Ok let’s face it, even though it may be the most convenient invention for the 21st century trucker, the microwave isn’t the the best way to cook or reheat food. Besides the fact microwaves emit dangerous energy waves, they can leave food tasting less-than-ideal with the consistency and nutrient content of rubber.
However, there are some cases that zapping your food can make it healthier. According to some studies, microwaving vegetables preserve certain nutrients better than boiling, since fewer vitamins get lost in the water.
When you’re on the road, in a time bind or without a stove, follow these tips to keep your microwaved food healthy and tasting the way you want it:
Know what shouldn’t be heated in your microwave. Materials such as Styrofoam, aluminum foil, or cold-storage containers like those for margarine or yours can leash harmful chemicals in your food. Put it in a glass or ceramic dish instead.
Use a shallow dish. Microwave heat only penetrates about 1.5 inches into food at most. Leftovers in a shallow dish will reheat more evenly than food packaged into tall and narrow container. Be sure to stir halfway to bring the cold parts of your dish to the outside/top.
Steam your veggies in a couple inches of water inside a vegetable filled glass dish. The higher the water content of vegetables such as zucchini, cauliflower, eggplant or pepper, the less water you will need in the dish. Make sure to cover the dish with a lid to keep vegetables moist and so they cook evenly as well.
Zap meats on low level which allows heat to reach the center of the food without overcooking the outside. This goes for any food that toughens on high heat such as eggs and cheese. So when you pop your food in the microwave, instead of hitting start, choose “power level” and hit 4 or 5.
Avoid rubbery pizza by placing a paper towel or parchment paper under the slice to absorb the extra moisture. Although it probably won’t taste fresh from the oven, at least this will ensure your slice isn’t dripping with grease.
Add water to spaghetti sauce. Add two tablespoons of water to spaghetti sauce and mix with cold noodles before heating. This replaces moisture that would otherwise get lost in the heating process and help steam the pasta.
Add marinades to dry food. If you’re reheating anything dry, like meats or grains, add a splash of flavorful liquid such as chicken broth, citrus juice, or wine – whatever compliments the dish -to keep it moist and flavorful for your enjoyment.
Defrost as a last resort. It’s better to defrost meals in the fridge over time, usually a few hours at least depending on the food. But in a pinch, you can pop frozen chicken or steak in the microwave and use the defrost button. Make sure to flip it over ever minute so it cooks evenly.