass bowl. Put a small amount of water in the bottom of the bowl. Wrap bowl tightly with plastic wrap or cover with a plate. Place bowl in microwave. Set cooking time, usually 2-5 minutes depending on the amount you are cooking. Serve, from here you can use your vegetables in all sorts of dishes.
Now who says you can't eat nutritious with a busy schedule. If you pair occasional microwave cooking with other time saving techniques such as meal prepping in advance, you can eat healthfully on both a time and monetary budget. Here at BeElite Nutrition we also offer meal prep services either in-home or remotely via FedEx. Stay tuned to the BeElite Blog for more time and money saving tips in the future! And until next time my friends, BE ELITE!