From warm winter squash to perfectly poached chicken breasts, check out a few easy ways to put your microwave to work for you.
- Squash: To make the squash easier to cut in half, place in microwave and heat for about 2 minutes on high power on each side. To continue cooking in the microwave, scoop out the seeds. Place 1 tablespoon of water into the space where the seeds were. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the oven. Cook for 10-12 minutes on high, depending on size. Let stand 2-3 minutes.
- Casseroles: Use the microwave to heat casseroles. If all the ingredients are already cooked (meat, vegetables, pasta, etc.), combine into a microwave-safe dish and heat on 70% power to reach serving temperature (165°F). Stir half-way through the cooking time. For a 1 qt dish: 6-10 minutes; 2 qt dish: 10-15 minutes.
- Chicken: If a recipe calls for cooked chicken cut up, use the microwave to poach boneless chicken breasts. Place in a microwave-safe dish and add 2 tablespoons water. Cover and cook on 70% power until no pink remains inside, 165°F. For 1 lb. of boneless chicken breasts: 8-10 minutes.
- Cheese: Use the microwave to prepare ingredients such as softening cream cheese. For an 8 oz package of cream cheese, remove the wrapping and place on a microwave-safe plate. Heat for 1-1.5 minutes on 20% power.