Food & Nutrition

Zap It! 8 Easy Microwave Meals

Here’s how to use this boxy kitchen appliance to whip up dishes that can keep you on your healthy eating pattern.

It boils, it warms, it makes meals in minutes—the microwave is one of the busiest helpers in your kitchen. And after you survive a day full of work and relationships, it’s the perfect solution for a quick, and easy, meal. These eight no-fuss, low-mess options are ideal ways to help fuel your weight-loss efforts. 

 

Meal Staple: eggs


Using either prepared eggs from a carton or ones that you crack yourself, place the desired amount in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with a paper towel. Cook approximately 1 minute on high, then stir with a fork. Recover bowl and cook approximately 11⁄2 minutes more on high. This method can be used to cook the eggs in the recipes below.

Meal Staple: fish


In a microwave-safe dish, place 1⁄4 cup water and 8 ounces of your favorite fish (we used mahi mahi and cod for our recipes). Cover and microwave 3-5 minutes per pound on High. This method can be used to cook the fish in the recipes below.

Meal Staple: vegetables


Vegetables are a great side dish to any of the previously mentioned staples. Using the microwave makes preparation quick and simple and preserves nutrients.

Yams and baked potatoes

After scrubbing your spud and pricking it several times with a fork, bake it in the microwave for 7-10 minutes on High.

Meal microwave Tip: For a nearly instant meal, fill yams and potatoes with heated chili or steamed vegetables.

Steamed vegetables

Place vegetable of choice in a microwave-safe dish with about a half-inch of water at the bottom. Cover. Heat 5–7 minutes on High or to desired tenderness.

Meal Microwave Tip: If your microwave doesn’t have a turntable, rotate foods halfway through cooking cycle (more often for longer cooking time). Don’t overcook vegetables; cook till just done or for some, slightly crisp.

Microwave don’ts (and do’s)


DON’T microwave an egg in its shell; you could have a messy explosion. Don’t microwave an egg out of the shell without piercing the yolk to allow venting.

DON’T microwave whole spherical fruit or vegetables (such as apples and potatoes) without piercing the skin to prevent steam buildup.

DON’T reuse plastic food containers, such as margarine tubs, in the microwave. Chemicals can leach out of non-microwavable plastics into your food.

DON’T use product wrapping unless it’s specifically approved for microwave use.

DON’T let plastic wrap touch your food during microwaving. Place microwave-safe plastic wrap loosely over food, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Some labels indicate that you should leave at least one inch of space between the plastic wrap and the food.

DO cover messy foods like chili, spaghetti sauce, and soup to prevent splattering.

DON’T use patterned or colored paper towels and napkins in the microwave. They tend to bleed their designs onto the food or the floor of your microwave. Use only white towels for a clean and easy zap.

DO be aware of the cooking time specified for your microwave recipe. Most are written to accommodate a standard 700-watt appliance. If yours is significantly

more powerful, decrease the cooking time accordingly so you don’t overcook the food,

DON’T leave plastic lids on tight. Open the vents if lids have them, or loosen lids to allow steam to escape.

DO handle hot dishes carefully when removing from the microwave. And be careful when removing lids or coverings or opening bags.

DON’T use metal in the microwave. You already know this, but we just wanted to offer a reminder to be safe.

DO read and follow directions in the owner’s manual for your microwave, as well as those on food products and cookware packages.