I would be lost without a Microwave. I know that you can reheat and cook things using hobs and ovens. For sheer quickness and ease though, a microwave is a brilliant invention isn’t it? In fact, I have been a bit obsessed with them lately and come across lots of different types including all singing and dancing ones, like this Combination Microwave by Panasonic.
Not only does it reheat things, it also steams, grills and bakes as well! I quite like the idea of steam cooking, especially with vegetables for the children as it makes sure you don’t lose any of the nutrients from the food. And more and more I see interesting recipes for mug cakes and steamed puddings that utilise them as well. With the Winter months coming up, it is making me feel quite inspired to try some new things out.
Time and Energy Saving By Batch Cooking
The main benefit of using a microwave in the kitchen, for me, is the time I save. I know all I have to do is put the food inside, press a button and walk away until I hear the ‘DING!’. To make life even easier, I have been doing a lot of batch cooking recently too. There are so many easy and affordable recipes that you can cook ahead of time and pop into the freezer for when you need them. I find it feels like such a relief when I don’t have to cook and can just rely on reheating the meals in the microwave!
I wish I was organised enough to batch cook meals on a regular basis but, it is sometimes difficult to set aside time. When I do manage the time though, it is brilliant and really saves my sanity! And it also saves us money. Baby George is currently weaning so I am pureeing fruit and vegetables non stop. He obviously only eats small amounts, so whatever he doesn’t manage to wolf down, I pop into the freezer to be heated up in the microwave another day. I can’t stand wasting food so the fact I can do this eases my conscience a lot.
Increased Productivity and Quality Time
As a result of cooking in bulk and utilising the microwave at meal times, I can afford to give more time to other tasks and fun things. Yes, there is always the washing to be done and the hoovering to do. And I do dedicate a bit of the extra time to housework. But, mostly, I play with the kids and take them out places without having to worry about stopping what we are doing because I have to rush home and cook. I can also make sure I have time to work as well, rather than being tethered to an oven. Or the kitchen sink! That’s another positive to the batch cooking/reheating concept, you use much less cooking utensils and create minimal mess so clearing up is no tough task at all.
Health and safety
Of course, when storing and reheating food, you do have to ensure that you follow the correct instructions and safety guidelines. When preparing food from the freezer, it’s best to make sure that it is completely defrosted before reheating it. Otherwise you can subject yourself and your little ones to some pretty nasty food poisoning. If a meal is piping hot when it comes out of the microwave, it makes me feel confident that it is safe to eat. You do have to be careful with preparing food for children though, as the heat distributed by a microwave tends to cluster in pockets within the food. I never knew this until I actually burnt my own mouth one evening whilst wolfing down a spaghetti bolognese! So always stir the food thoroughly at intervals whilst cooking.
My Top 5 Recipe Ideas for Batch Microwave Cooking:
- Spaghetti Bolognese is, as I have hinted above, always a firm favourite in our house. I make a huge pot of the meat sauce, then serve it with pasta and salad or garlic bread.
- Chilli con Carne makes for a lovely, warming bowl of comfort food and I also use the microwavable rice pouches for quickness and ease too…. Much to the annoyance of my Caribbean mother in law! Sorry Pat!
- Baked Potatoes are such a quick and nutritious meal that can be eaten for either lunch or dinner! I know they aren’t necessarily a meal that can be made ahead. But they are so easy to do that you can create a meal for the whole family in no time. Just as quick as if you had batch cooked something in fact!
- Beef Stew is a brilliant choice for making in bulk. You can use up any root vegetables that are lurking in the bottom of the fridge. I even spruce mine up with a dash of beer or red wine as it makes for a richer gravy. Don’t worry, the alcohol has burnt off by the time the children eat it… And I usually have a glass of what’s left over as a pat on the back for cooking… ha!
- Jam Sponge Pudding and Custard has always been one of my most favourite puddings (see pic above)! I have been making this dessert for years. It was always a favourite within my family when I was a kid. Usually whipped up quickly and popped into the microwave as a treat to end family meals on a Sunday. It is stodgy, sweet and amazing on rainy days. And ALWAYS a firm favourite with the younger house members too!
What do you cook in your Microwave? Leave your recipes and tips in the comments below, I’d love to hear them.
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