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Junior chefs on their own with a microwave.

Junior chefs on their own with a microwave

Taco salad, pasta, tortilla sandwich, hot brownie

Children seem to have an instinctive aptitudefor using the microwave oven. Its safety factors, speed, and cleanup-saving potential also make it a good choice when junior chefs decide to whip up treats for friends or family.

These four microwaved dishes are child-testedfor taste and ease of preparation: a salad with a hot ground beef and tacofilling topping, a flavorful cheese and pasta dish with turkey and Chinese pea pods, a warm open-faced tortilla snack, and a gooey brownie-like dessert.

Although microwave ovens work fastestwith small amounts of food, these recipes --which make enough for four to six servings--come together quickly.

Remember that although microwave ovensurfaces don't get warm, potholders are essential when handling the containers, which absorb heat from the food cooked inside. Also, when foods are covered for some steps to make cooking more even, remove the cover very carefully to prevent the hot steam from harming your hands or face.

Because a minimum of utensils are put towork, tidying up is less dreary.

Zapped Taco Salad

1 pound ground lean beef

1 medium-size onion, chopped

1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans, drained

1 can (15 oz.) stewed tomatoes

1 can (4 oz.) diced green chilies

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 medium-size head iceberg lettuce,washed, crisped, and shredded

2 medium-size firm-ripe tomatoes,cored and cut into wedges

1/2 pound (about 5 cups) corn chips

1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddarcheese

Crumble beef into a 9- by 13-inch nonmetalshallow dish; add the onion, and cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap. Cook in microwave oven on full power (100 percent) for 6 minutes; stir after 3 minutes (be careful of steam when lifting cover). Uncover and cook at full power until meat starts to brown lightly, about 13 minutes; stir every 3 minutes. Spoon out fat and discard.

Mix beans, tomatoes, chilies, and chilipowder with meat mixture. Cook at full power, lightly covered with a paper towel, until mixture is bubbling, about 10 minutes; stir every 2 to 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, divide lettuce evenly among 4dinner plates. Lay tomato wedges and corn chips around the lettuce, dividing equally. Spoon 1/4 of the hot meat mixture onto lettuce on each plate and top each with 1/4 of the cheese. Makes 4 servings.

Pea Pod and Turkey Pasta

1 package (6 oz.) frozen Chinesepea pods

8 to 10 ounces fresh pasta, such asfettuccine

1 can (14 1/2 oz.) regular-strengthchicken broth

1 cup whipping cream

2 cups 1/4- by 1-inch strips cookedturkey

2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Swisscheese

Set package of pea pods in a microwaveoven and cook on full power (100 percent) for 1 minute. Let stand 3 minutes; turn package over and cook on full power for 1 minute. Pour peas into a colander and let them drain.

Lay pasta level in a shallow 2- to 2 1/2-quartnonmetal casserole; pour broth and cream over pasta. Tightly cover casserole with plastic wrap. Cook in microwave oven on full power until pasta is tender to bite, about 9 minutes; stir every 3 minutes (be careful of steam when lifting plastic).

Mix in the turkey and cook, uncovered, onfull power for 2 minutes. Add cheese and pea pods and mix with 2 forks to blend. Cook on full power until cheese melts, about 1 minute. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Floppy Disks

To puff, the tortillas need to come from afreshly opened package.

4 flour tortillas (7 to 8 in. wide)

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1 medium-size onion, chopped

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced

1/2 pound mozzarella cheese,shredded

1 medium-size firm-ripe tomato,cored and thinly sliced

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Lay 1 tortilla on a nonmetal plate in amicrowave oven. Cook, uncovered, on full power (100 percent) until top of tortilla puffs, about 1 minute. Turn tortilla over and continue to cook until top puffs, about 1 minute more. Set aside; tortilla crisps more on cooling. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

In a shallow 9- by 13-inch nonmetal dish,combine butter, onion, and mushrooms.

Tightly cover with plastic wrap and cookin microwave oven on full power for 6 minutes; stir after 3 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook at full power, stirring every 3 to 4 minutes, until all the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, about 10 minutes.

Place each tortilla on a nonmetal plate.Spoon onion-mushroom mixture in equal amounts onto each tortilla, spreading almost to the rim with the spoon. Scatter cheese equally over vegetable topping and top equally with tomato. Sprinkle each "disk' with 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.

One at a time, put a plate with a tortilla inthe microwave oven and cook, uncovered, on full power until cheese melts, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes each. Makes 4 servings.

Chocolate-Peanut Brownie Cups

1/2 cup each all-purpose flour andsugar

3 tablespoons cocoa

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

6 tablespoons cream-style peanutbutter

2 tablespoons milk

1 large egg

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate bakingbits

1 cup miniature marshmallows

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa,and soda. Stir in peanut butter, milk, and egg, mixing until well blended. Stir in chocolate bits and marshmallows.

Divide mixture equally among 6 nonmetalcustard cups (3/4-cup size). Evently space cups in a circle in microwave oven. Cook desserts, uncovered, at full power (100 percent) for 1 1/2 minutes. Rotate cups, trading each with the one directly across from it; continue cooking on full power for 1 1/2 minutes more.

Let desserts stand in oven for 3 minutes tofinish cooking (centers will be soft). The cups will be hot; use potholders to remove from oven. Serve hot or warm; makes 6 servings.

Photo: Taco salad is a team effort, and the rewards are speedy. Steps to delegate: cutting tomatoes, slicing lettuce, shredding cheese, stirring beef

Photo: Use potholders when taking hot food from the microwave. Here, oven surfaces are not hot, but the chocolate-peanut brownie cups are

Photo: Two popular dishes: hot pasta with turkey and pea pods finds an appreciative audience (above); crisp tortilla (right) is base of nutritious snack
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Date:Jul 1, 1987
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