Nuked nutrition: microwave primer: the machines and the means to make healthy food almost instantly - cooking with a microwave oven

This is a great article on microwave oven and tips in cooking with it. I find it really helpful and most importantly to cook healthy meal. Please share with your friends and loved ones too.

This is an article by Mark Thorne.

Next to the bottle opener and the toaster oven, the microwave is the closest thing to heavy machinery you get to operate in the kitchen. But once you're done reheating yesterday's coffee or nuking one of those instant frozen dinners, you're at a loss as to what to do when you step up to the mic. Well, fear not: You're about to make the transition from microwave tyro to seasoned pro.

Our guide to the kitchen's most versatile appliance presents a trio of microwaves ranging from mighty mite to tower of power. We've also consulted the grand dame of microwave cooking herself, Barbara Kafka, author of Microwave Gourmet, to provide you with tips on getting the most zip from your zap.

We know you like your electronics with ample bells and whistles, but at mealtime your microwave needs only the capacity to deliver 600 watts at full power. The three machines here offer up all the standard basic features, as well as a slew of other convenient functions such as the preprogrammed popcorn button (hold the salt and butter, naturally). They run the gamut in size, power and price. Kafka suggests buying one larger than you think you need, especially if you plan to do some serious cooking in it.

Chicken: Cooks quickly and evenly in the microwave when covered. If you're cooking with the bone in, use liquid; if you're cooking a boneless piece, cover it with plastic wrap.
* Two boneless chicken breasts, about a half-pound of meat, covered tightly on a dinner plate, cook in 3 1/2 minutes.

* Two breasts with the bones in, steamed in a quarter-cup of broth on a round, eight-inch plate, cook in 5 1/2 minutes.
Fish: Heats up like a champ. When cooking with the skin on, cut the fillet across the width so it doesn't curl. Fold over thin tips to keep them from overcooking. When steaming on a tightly covered plate just large enough to hold the meat:
* A one-inch boneless steak, about six ounces, cooks in three minutes; together, two similar slabs cook in 4 1/2 minutes.
* A one-inch-thick fillet, six to eight ounces, cooks in three minutes.
* A 12-ounce whole fish, gutted and steamed in two tablespoons of liquid, cooks in two minutes.
Eggs: Temperamental. Never cook them in the shell unless you're fond of explosions. Yolks must be pricked once or twice with a sharp knife or they will burst as well--don't worry, they won't fall apart.
* A single egg in a 3 1/2-inch by 2-inch ramekin, covered lightly with a paper towel, cooks in one minute; two eggs in separate ramekins cook in a minute and 45 seconds.
Beef, Pork and Lamb: Your microwave won't do a good job of roasting, and it won't cook an edible steak, either. However, meat dishes such as meat loaf, chili, stew, and pasta sauce can be cooked successfully.

You've probably cooked food in the microwave with mixed results, producing a tender and delectable chicken breast one time and something about as edible as a Yokohama tire the next. "The trick is to understand how different foods, spices and herbs respond to microwaves," says Kafka. "Even your cooking time depends on the protein, fat, sugar and liquid content in the meal." To get a grip on the basics of microwave cooking, follow Kafka's sage advice:

1. The key to evenly cooked, moist meat is to cover the container tightly with microwave-safe plastic wrap. (Kafka recommends plastic wraps made from polyvinyl chloride, such as Reynolds.)

2. The plastic wrap will balloon if properly sealed; this lengthens the cooking process. Puncture before unwrapping.

3. Because most meats have a high liquid content, covering them tightly during the cooking process creates a steaming effect.

4. Unlike stovetop cooking, which heats from the center out, microwaves heat from the outside in. So when preparing meat, always fan out your cuts around the dish like spokes on a wheel, with the thickest part of the meat on the outside.

5. Microwaves heat protein and fat quickly, greatly reducing cooking time.

6. Vegetables are best when cooked in the microwave, losing fewer of their vitamins and nutrients and less of their color.

7. Fold over the thin end of fillets to prevent overcooking; cover tips of thin strips of meats with aluminum foil for the same protection.

8. Aluminum foil is the only metal suitable for microwave use.

9. You don't need to add fat to keep food from sticking to dishes; food doesn't stick in the microwave.

10. The size of your dish will affect cooking times. Use dishes just large enough to hold your food.

11. Because all foods respond differently to microwaves, closely follow the recipe directions. Portions have been calibrated to cook together at the given times.

12. Big hunks of food aren't microwave-compatible because they cook unevenly, and hollow cavities should also be avoided because they take time to heat, thus throwing off cooking times.

13. Microwaves can't roast meat, and they won't make good souffles or edible bread. Stick to traditional methods for these items.


Vegetables: Arrange slow-cooking vegetables near the outside of the plate and quick-cooking ones toward the inside. (For a list of slow- and fast-cooking vegetables, see page 553 in Kafka's Microwave Gourmet.)

* A half-pound of broccoli stalks in one tablespoon of water, covered tightly in a dish just large enough to hold them, cooks in four to six minutes.

* Six ounces of broccoli florets, covered tightly in a dish just large enough to hold them, cooks in two minutes. Arrange both stalks and florets in a single layer.

* A half-pound of tightly covered, fresh whole green beans cooks in 4 1/2 minutes.

Salt: Use sparingly. The minimal liquid requirements in most recipes means that when evaporation occurs, the salt flavor will intensify. Don't put salt on vegetables that are cooked without liquid; it will leech moisture from them.

Pepper: Generally, use a quarter of your normal amount of pepper, as microwaves really bring out its bite.

Garlic: Becomes soft and sweet and loses much of its bite after eight minutes of cooking. So for longer-cooking meals, use about twice the recommended amount. For stronger flavor, add the garlic during the last three minutes of cooking or after you remove the food from the oven.

Herbs: Use fewer herbs when they're dried; use more when they're fresh, or add them later in the cooking process to ensure the best flavor.


You'll need a small selection of microwavable containers before you get started. Pyrex and Corningware make some of the best. Start here, then expand your collection as needed. You can also use dinner plates and glass measuring cups.

1. Corningware Creations 24-ounce au gratin dish

2. Corningware Creations 7-ounce ramekin

3. Pyrex 1.5-quart bowl with lid

4. Pyrex 2.5-quart baking dish

5. Corningware 23-ounce oval dish

6. Microwave Gourmet by Barbara Kafka

7. Corningware 22-ounce mug

8. Pyrex 9.5-inch pie dish

9. Corningware Creations 3-quart oblong dish

10. Corningware French White 4-quart dish

Men's Fitness, March, 2003 by Mark Thorpe
COPYRIGHT 2003 Weider Publications
COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group

Basic Microwave Cooking Tips

Found some basic tips on microwave cooking from Big Mama's Recipes. She also has lots of microwave recipes that I am going to try one by one. Enjoy!

1. For quicker, tastier outdoor barbecuing, start your food in the microwave and finish on the grill. Cook meats 3-4 minutes per pound at 100% power in your microwave. Immediately place on the grill to finish. Regular grill time will be reduced by at least half. Remember to place food onto the grill IMMEDIATELY. Do not let food cool off as this will not allow proper internal temperatures to be reached to kill bacteria.
2. To peel onions more easily, place them in a covered container and microwave for 1-2 minutes at 100% power. This will also help remove the "hot" flavor from the onions you wish to serve uncooked; i.e. slices you may wish to use on hamburgers.
3. Freshen chips and crackers by microwaving 2 cups for 1 minute at 100% power, uncovered.
4. Dry or crisp older bread for croutons: Microwave 4 cups for 5-7 minutes at 100% power, stirring several times.
5. To make ice cream easier to scoop, soften by microwaving for 30 seconds at 100% power. For a special treat, place a scoop of ice cream on "yesterday’s pie." Heat for 10-15 seconds. The pie will be "fresh and warm" and the ice cream will not be melted.
6. Fresh vegetables may be blanched in the microwave. Prepare the vegetables as desired (whole, chopped, etc.) and place in microwave casserole. Microwave on HIGH power (100%) for 3-4 minutes per pound, covered, stirring or rearranging halfway through the time. Plunge immediately into ice cold water to cool. Drain, pack and freeze. Microwaved vegetables are HEALTHIER! More nutrients, especially Vitamin C, are retained when microwaved than when conventionally blanched or cooked.
7. Soften one stick of refrigerated butter or margarine by heating for 30 seconds at 100% power. To melt butter, heat for 1 minute at 100% power. Clarify butter by melting 6-8 ounces in a 2 cup microwave-safe container on Low power (30%) for 2-3 minutes or until completely melted. Let stand for 3-4 minutes, remove the foam and slowly pour off the yellow oil or clarified butter. Remember higher wattage ovens may need shorter cooking times than these.
8. STIR to redistribute heat from the hotter outer edges to the cooler inside.
9. ROTATE to encourage even cooking (or use an automatic turntable).
10. THICKNESS - put thicker pieces or the thickest part of pieces toward the outside, fold under the thin edges of fish fillets and other tapered foods.
11. ROUND DISHES: Food cooked in round dishes cooks best and reheats better.
12. SALT attracts microwaves. Don't just sprinkle it on a food, stir it in, or add it later.

How to Microwave Food Safely

How to Microwave Food Safely By eHow Home & Garden Editor

Microwaving is a quick way to cook delicious food in a matter of minutes. Even though there is no flame involved, you should practice these safety measures while microwaving.


Step 1:Place meat in the microwave immediately after defrosting. The longer that the meat sits out, the more likely it will have bacteria present.

Step 2:Use only microwave safe dishes. You should not use any dishes that will become damaged in the microwave or become too hot during heating. Most glass and ceramic items are safe to use.

Step 3:Heat the food evenly. To do this, rotate the food several times during cooking. Certain food items, such as baby formula should not be heated in the microwave since uneven heating can result in scalding.

Step 4:Test the food's temperature. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that food has been cooked thoroughly.

Step 5:Take out any bones in any meat that you microwave. Bones can prevent the meat from cooking properly.

Step 6:Poke holes in certain food items. Foods, such as hot dogs and potatoes, will explode in the microwave if you do not poke holes for ventilation.

Tips To Heat Up Food

Microwave comes in very handy in heating up cooked food or leftovers, because it is fast, clean and the food won't stick to the food container (saves you a lot of time in cleaning and washing).

I would like to share with you the amount of time that we need to heat up different types of food. It is faster and time saving if you put the food in a container and cover it (not air tight container, it might explode in the microwave oven as the steam build up from within!)

1. 30 seconds: bread, cakes
2. 1 minute: cooked rice, porridge, noodles, soup, coffee, tea
3. 2 minutes: canned food, meat, poultry, seafood
4. 2-4 minutes: frozen cakes / pizza (depends on your preferences)

I hope this serves you as a guideline in heating up food, especially if you are a new microwave oven user. It took me a while to figure out how much time for different types of food.

Tips And Suggestions Of Ingredients For The Making Of Perfect Steak Marinades

I would like to share with you an article about steak marinades. I would like to try it and share with you soon. Enjoy!

Cuisines from all over the world rely on a diversity of steak marinades to prepare meat for cooking. Wine, vinegar, lime juice or other acid ingredients are used to tenderize the texture of red meats: pork, veal, beef, lamb and venison. However, tenderizing is not the only great advantage of steak marinades, they also add up to the taste richness and make the dish twice more savory. Furthermore, given the fact that the alternative for marinade is either meat pounding or cooking it for hours on end until it gets soft enough to be stabbed with the fork, marinating remains the least time-consuming solution.

Regardless of which combination of ingredients you choose for the steak marinades, the important part is to leave the meat covered in the solution for at least six hours; the most advisable thing to do under the circumstances is to actually let it marinate over night. Here are some further tips and suggestions of ingredients for the making of perfect steak marinates; yet, mention must be made first that very often, creativity can help you improvise some wonderful recipes too, therefore, personal contribution should not be ignored either.

Let's start by saying that at the basis of all steak marinades lies an acid ingredient which prevails in the composition: the most commonly used are vinegar, wine and lime juice. When it comes to vinegar, the best suggestion is to use a balsamic type that has the most pleasant flavor of all; then, red wine always works best than white wine too. The former is indicated for red meats while the latter for poultry only. Steak marinades also rely on a little oil added to the composition, and there are free variations here too: vegetable oil would be the general solution, however olive oil or peanut oil are also valid options.

Spices are next on the list for cooking steak marinades, and here improvisation works at its best. There are certain ones that are an absolute must like pepper and chilly, but for some very special dishes variations include cinnamon powder, garlic powder, ginger and so on. Instead of garlic powder, it is often recommended to use fresh cloves, not only for the natural flavor, as for the fact that a lot from the powder form consists of additives and taste enhancers. Various steak marinades are also include soy sauce, mustard or Dijon sauce as well, but in small quantities no larger than two teaspoonfuls

About the author:Muna wa Wanjiru Has Been Researching and Reporting on Steak for Years. For More Information on Steak Marinades, Visit His Site at STEAK MARINADES
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Nutritional Value Of These 7 Key Fruits By : Susan Banks

Fruits are important for our health. Today Susan Banks is sharing with us the nutritional value of 7 Key Fruits. Talking about fruits, I am going to grab an apple on my way out later. Enjoy your FRUITFUL day!

Fruit is a great way to start eating more nutrition and eating at least five to nine servings can make a big difference in the way you feel. Some fruits are more nutritionally valuable than others. We will discuss some of the most nutritious fruits and why they are so good for you.

A is for Apple

We have all heard the expression, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away". This might not be entirely true, but eating apples is a great way for you to get the fiber you need in your diet. They are delicious and readily available all year around. Apples also contain pectin and that aids in lowering the bad cholesterol. They are also known to contain flavenoids that are beneficial to fighting cancer. It is better to eat a fresh apple rather than drink apple juice. The reason behind this is that some of the nutrients and important minerals may be lost during the processing.

A is also for Apricots

Apricots are chock full of zinc, folic acid, vitamins A and K, calcium and protein. They are also very high in beta carotene, fiber and potassium. Apricots are often found on the top ten lists for fruits and you can purchase them fresh, canned or dried. Eating dried apricots will give you an excellent source of essential nutrients. If you are going to purchase dried apricots, it is good to read the label. You will want to avoid those dried apricots that are laden with chemicals and preservatives. The best place to purchase dried apricots or any other dried fruit is from a health food store or a natural market. You will find a large selection of tasty treats that contain no additives; just the valuable nutrients you need in order for your body to perform in peak condition.

An Avocado is a Fruit Too

Many people mistakenly think of avocados as a vegetable when in reality they are a fruit. An avocado is considered a "super fruit" and is loaded with zinc, riboflavin, thiamin and niacin to name just a few of the important nutrients that an avocado has. Avocados are great for growing kids. Those who are conscious of their weight may want to forgo avocados because of their high calorie content. They also have a high fat count, but it is the heart healthy monounsaturated fats such as the Omega 3 fatty acid, an important brain food. Avocados can be eaten fresh after they have been peeled, or can be made into guacamole by adding garlic, onions and tomatoes.

Start Monkeying Around

Bananas are high in potassium and can aid in those people who take such medications as diuretics which are known to deplete the potassium from your body. They are easily mashed for easy consumption for babies and toddlers and because you have to peel one before you eat it, they will not contain pesticides that many other fruits are vulnerable to. A banana is a handy snack for eating on the go and keeping a supply of them in your home will make snack time a snap.


For many years, blueberries have been thought of as a tasty summertime treat. We now know that blueberries can pack a lot of punch because of the anthocyanin, a cancer fighting antioxidant that can be found in the skin. They are a tasty addition to any health conscious person's diet and can make many other foods even tastier with their addition. You can add blueberries to a salad, cereal or ice cream or use them to make your fruit smoothie even more delicious. Adding blueberries to your diet whether fresh or frozen is a great nutritional step for you to take.

Cantaloupe Tonight, My Father is Using the Ladder

Cantaloupes are not only juicy and delicious; they are high in potassium, vitamin C and beta carotene. Melon that is fresh can be enjoyed in a variety of ways and is nutrition that is tasty as well as good for you. There are other varieties of melon, but cantaloupe is a melon that you can trust to give you the healthy nutrients you need.


Eating grapefruit has long been a staple of dieters. It is a fruit that is high in fiber yet low in calories. The best grapefruit for you are the red or pink type. So if you have a choice, opt for these instead of the white variety. There is a lot of fiber packed into the strings that attach the grapefruit segments, so do yourself a favor and donĂ¢€™t use a spoon to scoop out the tasty flesh.
Author Resource:- Susan is a monthly contributing copywriter to where you can discover hundreds of free trade leads for Apples Suppliers.
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As Easy As ABC

Today I am cooking a dish that is commonly called ABC soup locally, but I am cooking it a different way in microwave. Maybe you can give it a try too.


200mg of red carrot
200mg of potatoes
2 pcs of shitake mushroom
A pinch of salt and white pepper for taste
40ml shitake mushroom broth
1 1/2 tbsp of cornflour

Cut red carrot and potatoes into cubes.
Cut shitake mushroom into small pieces.
Put the red carrot, potatoes and shitake mushroom into the claypot.
Pour 40ml of shitake broth into the claypot.
Add a pinch of salt and white pepper for taste.
Pop it into the microwave and cook it for 6 minutes.
Put the cornflour into a small bowl and mix it well with the balance of shitake mushroom broth (mixture)
Take the claypot out from the microwave after 6 minutes and add in the mixture.
Pop it back into the microwave for another 2 more minutes.

That's it. Now you can enjoy a great ABC dish within 8 minutes.