Cool Down This Summer with Five Microwave Cooking Hacks

Empish using microwave

I use the microwave mostly for heating foods, but not for actual cooking. It comes in handy for warming up a nice mug of cocoa during cold winter months or for reheating leftovers and popping my all-time favorite snack, a buttery bag of popcorn, to munch on while watching an audio-described movie. Otherwise, it sits on the kitchen counter doing double duty as a quick device for heating foods and as a placeholder for my vitamins, memo pads and other odds and ends. But when I read about actually cooking in the microwave, I did a double take. From my reading, I’ve compiled five quick and easy things you could cook in your microwave.  

I also thought microwave cooking was a clever idea. I love my gas stove and have been cooking with it for many years. I like the way it cooks quickly yet evenly, but boy does it get hot in the kitchen! So, I reasoned I could cool down this summer by cooking some of my foods in the microwave instead of using my stove. Microwaves cook quickly and evenly too. They can be an excellent kitchen appliance when you want to keep it simple and stay cool while cooking. 

In reading over the list I compiled from my reading, I was familiar with some of the suggestions, but some others were new. I wanted to share the list because these hacks are perfect for people with vision loss. If you are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with cooking on a stove, then using a microwave is a good option. Just be sure to follow safety guidelines for your make and model; add some basic tactual labeling and you will be ready to go. Now, let’s get ready to cool down this summer with five microwave cooking hacks (simple technique for accomplishing familiar tasks more easily and efficiently) :  

Five Microwave Cooking Hacks  

1.  Drying herbs. Spread herbs on a plate lined with paper towels, cover with another towel and zap for 1 minute followed by 20 seconds bursts until fully dry. Then store whole or grind them. Fresh dry herbs are great for seasoning soups, meats or cooked veggies. 

2.  Frying garlic. Place sliced garlic in a microwave-safe bowl with a neutral oil (like vegetable or canola oil), cook for 5 minutes, stir, and cook in 1-minute intervals until golden. Then strain to use in salads or recipes.  

I absolutely love fresh sautéed garlic in a skillet on my stove. The fragrant smell is to die for, but using the microwave is another great option too. 

3.  Toasting nuts and seeds. Put nuts in neutral oil in a microwave-safe bowl and cook for 1-minute intervals, tossing in between until golden brown. There is no need to preheat the oven for this healthy snack. This technique is great for pumpkin seeds, pine nuts or sunflower seeds.   


microwave steamer with broccoli inside
Microwave Steamer with Broccoli Inside

4.  Steaming veggies. Cover veggies with a damp paper towels and microwave on high for a few minutes until the veggies are tender; then season to taste. Be careful of heat and steam from paper towels and food when removing them. This technique is great for green veggies like broccoli, spinach, green beans and brussels sprouts.  (Note: you can also use a microwave steamer, available at local stores and online) 

I use this method all the time instead of bringing out my clunky 4-part steamer and filling it with water and then having to wash and clean it and return to my pantry: Too much work! 

5.  Corn on the cob. Stick a rinsed, unshucked ear of corn on a plate in the microwave and cook on high for 3 minutes or longer, depending on size of corn. It is really that simple.  

Get ready for those backyard barbecues–NO more hauling out pots and filling with water to boil corn on the cob. I tried this technique a couple of times and my corn came out hot and delicious each time. Just don’t forget your butter, salt and pepper! Yummy! 

Are you ready to cool down in the kitchen this summer and use your microwave? Tell me which hack resonated the most with you. Do you have one of your own to share?