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Kaylor: Cook it fast in a microwave oven

By Staff | May 9, 2014

Many households have a microwave oven. These small appliances are energy-efficient, take up little space in your kitchen and speed food preparation. However, food safety experts have found that not everyone follows safe food-handling rules when using the microwave.

Which of the following safe food-handling rules are true when you use a microwave oven?

1. I read and follow the cooking instructions on the package.

Always, Sometimes, Never

2. I stir and rotate food halfway through cooking (to prevent hot/cold spots).

Always, Sometimes, Never

3. I observe the recommended “standing time.” (Food continues to cook for a while after it is removed from the microwave oven.)

Always, Sometimes, Never

4. I use a food thermometer to be sure my food has reached a safe temperature.

Always, Sometimes, Never

5. I use microwave-safe containers when I heat food.

Always, Sometimes, Never

Safe containers for microwave oven use:

Glass, ceramic cookware and those labeled safe for microwave use

Microwave-safe plastic wraps, wax paper, cooking bags, parchment paper and white microwave-safe paper towels

Note: Discard containers that hold prepared microwavable meals after you use them, because they are meant for one-time use.

Not safe for microwave oven use:

Margarine tubs, whipped topping bowls

Take-out containers from restaurants (unless they say “microwave-safe”)

Foam-insulated trays and plastic wraps

Tips for

grilling food

Food cooked outdoors on a grill is a welcome sign of spring, and grilling delicious and colorful fruit or vegetables is easy with these ideas. Watch the grilled food carefully because the temperature of grills can vary.

Cut vegetables into large, flat pieces of even thickness throughout each slice. You can cut them into smaller pieces after cooking.

Brush fruit and vegetables with oil to reduce sticking. Lay pieces in a single layer on a cookie sheet, brush with oil and season. Turn them over and repeat on the other side.

Use marinades or seasonings to add flavor. Be aware that sugar-based marinades cause the exterior of the vegetables to blacken.

Use dry and moist heat to cook vegetables. Grill until both sides have grill marks. Remove from grill and place in a bowl. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap to steam the vegetables for five to 10 minutes. This will finish the cooking without drying them.

Baked potatoes primavera

4 potatoes, medium-sized

4 c. mixed vegetables (or leftover grilled vegetables)

1 c. sour cream, nonfat

tsp. oregano, dried

tsp. basil, dried

Black pepper (to taste)

Pierce each potato several times with a fork. Microwave on high until tender, about three to four minutes per potato. Heat mixed vegetables as directed on the package, or use leftover grilled vegetables. Mix the sour cream with the herbs and pepper. (You can substitute 1 tsp. of chopped fresh herbs for dried.) Split the potatoes in the center and fill with veggies.

Top with sour cream and serve hot.

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