Super-Easy Microwave Meals

Think your microwave can't manage more than reheating leftovers? Think again. Our 6 superfast recipes will have you falling in love with that little oven all over again.

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Alexandra Rowley

Sticky Pork Spare Ribs

Makes: about 10 ribs
Prep: 10 minutes
Microwave: 28 minutes total
Stand: 10 minutes

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Alexandra Rowley

Chicken & Artichoke "Risotto"

Makes: 6 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Microwave: 24 minutes
Stand: 10 minutes

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Alexandra Rowley

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

Makes: 36 meatballs
Prep: 15 minutes
Microwave: 15 minutes total
Stand: 10 minutes

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Alexandra Rowley

Flounder with Spicy Cherry Tomato Sauce

Makes: 4 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Microwave: 12 minutes
Stand: 10 minutes

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Alexandra Rowley

Turkey & Spinach Manicotti

Makes: 14 pieces
Prep: 20 minutes
Microwave: 28 minutes
Stand: 10 minutes

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Alexandra Rowley

Thai-Style Scallops

Makes: 4 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Microwave: 5 minutes
Stand: 5 minutes

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Alexandra Rowley

Bittersweet Almond Chocolate Pudding

Makes: 4 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Microwave: 8 1/2 minutes
Refrigerate: 4 hours or overnight

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Alexandra Rowley

How to Tell If a Dish Is Microwave-Safe

Most glass and ceramic dishes are safe for the microwave, but if you have any doubts, here's a quick way to test:
* Place 1 cup of water in the dish. Place in the microwave and cook on HIGH for 1 minute. If the water gets hot and the dish remains cool, that means the dish is safe to use in the microwave.
* If the dish gets hot, then it's not safe -- it may contain lead or other metallic substances.

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Alexandra Rowley

Microwaving Vegetables

Trying to eat more vegetables but don't know how to cook them? Follow our quick and easy guidelines and you won't have any more excuses. (Studies show veggies retain more nutrients when cooked this way!)
* Place vegetables in a microwave-safe bowl with a small amount of water and cover with microwave-safe plastic wrap. Vent slightly and microwave on HIGH. Cooking times vary, so check for doneness.
* Leafy vegetables such as spinach require 1 to 2 tablespoons of water per pound and take about 5 minutes.
* Green vegetables such as green beans and broccoli require about 4 tablespoons of water per pound and take about 8 minutes.
* Dense vegetables such as carrots and diced potatoes require about 6 tablespoons of water per pound and take about 10 minutes.

Originally published in the October 17, 2008, issue of Family Circle magazine.

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