Imagine making a yummy quiche and an even yummier dessert, just by stirring up some stuff and hitting the “start” button.
That’s right — I’m talking about cooking with a microwave. It’s not just for reheating coffee.
In my search for things to nuke, I focused on my favorite meals: breakfast and dessert. I wanted dishes that are quick and simple, but not so easy that they’re boring to eat.
I also learned a few dos and don’ts that will help make my future microwave cookery a heck of a lot tastier and cleaner. But more on that later.
First up: coffee-cup quiche.
The coffee cup is a powerful tool for microwave cooks. You can make all sorts of stuff in it, from brownies to potato soup.
I could have gone with coffee-cup scrambled eggs, but that would have been too easy. I’d also never made quiche before.
The quiche is made with butter crackers (like Ritz), eggs, Dijon mustard, scallions, deli ham, salt, pepper, peas and brie cheese.
Crushed crackers at the bottom of the mug serve as the crust. Everything else is mixed in a separate bowl, then dumped into the mug. Microwave it on high for three minutes and enjoy.
Yup, it’s that easy. And the results were great. With protein and vegetables, it’s a satisfying meal that you could even make in the breakroom microwave at work.
The Dijon mustard gave the quiche a flavor kick — although I did put in a bit too much salt, which distracted from some of the other flavors.
You’re supposed to invert the mug and slide the quiche onto a plate, but I chose to eat it straight from the mug.
True quiche is supposed to have a flaky crust; this one is rather thick. Nevertheless, I enjoyed digging to the bottom of the mug to finish off the crackers.
And did I mention that I made it in three minutes?
My dessert recipe was an even quicker fixer-upper: minute microwave cheesecake.
As you probably have already deduced, the name refers to about how long it takes to prepare and cook the dish. Ingredients include cream cheese, sour cream, egg, lemon juice, vanilla extract and sugar.
I topped the finish cheesecake with raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, whipped cream and almond meal, just to spruce it up a bit. But that’s optional.
This recipe is not only faster but also even easier than the quiche. All you do is dump the ingredients into a bowl and microwave on high for 90 seconds, stopping every 30 seconds to stir. The cheesecake starts to take form in the final 30 seconds of nuking.
I threw the nuked cheesecake in the fridge for about an hour before eating it. It was a lot sweeter than I expected, since I followed the recipe and used a sugar substitute. And had I not topped it with the almond meal and berries, it would have been a bit boring.
It did boast a nice cheesecake texture — the balance of creaminess and thickness was just right.
And now for some microwave cookery tips.
■ Plastic wrap is OK to use for steaming veggies and other kinds of microwave cooking — as long as you puncture it to allow the steam to escape (if you don’t, the plastic can melt). Or you can just cover the bowl with a plate to hold the moisture and evenly distribute the heat.
■ Make sure pieces of food are uniformly sized and evenly arranged. That ensures they cook evenly.
■ To clean your microwave, use lemons. Put one lemon, sliced in half, in a bowl with four cups of water and microwave on high for five minutes. As the water heats up, it loosens gunk and dissolves food splatters. Wipe everything away with a towel. After I did this, my microwave looked as good as new.
8 butter crackers, such as Ritz
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon scallions
1 slice deli ham, chopped
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons peas
1 ounce brie cheese
Coat the inside of a mug with the cooking spray.
Place the crackers into a small plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Place the cracker crumbs in the mug.
In small bowl, whisk together the eggs, Dijon, scallions and ham. Season with salt and pepper. Gently pour the egg mixture into the mug over the crushed crackers. Drop the peas and the piece of brie into the middle of the eggs.
Place mug in microwave and cook on high for 3 minutes.
— Recipe by Sunny Anderson (www.rachaelrayshow.com)
Minute microwave cheesecake
The original recipe called for a sugar substitute. I used 4 tablespoons of the sugar substitute, and the results were quite sweet.
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons sour cream
½ teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons sugar or a sugar substitute.
Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high heat for 90 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds incorporating all ingredients. Refrigerate until serving.
Optional: Top with fresh fruit, whipped cream and nut meal.
Makes one 1-cup serving.
Nutritional information per serving: 299 calories, 2.5 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams protein, 27.6 grams fat
— Recipe by Your Lighter Side (www.yourlighterside.com)