When there are too many cooks in my kitchen, it means there’s anyone else in there with me. Indeed, I have had to make do with the tiniest kitchen ever and, along the way, sacrifice some appliances to the kitchen gods. It ultimately came down to either my toaster oven or my microwave. I chose the latter, and I’m so, so glad I did! In the end, living without a microwave isn’t all that difficult.
Space concerns aside, living without a microwave has its benefits: food tastes better, other heating methods often use less energy, and there’s no need to be concerned about the potentially harmful side effects of microwave ovens.
In the end, if I can survive without a microwave, so can you! Check out these tips for cooking sans nuking.
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For me at least, the best part about having a microwave was microwave popcorn. But no worries here — making popcorn on the stovetop is actually quite easy! What you need to do: add about 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to a large pot with a tight lid and heat to medium. Put in 2 or 3 kernels and wait for them to pop. Then, add about 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels, put the lid on and gently move the pot around so the kernels get coated in oil. Take off heat when the popping slows down, move it to a bowl, and add desired toppings.
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Microwaved pizza is the worst! Luckily, reheating pizza in a toaster oven or conventional oven can come close to restoring it to its former glory. Make sure to put it on a baking sheet and keep the temperature low until it is heated to your desired temperature.
If you’re planning ahead (good for you!), you can easily defrost food overnight in the fridge. You can also defrost/thaw food in cold water; change the water ever half hour or so and be sure to put the food in a leak-proof package. Never, ever defrost on the counter or in hot water — it may get the job done quicker, but you’re putting yourself at risk of food borne illnesses. Of course, you can always just cook your food frozen; it will take longer but be perfectly safe.
One counterpoint: some frozen vegetables can be thawed in boiling water.
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Reheating Pasta, Rice & Soup
You can easily reheat these dishes on the stovetop. Put them in a pot, add a little water or vegetable stock, and heat over medium-low heat. And don’t forget to stir, stir, stir!
I’m not going to lie — softening butter without a microwave can be a major pain. You can always, of course, plan ahead and let the butter sit out for a few hours or beat it in a stand mixer until it is soft. However, my tried-and-true method is to put the butter in a small bowl, and fill a bigger bowl halfway with warm water. Place the smaller bowl in the bigger bowl and let it sit until softened.