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Byline: Natalie Haughton Food Editor

It's too darn hot. The last thing you feel like doing is heating up the kitchen or turning on the grill.

So rely on the microwave oven.

OK, we know what you're thinking: not a chance. You just use it for heating water or coffee, reheating Reheating

The addition of heat to steam of reduced pressure after the steam has given up some of its energy by expansion through the high-pressure stages of a turbine.
 leftovers and cooking packaged frozen dinners in a jiffy A fraction of time that has numerous interpretations depending on who uses it. It may refer to one computer clock cycle, one nanosecond, one millisecond or one AC power cycle. There may be others. See nanosecond.


Cookbook authors and test kitchens have been touting the microwave's attributes for years, but some cooks never tuned in. Now just may be the time.

Although research shows that consumers use it mostly for defrosting, reheating, cooking popcorn and frozen meals, it's great for fresh, frozen or canned vegetables, fish (white fish, orange roughy The orange roughy, red roughy, or deep sea perch, Hoplostethus atlanticus, is a relatively large deep-sea fish belonging to the slimehead family (Trachichthyidae). This fish is categorized as vulnerable to exploitation by the Marine Conservation Society. , salmon, halibut halibut: see flatfish.

Any of various flatfishes, especially the Atlantic and Pacific halibuts (genus Hippoglossus, family Pleuronectidae), both of which have eyes and colour on the right side.
 and sole, to name some), chicken, custards, soups, potatoes, appetizers and more, notes Brigid Bowles, manager of consumer information testing, General Electric Appliances. ``It's also good for melting chocolate or butter and softening cream cheese,'' she says.

But don't use it for steaks or roasts. Bowles also avoids cakes in the microwave.

``I don't personally like the results. Brownies are OK, along with some muffins.''

In addition to always browning ground beef for spaghetti sauce and other dishes and cooking vegetable creations in the microwave oven, Bowles also favors it for making candies such as two-minute fudge and chocolate haystacks Haystacks can be:
  • Haystacks (Monet), a series of paintings by Claude Monet.
  • Haystacks (Lake District), a mountain in England.
See also:
  • Haystack
 (her son's favorite).

Microwave ovens have come a long way in recent years, offering higher wattage wattage

the output or consumption of an electric device expressed in watts.
, larger capacity and more features, including sensor and programmable options. Even so, microwave ovens are not going to replace conventional ovens or cooktops any time soon, say corporate microwave marketing managers at Panasonic and General Electric.

More people are using microwave ovens now than ever before, says Mary Sadankas, national marketing manager at Panasonic Microwave Ovens.

According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 a 2001 study by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, 90.7 percent of U.S. households have a microwave oven in their homes with 4.1 percent of those having access to more than one oven. Last year, some 12.6 million microwave oven units of all kinds were shipped for sale. Many of those were sold to consumers replacing their 10- to 11-year old ovens or buying a microwave for a second location in the home.

Formerly skeptical of the microwave oven because he thought it resulted in dried-out and rubbery food, nationally syndicated TV chef Mr. Food Art Ginsburg, commonly known as Mr. Food, is a television and radio chef who emphasizes simple to moderately complex recipes. With a notably enthusiastic style, Mr. Food specializes in practical food preparation techniques often using readily available ingredients such as  (aka Art Ginsburg) is now a convert, thanks to the technology of the Panasonic Inverter (1) A logic gate that converts the input to the opposite state for output. If the input is true, the output is false, and vice versa. An inverter performs the Boolean logic NOT operation.

(2) A circuit that converts DC current into AC current. Contrast with rectifier.
 microwave, which sparked his interest and exploration. In the last year, he teamed up with Panasonic to develop recipes and write a newsletter to help change perceptions.

The 3-year old Inverter technology improves the results of microwave defrosting, reheating and cooking by replacing the bulky transformer used in traditional microwave ovens with a less cumbersome and smaller circuit board, says Sadankas. With the Inverter, you get a truer power level in the oven, which means that if you set the oven for 60 percent power, the oven maintains that level the entire cooking time as opposed to traditional microwaves that cook only 60 percent of the time (cycling on and off) and idle 40 percent of the time.

The technology allows consumers to keep foods warm without overcooking them, simmer foods including gravies, sauces, etc. and defrost de·frost  
v. de·frost·ed, de·frost·ing, de·frosts
1. To remove ice or frost from: defrosted the windshield.

2. To cause to thaw.

 food 49 percent faster, all of which aren't possible in traditional microwaves, continues Sadankas. Breads, cakes and cupcakes also rise slightly. The technology is now available in 1.2-, 1.6- and 2.2-cubic-foot ovens, ranging from 1,100 to 1,300 watts.

Over-the-range microwaves are the fastest-growing category for General Electric, says Jerry Wolff, marketing manager, microwave ovens, General Electric Appliances. Although capacity and wattage of traditional microwave ovens has increased of late (a new GE Spacemaker microwave oven can now hold up to six dinner plates or three 9x13-inch casseroles and has 1,000 watts), the biggest news at General Electric these days pertains to technology.

The company is marketing trendy, new cooking units known as Advantium Speedcook ovens, available in above-the-cooktop or in-wall oven models for home cooks. Introduced two years ago, the Advantium uses Speedcook technology, a combination of halogen halogen (hăl`əjĕn) [Gr.,=salt-bearing], any of the chemically active elements found in Group 17 of the periodic table; the name applies especially to fluorine (symbol F), chlorine (Cl), bromine (Br), and iodine (I).  lighting and microwave power, to deliver oven-quality food up to four or eight times faster than a conventional oven, depending on the model you choose, notes Wolff.

With the Advantium, no preheating is required and foods (such as cookies, cakes and muffins) will turn out browned just as in a conventional oven. Chocolate chip Chocolate chips are small chunks of chocolate. They are often sold in a round, flat-bottomed teardrop shape (similar to a Hershey's Kiss). They are available in numerous sizes, from large to miniature, but are usually around 1 cm in diameter.  cookies take 5 minutes instead of 16 to 18; crescent rolls take 4 1/2 minutes instead of 18 minutes; 3 or 4 chicken breasts take about 8 minutes instead of 30.

Because of its small capacity, the Advantium is recommended as a supplemental oven in the kitchen alongside a conventional oven.

Although the company is currently offering commercial Advantium free-standing ovens to restaurants and chains, consumers will have to wait awhile. An Advantium countertop model should be available to home cooks in the next 18 to 24 months, says Wolff.

So what's on What's On (Traditional Chinese: 熒幕八爪娛) is a weekly half-hour TV series that airs on Fairchild Television. Format
Originally started in 1996, the show is currently the longest-running program in Fairchild Television history.
 the horizon? Panasonic has been marketing an SD microwave in Japan since May that will likely be introduced in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area.  next year, says Sadankas. The SD uses a card that insets into a panel on the oven, allowing consumers to get all sorts of information.

Some units even claim to read bar codes on foods, but there's no standard and it's not practical at this point, says Wolff.

A report from the International Housewares house·wares  
Cooking utensils, dishes, and other small articles used in a household, especially in the kitchen.
 Show in Chicago last January made note of a Samsung Internet-enabled microwave oven that allows the home cook to download recipes from its Web site onto a cartridge. The cartridge is inserted into the oven, setting the power level and cooking time for the recipe.

Until you get such an oven, fall back on these traditional microwave recipes and keep cool.


3 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 (6-ounce) boneless Bone´less

a. 1. Without bones.

Adj. 1. boneless - being without a bone or bones; "jellyfish are boneless"
 chicken breast halves, skinned and thinly sliced

2 cloves cloves

symbolic of stateliness. [Plant Symbolism and Folklore: Jobes, 350]

See : Dignity
 garlic, minced

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon sherry

1 tablespoon cornstarch cornstarch, material made by pulverizing the ground, dried residue of corn grains after preparatory soaking and the removal of the embryo and the outer covering. It is used as laundry starch, in sizing paper, in making adhesives, and in cooking.  

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1 medium green pepper, cut into small chunks

1/2 cup cashews

Place oil in a 2-quart oblong glass baking dish. Microwave on high power 1 minute. Combine chicken, garlic, soy sauce, sherry, cornstarch and ginger; add to oil. Microwave on high power 3 to 4 minutes, stirring every minute.

Add green pepper and cashews. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high 3 to 5 minutes, until chicken is done and green pepper is crisp-tender; stir after 1 minute. Let stand 3 minutes before serving. Serve over rice. Makes 4 servings.

From ``The Microwave Cookbook,'' General Electric.

PEACH MELBA peach melba

a dessert made of halved peaches, vanilla ice cream, and raspberries [after Dame Nellie Melba, singer]

Noun 1.

1 (29-ounce) can peach halves, drained and chopped

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, thinly sliced

6 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon peach schnapps schnapps  
n. pl. schnapps
Any of various strong dry liquors, such as a strong Dutch gin.

[German Schnaps, mouthful, schnapps, from Low German snaps, from

1 quart vanilla ice Robert Matthew Van Winkle (born October 31, 1968), better known as Vanilla Ice, is a Grammy Award nominated, American Music Award winning American rapper and actor known mostly for the 1990 single "Ice Ice Baby.  cream

1 cup whipped cream

1/2 pint fresh raspberries

1 bunch fresh mint (optional)

Place peaches, butter and brown sugar in a microwave-safe 8-inch square baking dish. Cook in microwave on high power 3 minutes. Stir in schnapps.

Scoop ice cream evenly into individual serving bowls or parfait glasses, then spoon peach mixture over top.

Dollop with whipped cream and garnish with fresh raspberries and mint sprigs. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

From Mr. Food.


1 pound lean ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

1/3 cup chopped green pepper

3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon oregano oregano (ərĕg`ənō), name for several herbs used for flavoring food. A plant of the family Labiatae (mint family), Origanum vulgare,  

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin cumin or cummin (both: kŭm`ĭn), low annual herb (Cuminum cyminum) of the family Umbelliferae (parsley family), long cultivated in the Old World for the aromatic seedlike fruits.  

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Dash cayenne pepper

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

1 cup shredded lettuce

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes

Tortilla chips

In a 1 1/2-quart casserole, combine ground beef, onion, peppers, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon cumin and thyme. Microwave on high power 4 to 7 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes; drain. Add tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, remaining 1/4 teaspoon cumin and cayenne pepper. Microwave on high power 4 to 7 minutes, stirring after 3 minutes. Set aside.

In a 1-quart casserole, place cream cheese. Microwave on medium power 1 to 2 minutes; stir. Add parsley flakes and remaining 1/2 teaspoon chili powder. Mix well. Spread cream cheese on a large plate; sprinkle evenly with lettuce. Top with meat sauce and garnish with tomatoes. Serve with chips. Makes 12 servings.

From ``The Microwave Cookbook,'' General Electric.

CHILE-CHEESE BEAN DIP Noun 1. bean dip - a dip made of cooked beans
dip - tasty mixture or liquid into which bite-sized foods are dipped

1 (16-ounce) can refried beans re·fried beans
Beans that have been cooked and then mashed and fried with seasonings.

[Translation of Spanish frijoles refritos : frijoles, pl.

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup mild chunky-style salsa

1 (7-ounce) can diced green chiles

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce Noun 1. pepper sauce - for venison: brown sauce with sauteed vegetables and trimmings and marinade and plenty of pepper

sauce - flavorful relish or dressing or topping served as an accompaniment to food
 OR more to taste

Combine all ingredients in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart bowl. Stir to blend well. Cover with wax paper.

Cook in microwave oven on high power 3 minutes. Stir well. Cover and continue to cook 2 to 4 minutes, until cheese melts and dip is heated through. Serve with chips. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

From ``365 Quick & Easy Microwave Recipes,'' by Thelma Pressman, Harper & Row.

A pungent relish made of fruits, spices, and herbs.

[Hindi can

Heat just before serving for best results.1 (9-ounce) glass jar chutney, preferably Major Grey's

1 (8-ounce) round Brie cheese Brie´ cheese`   

1. A kind of soft French cream cheese; - so called from the district in France where it is made; it is milder than Camembert; - called also fromage de Brie ltname>, Brie ltname> and brie ltname> (uncapitalized).

1/2 cup coarsely chopped salted roasted almonds

2 tablespoons sliced green onions

Remove metal lid from jar of chutney. Cover jar with a paper towel. Cook in microwave oven on medium power 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until hot. Use mitt or pot holder to remove jar.

Place Brie in center of a 9-inch microwave-safe serving dish with rim. Cook on low power 4 to 4 1/2 minutes, turning plate if it appears to be heating unevenly, until cheese is very warm and just beginning to melt.

Stir chutney and pour over Brie. Sprinkle with almonds and green onions. Serve warm with crackers or French bread. Makes 8 servings.

ital!From ``365 Quick & Easy Microwave Recipes,'' by Thelma Pressman, Harper & Row.


3 cups white bread cubes, crusts removed

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1/4 cup finely chopped green onions

1 (4 1/2-ounce) jar sliced mushrooms, drained

1 cup cubed (1/2-inch cubes) cooked ham

4 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon dry mustard Noun 1. dry mustard - a substance such that one to three tablespoons dissolved in a glass of warm water is a homemade emetic
powdered mustard

emetic, nauseant, vomitive, vomit - a medicine that induces nausea and vomiting

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Dash hot sauce

In a 2-quart oblong glass baking dish, place cubed bread. Sprinkle cheese, green onions and mushrooms evenly over bread. Top with ham cubes.

In a small mixing bowl, beat together eggs, milk, dry mustard, pepper and hot sauce. Pour egg mixture over bread, cheese and ham. Cover with wax paper.

Microwave on high power 2 to 4 minutes. Microwave at medium power 6 to 9 minutes, until nearly set. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.

From ``The Microwave Cookbook,'' General Electric.


1/2 large sweet onion Sweet onion is a variety of onion that is not pungent. There are several varieties of sweet onion. Although all onions have sugar, sweet onions have a very low sulfur content as compared to typical onions. Also, the water content is comparatively very high. , thinly sliced

1 1/2 pounds halibut OR other firm-fleshed white fish, cut 1-inch thick

Salt and pepper
For the American R&B and hip hop group, see Salt-N-Pepa.
For the seasonings, see Edible salt and Black pepper.
For the type of noise, see Salt and pepper noise.

1 (8-ounce) can green chile salsa

1 medium tomato, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 (2-ounce) can sliced ripe olives, drained

In a shallow glass baking dish just large enough to hold fish, arrange a single layer of sliced onion. Place fish on top. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Spoon salsa over fish. Sprinkle tomato and cilantro on top.

Cover with wax paper. Cook in microwave oven on high power 5 1/2 to 6 minutes or until fish is just barely opaque throughout. Top fish with olive slices. Makes 3 to 4 servings.

From ``365 Quick & Easy Microwave Recipes,'' by Thelma Pressman, Harper & Row.


1/2 cup white chocolate white chocolate
Cocoa butter combined with milk and a sweetener, often flavored with vanilla.

Noun 1. white chocolate
 candy melts for candy making (see Note)

1/2 cup extra-crunchy OR creamy peanut butter

1 cup plain bread crumbs

1 cup light OR dark chocolate candy melts for candy making (see Note)

1/4 cup finely chopped dry-roasted peanuts

Line large cookie sheet with wax paper. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine white chocolate candy melts and peanut butter. Microwave on medium power 2 minutes. Stir until melted and smooth. Add bread crumbs; mix well.

Place on wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Place another sheet of wax paper over mixture; pat or roll to form 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Remove top waxed paper waxed paper  
Wax paper.

waxed paper or wax paper

paper treated or coated with wax or paraffin to make it waterproof

Place 1/2 cup light chocolate candy melts in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium power 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Spread evenly over peanut butter layer on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons peanuts. Freeze 5 minutes or refrigerate re·frig·er·ate  
tr.v. re·frig·er·at·ed, re·frig·er·at·ing, re·frig·er·ates
1. To cool or chill (a substance).

2. To preserve (food) by chilling.
 15 minutes to set chocolate.

Meanwhile, place remaining 1/2 cup light chocolate candy melts in same small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium 2 minutes. Stir until smooth.

Remove candy from freezer. Turn candy over; remove waxed paper. Spread light chocolate over candy. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons peanuts. Refrigerate 10 minutes or until firm. Break or cut into small pieces Serve cold. Makes 50 (1 1/4-inch) pieces.

NOTE: Chopped vanilla-flavored and chocolate-flavored candy coating or white vanilla chips and semisweet sem·i·sweet  
Having a small amount of sweetening: semisweet chocolate.

Adj. 1. semisweet - having a taste that is a mixture of bitterness and sweetness
 chocolate chips can be substituted for white and light chocolate candy melts for candy making.

This recipe won the innovation award at the Pillsbury Bake-Off The Pillsbury Bake-Off is a cooking contest, run by Pillsbury Company from 1949 to 1976, annually, and biennially since.[1] History
The Grand Prize in the first contest—then called the Grand National Recipe and Baking Contest
 Contest in 2000 for Pat Parsons, Bakersfield.

A sauce consisting of usually fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and grated cheese.

[Italian, from past participle of pistare, pestare, to pound; see piston.

4 boneless and skinless chicken breast halves, thawed if frozen

1/2 cup bottled pesto sauce

4 slices mozzarella moz·za·rel·la  
A mild white Italian cheese that has a rubbery texture and is often eaten melted, as on pizza.

[Italian, diminutive of mozza, a cut, mozzarella, from mozzare,

1/2 cup sliced ripe olives (optional)

Place chicken breast halves on a microwave-safe platter. Cover with a single layer of thick paper towels and cook in microwave oven on high power 7 to 9 minutes, until no pink remains in chicken, but it is still juicy.

Uncover chicken and top each piece with a dollop of pesto sauce and 1 slice mozzarella. Return platter to microwave and cook on medium-high power about 2 to 3 minutes, until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with olives and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

From Mr. Food.


1 pound lean ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

1 celery rib, chopped

8 ounces thin spaghetti, broken into pieces

1 (28-ounce) can peeled plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped and liquid reserved

1 1/2 cups tomato juice

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese a kind of cheese of a rich flavor, though from skimmed milk, made in Parma, Italy.

See also: Parmesan

In a 3-quart casserole, place meat, onion and celery. Cook in microwave oven on high power 5 minutes, stirring once to break up any lumps. Pour off fat.

Stir in spaghetti, tomatoes with liquid, tomato juice, sugar, Italian seasoning and salt. Cover with lid and cook on high power 5 minutes.

Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Cover and cook on high power 15 minutes or until pasta is tender but still firm. Let stand, covered, 10 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese over top and serve. Makes 4 servings.

From ``365 Quick & Easy Microwave Recipes,'' by Thelma Pressman, Harper & Row.

TORTILLA CHICKEN SOUP chicken soup Chicken broth Folk medicine Jewish penicillin A fowl broth with a long tradition as a home remedy for URIs, which may be a nasal decongestant, inhibit growth of pneumococci in vitro, and stimulate immune responsiveness in WBCs Mainstream medicine A  

2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans chicken broth Noun 1. chicken broth - a stock made with chicken
chicken stock

broth, stock - liquid in which meat and vegetables are simmered; used as a basis for e.g. soups or sauces; "she made gravy with a base of beef stock"

1/2 cup water

1 cup medium OR hot salsa

1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

2 (6-inch) flour tortillas, cut into 3x1/4-inch strips

1/2 cup finely shredded Cheddar cheese

1 to 2 green onions, thinly sliced

In a microwave-safe 2-quart bowl, combine chicken broth, water, salsa and chicken chunks; mix well. Cover and cook in microwave oven on medium-high power 13 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and mixture is hot. Remove from microwave and add tortilla strips; mix well. Sprinkle each bowl of soup with a little cheese and green onions just before serving. Add a dollop of sour cream, if desired. Makes 6 cups, about 3 to 4 servings.

From Mr. Food.


1/4 cup Italian salad dressing

3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons maple syrup maple syrup: see under maple.  

1 tablespoon peanut oil peanut oil
The oil pressed from peanuts, used for cooking, in soaps, and as a solvent for pharmaceutical preparations.

Noun 1.

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

1 (8-ounce) package mixed baby greens

Place all ingredients except greens in a microwave-safe medium bowl. Heat in microwave oven on high power 1 1/2 minutes.

Stir, then toss with mixed greens. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

NOTE: This looks really great garnished with additional walnut halves, orange slices and red onion rings.

From Mr. Food.


The microwave is super-fast, convenient and energy efficient. Following are a few tips for new microwave cooks or those who want to refresh their strategy.

With microwave ovens ranging in wattage (power output) from 600 to 1,000 watts of cooking power or even more these days, many microwave recipes now include a range of cooking times to compensate for differences, so figure on adjusting to your particular oven. Microwave recipes give guidelines - and cooks need to take responsibility for the dish as it is cooking, reminds Brigid Bowles of General Electric Appliances. The lower the wattage of your oven, the longer cooking will take.

If you don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)

"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party.
 the wattage of your oven and the information isn't available in the use and care book that came with the oven (or you've lost it), use this test to determine what it is.

In a 2-cup glass measure, heat 1 cup tap water on high power. If the water boils in less than 3 minutes, your oven more than likely has 600 or more watts.

Arrange individual items like potatoes or custard cups in a ring (or spoke fashion) and allow space in between so energy can penetrate from all sides.

When it comes to covering foods, use wax paper to prevent spattering. To retain moisture in the food and to steam it, opt for covering with plastic wrap. Be sure to vent by turning back an edge to allow excess steam to escape, avoiding a big burst of steam when you uncover it. Plastic wrap can be used whenever a recipe specifies covering with a lid.

A turntable A playback machine for vinyl phonograph records, which were a major music distribution medium throughout the 20th century. The turntable contains a rotating platter to hold and spin the disc and an arm that holds a cartridge and needle (stylus).  eliminates the need to move around and manipulate foods. However, when defrosting foods, be sure to check and separate items to facilitate the process.

While you can heat food in jars (remove the lids), avoid doing so in narrow neck jars (you get hot spots hot spots

acute moist dermatitis.
 and uneven distribution of heat). Bowles advises against heating baby bottles or baby food in jars in the microwave.

Size and shape of the container will affect the microwave cooking time. A shallow casserole exposes more food surface and will require less time to cook than a taller utensil holding the same aount. Round shapes and rings cook more quickly since microwaves penetrate from all sides.

When cooking chicken in the microwave, top with seasonings or coatings such as a paprika paprika: see pepper.  or Southwest blend or barbecue sauce, to give it color and appeal, advises Bowles. Avoid overcooking so you don't wind up with a rubbery end result.

Whole potatoes are good candidates for microwave cooking although you end up with a more steamed appearance and a less fluffy, not as dry texture as when baked in a conventional oven. Many feel the time saved is worth the compromise.

You can toast nuts in a hurry in the microwave. Microwave 1/2 cup shelled nuts in a glass bowl on high 2 1/2 to 4 minutes or until lightly browned. It's also great for drying fresh herbs (place on a paper towel) in only minutes, but watch carefully.

Refresh crackers and potato chips by placing 2 to 3 cups in a thin layer on a paper towel-lined plate. Heat on high power 15 to 20 seconds. Let stand 5 minutes to crisp.

Generally, depending on oven wattage and size and style of food, figure a potato will take 3 to 4 minutes; fish about 5 minutes per pound (lower wattages may take longer); 6 to 8 chicken pieces from 11 to 16 minutes.

Arrange thickest parts of foods toward the outside of the dish and thinner pieces toward the middle to prevent thinner pieces from overcooking.

To adapt familiar recipes to the microwave, reduce the liquid along with the seasonings. Also figure on reducing conventional cooking time by one-third to one-half, but check at the minimum time to avoid overcooking.

- Natalie Haughton


8 photos, box


(1 -- 3 -- cover -- color) ZAP IT!

Keep cool with microwave cooking

(4 -- 6 -- color) Use the microwave to keep the kitchen cool. Turn out Tortilla Chicken Soup and Warm Honey-Walnut Salad, above, and Oriental Chicken and Cashews, right, in a jiffy.

(7 -- color) Make a delicious ice cream toping in the microwave fast with peaches, butter, brown sugar.

(8) Guess Again Candy Crunch

Box: Micro Management (see text)
COPYRIGHT 2001 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:L.A. Life
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Aug 22, 2001

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