14 Great Dishes You Can Make in the Microwave
There's nothing like a fresh family meal slow cooked on a Sunday afternoon, but most of us don't have time to slave over the stove during the workweek. Even when you don't have hours to spend in the kitchen, however, you can still whip up tasty, healthy dishes without all the mess and hassle — right in your microwave. I'm not talking about plastic-wrapped TV dinners either. The 14 recipes I've curated below use fresh ingredients to help you make delicious meals in a snap. There's dessert too, of course; can't forget about that. (See also: Top 5 Microwaves)
1. Artichoke Lemon Risotto
Classic risotto can take an hour or more to make on the stovetop, but this microwave version gets the job done in 20 minutes or so. Chicken broth helps tenderize the rice before you stir in meaty artichoke and zesty lemon for a little zing. Salt and pepper to taste.
2. Sweet Potatoes With Warm Black Bean Salad
I've “baked” regular potatoes in the microwave, so it only makes sense that you can zap sweet potatoes as well if you're trying to kick your dinner up a notch. Once you've cooked the sweet potatoes on high for 12 to 15 minutes, you'll microwave a mixture of canned black beans, tomatoes, and spices (like cumin and coriander) that you'll top the spuds with, along with sour cream and fresh cilantro. (See also: Thanksgiving Sweet Potatoes From “Little Old Lady Recipes”)
3. Chilled Corn and Red Pepper Soup
There's no canned mush in this recipe for chilled corn and red pepper soup. Instead, you'll microwave all the healthy, fresh veggies until they're tender, add the corn, and then puree in a blender. Once you've strained the liquid to remove the remaining pepper skin, mix in plain nonfat yogurt, and season to taste. (See also: Delicious Soup From Leftovers)
4. Mac and Cheese With Wilted Spinach
There's really no substitute for a creamy four-cheese mac-and-cheese made with your grandmother's love, but this recipe for macaroni and cheese with wilted spinach isn't half bad when you're rushed for time. A spreadable cheddar cheese gives this recipe its oohey-gooey component, while fresh spinach adds in a few much-needed nutrients.
5. One-Step Chili
If the guys are coming over for the game and you want to serve up something that shows off your skills in the kitchen — even when you don't have many — this one-step chili recipe is a touchdown. It's super simple, too. Just combine all the ingredients in a microwave-safe casserole dish and set to high for 5 minutes, break up the meat, and then cook for an additional 20 minutes. Hardly any room to fumble up this one.
6. Mexican Casserole
Have some of that one-step chili left over? Turn it into a brand new dish with this recipe for a Mexican casserole. Just add a small can of corn, stir in some shredded cheese, and top with crispy tortilla chips. (See also: 10 Freeze-Ahead Casserole Recipes)
7. Cod With Fennel and Orange
Microwaving fish is a notorious no-no at the office, but you can have at it all you want at home. You might even be surprised at how delicious this dish of cod with fennel and orange is once you start devouring it. All the ingredients go in a microwave bag to steam the fish and marry the flavors, and it's ready in 7 minutes.
8. Quick Breakfast Tostada
Breakfast is great for dinner on those nights when you just want to dig into something quick, easy, and delicious, which makes this hearty recipe for a quick breakfast tostada a winner. Eggs, beans, cheese, and chicken give this simple tortilla stack bulk, while a dollop of salsa and sour cream heat it up and cool it down, respectively. (See also: 20+ Breakfast-for-Dinner Meals)
9. Mediterranean Chicken Couscous
You won't need to dirty any pots and pans for this exotic couscous dish packed with protein from pre-cooked chicken. Cook the couscous in a microwave-safe dish with chicken broth for 3-5 minutes or until it starts to boil. Remove the bowl, cover it, and let stand for another 5 minutes. After fluffing the couscous, add in the chicken, chopped fresh basil, feta cheese, grape tomato halves, and a squeeze of lemon juice. (See also: 10+ Chicken Leg and Thigh Recipes From Around the World)
10. Ravioli With Ripe Tomatoes
Fresh ravioli isn't ideal for this recipe, but you can easily find microwavable (or better yet, frozen ravioli) at your local supermarket. Once you've cooked it to perfection in the microwave, top it with a fresh mixture of tomatoes, basil, olive oil, lemon zest, and salt and pepper. Top it off with freshly grated Parmesan for an extra-special gourmet touch. (See also: 10 Foods Worth Splurging On)
11. Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca
Don't let the word "spaghetti" fool you; there's actually no pasta in this dish, but rather healthy veggies disguised as such. After microwaving the spaghetti squash on high for 5 to 6 minutes per pound and separating the cooked strands, you'll round out the dish with tuna, tomatoes, capers, fresh basil, and Parmesan cheese for garnish.
12. Banana Chocolate Mousse Cake
I love that I get to give my friend Brooke McLay over at Cheeky Kitchen credit for this microwavable dessert that features lots of OMG! ingredients like ripe bananas, almond butter, and cocoa. And that's just the beginning. The indulgent-but-still-healthy topping stars maple syrup, coconut oil, more bourbon vanilla, and fresh blackberries or raspberries. Hard to believe that it's ready to eat in about 5 minutes — or that's it's gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free, making it just right for just about everybody you're serving. (See also: 15 Super-Quick Homemade Desserts)
13. Cherries With Ricotta and Toasted Almonds
This recipe for cherries with ricotta and toasted almonds couldn't be simpler. Microwave ¾ cup of frozen pitted cherries on high for 1 to 2 minutes or until warm, top ricotta and almonds, and you've got a restaurant-quality dessert in a flash.
14. Apple Crisp
Apple crisp is a dish that makes you feel so good inside, but it can be very labor intensive to make from scratch in the oven. Not this version. All you have to do arrange sliced apples in a microwave safe dish; sprinkle with a mixture of oats, sugar, spices, and butter; and zap on high for 7 to 10 minutes. It'll be like serving a hug in a bowl in no time flat.
Do you have more delicious microwave dishes you'd like to share? Let me know in the comments below.