Some of you probably remember when my husband convinced me that we didn’t need a microwave. I very reluctantly agreed to give the microwave-less life a chance. It’s not as tough as you might think. I did miss it at first, but I was forced to improvise. I asked on Twitter what people used their microwaves for the most, and here are my non-nuking strategies:
1. Heating/Reheating This is easily the number one thing people use their microwaves for. Reheating leftovers. And this was a really, really big one for me too. But, I have found there isn’t a single thing you can’t reheat in the oven, in a skillet or in a sauce pan. To avoid dry-out: on the stove top, add just a smidge of water or milk and in the oven, cover with foil. Also paramount to this method is keeping an eye on the food. Don’t get distracted with other chores, it’s way to easy for things to start sticking to the pan or burning. For just heating up foods, say, from a can, I just plop it into a sauce pan. We eat a lot of canned food, too. I mean, we don’t have a microwave, but we’re not crazy.
2. Thawing It’s so much easier to plan a dinner at the last minute when you have the option to quick-thaw meat, soup, bread, veggies, whatever it is. Thawing is really pretty simple though, even quick-thawing. For meat, I place it in a bath of cold to lukewarm water (hot will encourage bacteria to grow), then swap out the water a few times as it cools. Meat will thaw in less than 2 hours this way. I know the safest way to do this is to thaw overnight in the fridge. This is for really desperate times, and good quality meat. Typically I get it pretty well thawed, then throw it back in the fridge until cooking time. The water bath method will work for soups, stews, broths, etc. For bread, I wrap it in foil and put it in the oven on a low temp for 10 minutes or so. For veggies, I either steam them, or use a skillet/sauce pan. This usually takes less than 5 minutes. Sure, not as quick as a microwave, but quicker than the leave-it-out method. I used to thaw Bowie’s baby food in the microwave, and I’m still using veggie purees sometimes. I just use a double boiler method, and it works perfectly. Just put boiling water in a large container, put your frozen puree in a smaller container, and dip it in the boiling water for a few minutes. BAM. Works perfectly for melting butter too.
3. Heating/Reheating Coffee and Tea I’m not a coffee drinker, so I don’t have any GREAT solutions for you. But, I know some people will add a little bit of boiling water to a cup of coffee to heat it up. A little watered down, but it’s warm at least. I do the same for tea. And I used to love making my tea in the microwave, because I had it down to a science and it came out ready-to-drink. With the boiling water method, you just have to be patient.
4. Microwave Bacon I am a big fan of microwave bacon. Less greasy, more crispy, OH YEAH. But, we’ve made some pretty amazing bacon in the oven. This is another one where you kind of have to keep an eye on it, but it’s totally worth it. And if you sprinkle some brown sugar on top before cooking it? HEAVENLY.
5. Drying a Cell Phone Not one of the answers I had expected to get, but a legitimate response, certainly. We too have been in the wet cell phone situation. But, what worked for us? A bowl of rice. Seriously. Take out the battery as soon as you can after the spill, bury the phone and the battery in a bowl of rice for 24 hours or so, and it should come out working fine. (Notice I said should. SHOULD. I’m not a cell phone technician.)
What else do you use your microwave for? Do you have any other recommendations for families that don’t have one?