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Surprising Facts About Microwave Cooking

You have probably used your microwave to cook a number of your foods to speed up the meal preparation process, like reheating leftovers.

But did you know you technically can cook just about anything in the microwave! It is also safe, as long as your food is fully cooked. Use a food thermometer to be sure it is safe to eat. You want 145 degrees for beef, pork, and fish; and 165 degrees for poultry.

Some of the foods you might regularly see cooked in the microwave include potato, sweet potato, steamed vegetables, fall squash, as well as scrambled eggs with veggies and cheese. You might be surprised to know you can cook steamed fish, poached chicken, ground beef, egg fried rice, macaroni and cheese, and toasted nuts. Basically, an entire meal from start to finish! There are plenty of recipes for these on the internet and more. Just type the food you want plus “microwave recipe” into your search engine to find what you are looking for.

There are a few disadvantages to cooking your meal in the microwave.

¯ The finished textures could be different, may seem dried out.

¯ Microwaves are not standard, so cooking times may vary from the recipes.

¯ Food may cook unevenly, be sure to turn or stir frequently.

¯ Microwaves cannot brown or crisp foods.

¯ Containers can get hot, be sure to use potholders.

STEAMED FISH

This works for white fish and salmon (skin side down) in a microwave safe dish with lid or sealed with saran wrap.

Add 1 teaspoon olive oil, parsley, and black pepper. You can also add white wine or lemon juice, as desired. Cook 2 minutes 1 filet, or 3 minutes for two filets.

POACHED CHICKEN BREAST

Place thawed chicken in microwave safe dish, fill 1/3 of the way up with water.

Add flavors such black pepper, crushed garlic, and onion powder. Seal with lid or saran wrap to create a steam bath. Cook 4-5 minutes for each breast in dish. Should dice or shred easily when done.

MAC&CHEESE FOR ONE

Mix 1/2 cup elbow pasta and 1/2 cup water in microwave safe dish. Cook in 2 minutes intervals and stir between until water absorbed. Add 1 -2 Tbsp of water if needed. One tender, add 1/4 cup milk and 1/4-1/2 cup shredded cheese. Stir and cook for 1 and 1/2 minutes. Enjoy!

We know the healthy choice is not always the easiest choice, but small changes can make a big difference. Carey Skelton, Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services dietitian, is available for nutrition education through SNAP-ed programs. The SNAP-ed programs are free for those who receive or qualify for SNAP benefits. We want to help you save time, save money, and eat healthy! Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services Senior Nutrition Program also provides nutritious meals through home delivered meals and the Dining Out Program throughout the county. We also sponsor several exercise programs. Please remember to contribute toward your OFAS nutrition services if you can. These programs are not sustainable without the support of participant and community contributions. Be aware that SNAP benefits can be used toward your contribution. Call NY Connects at 453-4582 for more details and information about any of these Nutrition and Wellness programs provided by Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services.

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