About four years ago I owned a huge microwave that took up way too much counter space. I used it a few times a week, but I really wanted that extra space. So I put the microwave away in a closet to see how long I could go without using it. After that day I dug it out of the closet only once; I took it to The Good Will. As with any change there was an adjustment period. There were times when I thought it would be easier or more convenient to just use the microwave. There were also times where I wasn’t sure how to do something without it or it delayed my cooking because I was used to softening butter in 5 seconds. I have adjusted to life without a microwave and am better for it because even though I don’t know all the science I do know foods just come out funky after being microwaved. I am skeptical about them, too, they must be putting some harmful rays into the universe.
I now live in an apartment with a built-in microwave and I did start using it from time to time because sometimes it is difficult to escape convenience. Many of the buttons have stopped working so everything has to be zapped on the “pizza” setting, but that’s good because I really don’t prefer using it anyway. The only reason I have a maintenance request in to my landlord to get it fixed is because of the recent time change. I can’t have a clock in my house with the incorrect time! Just the thought sends shivers down my spine (yes, I am a bit cuckoo)! Here are some ways to tackle kitchen tasks without the microwave:
-If you’re melting butter for baking, simply place the butter in an oven safe bowl in the oven while it is preheating.
-If you won’t be using your oven you can easily melt butter on the stove top in a small pot or sauté pan. Just watch it to make sure you don’t end up with browned butter, unless that’s the goal. Browned butter is quite delicious in many recipes! Another plus to melting butter on the stove top? You can invest in one of these tiny butter pots. They’re so cute!
-Again, if you’ll be using the stove, place the butter on top of (not inside) the warming stove and it’ll soften in a few minutes.
-If you have a longer span of time to soften butter, just leave it on the countertop (or inside the cupboard so the cats don’t eat it) for 30 minutes. This strategy works well for me. I do live in California which is a warmer climate, but it also worked when I lived in Seattle, Washington.
-Place the butter on the top of your refrigerator near the back. It gets fairly warm up there.
-Check out this video for more ways to soften butter, and make sure to watch all the way to the end for her unusual method.
-Stove top! Stop buying those awful “butter flavored” bags of popcorn that leave you feeling greasy and fat. Popcorn is actually nutritious and a great snack. Pop it on the stove following the package directions and flavor it in any way you want. Stove top popcorn requires more hands-on time, but the result is so worth the minimal effort.
-This is probably the toughest one because the microwave is just so convenient for quickly heating up lunch. BUT! This is a big but. Reheated foods come out as weird consistencies after being microwaved. Chicken and shrimp can become rubbery, bread becomes soft and difficult to chew, fried foods become limp and soggy.
-Fried foods, place them on a baking sheet in a 350 F oven for about 15 minutes, or until they are heated through.
-Chicken, shrimp, beef and other proteins. The oven is probably your best bet here. Place in a 350 F oven for 10-20 minutes and stir halfway through. If the shrimp or cut up chicken in mixed with pasta, heat it on the stove top in a saucepan, stirring occasionally.
-Bread. The oven is your best friend for bread! Whether it is leftover garlic bread or a loaf of French bread that’s a bit stale, the oven will help the inside warm up and soften while making the crust crisp and flaky.
Frozen boxed dinners and meals
-JUST STOP BUYING THOSE! Sorry for the caps, but those frozen meals are not good. Plus, if you absolutely must consume those things, there are instructions on the box for heating in the oven!
What else do you always use your microwave for, but would like a different method?