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How to Use a Microwave Oven

Cooking Tips

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Sharp Microwave Oven

Sharp Microwave Oven

The more you know about how to use a microwave oven, the better the results. These cooking tips are invaluable.

When using the microwave to defrost meat, the foods must be completely cooked right away. The microwave may have partially cooked part of the meat, and bacteria may grow if the food isn't thoroughly cooked. Arrange food evenly in the pans and follow directions for stirring, rotating and standing time.

Most recipes are developed for use in a 700 watt oven. If yours is a different wattage, here is a great chart that will convert cooking times for you: Conversion Chart.

Check the food at the shortest time in the specified cooking range. Let the food stand as directed, then test using an instant read thermometer to be super safe, or test according to the recipe's doneness tests. You can easily cook it longer if the food isn't done.

If you're wondering if a dish you own is microwave safe, there's an easy way to test it. Place a cup full of water and the dish you want to test in the microwave. Cook at 100% power for one minute. If the water gets hot and the dish you're testing stays cool, it is safe to use in the microwave. If the dish gets hot, it contains lead or metals and shouldn't be used in the microwave.

Onions and other vegetables are easily sauteed in the microwave. Just chop as directed in the recipe, place in a safe container, add 1 Tbsp. of water and cook on HIGH for 1-2 minutes until soft. This is a great way to cook quickly with no added fat.

In general, the outside sections of the food will cook more quickly. So arrange fish fillets, for example, so the thinner parts are toward the center.

When cooking on any other power level than HIGH, the oven cooks by cycling power on and off, so the energy has a chance to move through the food without overcooking. MEDIUM and LOW power are generally used to soften, melt, and defrost foods, while HIGH is usually used for cooking. Follow the recipe!

Remember to use microwave safe plastic wrap to cover the food while cooking if the recipe says to. Leave one corner uncovered to vent steam so it doesn't build up to dangerous levels. And always be careful when removing the cover from food; the steam will billow up quickly and it's easy to get burned.

Pay careful attention to arranging the food, stirring, rotating, and standing instructions in the recipes.

To easily clean the microwave, place 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice in 1 cup of water in a 2 cup liquid measuring cup. Microwave on HIGH for 2-3 minutes, until the liquid is boiling. Let the liquid remain in the microwave, without opening the door, for 5 minutes. Remove the measuring cup. The microwave will easily wipe clean with a paper towel.

Now go to the next page to find fabulous and easy microwave recipes!

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