6 Muscle Meals You Can Make In The Microwave
That microwave on your counter top can do so much more than just heat leftover pizza. “People crave efficiency, so they should call on the microwave more often to steam and heat where browning isn’t required,” says chef Keith Schroeder, author of Mad Delicious. It’s a truly ingenious invention. So put it to use and craft sensational original meals; don’t just reheat old ones.
1. Steam/Simmer: Salmon Hobo Packets
Time: 15 min
Fold two 35cm × 45cm sheets of parchment paper in half. Open them and place 2 cups chopped broccoli, ½ sliced fennel bulb, and ½ sliced red bell pepper on one side of each sheet; top with a 170g salmon fillet. Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a bowl. Stir in 2 Tbsp orange juice plus 2 tsp each orange zest and fresh thyme. Spread this over the fish. Fold the paper over the fish and crimp shut. Microwave on high for 4 minutes; add time (in 30-second intervals) until the salmon is cooked. Let the parcels rest for 5 minutes. Open them and sprinkle on 1 tsp black sesame seeds.
2. Steam/Simmer: Smoky Tomato And Crab Soup
Time: 15 min
In a 2l dish, mix 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 cup chopped onion, 1 chopped red bell pepper, 2 chopped garlic cloves, and a couple pinches of salt. Cover the dish and cook on high until the peppers are tender, about 2½ minutes. Add 1 tin of plum tomatoes, 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth/ stock, 1 tsp smoked paprika, and ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper. Cover again and heat on high for 5 minutes. Puree with ¼ cup cream and ¼ cup milk. Season to taste, with more salt if needed. Top with lump crabmeat and minced fresh chives to taste.
3. Bake: Chicken Pineapple Curry
Time: 20 min
In a large bowl, add 1 peeled and cubed sweet potato, 2 chopped shallots, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 2 Tbsp water, and 1 Tbsp chopped ginger. Cover and cook on high for 5 minutes. Add 1 tin (400ml) coconut milk, 1 Tbsp red curry paste, and ½ tsp each salt and cinnamon; puree. In another bowl, cook 450g cubed chicken breast on high, covered, for 2 minutes. Drain, add the puree, cover, and heat on high till done (stir once), 6 minutes. Stir in 1 cup frozen peas, 1 cup diced pineapple, ⅓ cup cashews, and the juice of ½ lime; heat 30 seconds. Serve with rice and coriander.
4. Bake: Barbecue Meatloaf
Time: 25 min
Combine 450g beef mince (80% lean), 1 cup grated carrot, ½ cup minced onion, ½ cup bread crumbs or quick oats, ¼ cup BBQ sauce, 3 Tbsp tomato paste, 1 large egg, 2 tsp dried thyme, ½ tsp kosher salt, and ¼ tsp black pepper. Press into an even layer in a greased microwave-safe loaf pan; spread another ¼ cup barbecue sauce on top. Cover with a paper towel and microwave on high until cooked through (75°C), 12 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.
5. Toast: Maple Pecan Granola
Time: 12 min
In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup each of coconut oil and maple syrup and cook on high until liquified, 30 seconds. In a shallow dish, mix 2 cups rolled oats, ½ cup chopped pecans, ¼ cup sunflower seeds, ⅓ cup coconut flakes, the zest of 1 orange, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Mix in the syrup and spread in an even layer. Nuke on high, stirring twice, until the oats are crisped, 5 to 6½ minutes. Stir in ½ cup dried cherries and cool to room temp. Add on top of Greek yoghurt.
6. Toast: Cinnamon-Chili Sweet Potato Chips
Time: 7 min
Slice 1 medium sweet potato very thinly. (Use a mandoline if you have one.) In a small bowl, toss the slices with 2 tsp oil, ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp chilli powder, and ¼ tsp salt. Then arrange the slices in a single layer on a parchment-lined plate. (You might have to do this in batches so the chips don’t turn soggy.) Microwave the slices on high until your chips are crispy, about 3 minutes. Serve alongside or crushed atop tacos. And they’re great with guacamole.
Know Your Power:
Cooking times for these and most recipes are based on a 1200-watt oven, but not all microwaves have that much power. To find your machine’s wattage, look on the back plate or inside the door. Here are basic conversions from a three-minute cooking time in a 1200-watt oven.