Showing posts with label Microwave Cooking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Microwave Cooking. Show all posts

How to Make Kale Tea Recipe and Health, Digestion Warnings

Latest update: February 14, 2023. Page URL indicates original publication date; meanwhile, times change and the updates continue.

All about the amazing wonder food, kale. Includes nutrition information, salad and dinner cooking recipe information, and the recipe for kale tea.

Typical kale leaves at the grocery store for making and drinking kale tea

This page is about kale; including nutrition and diet information (especially concerning lutein, zeaxanthin, AMD) and an extremely easy recipe for kale tea. If you are here just for the kale tea recipe, simply scroll to the green tea cup marker at around the middle of the page. Do peruse the digestion and health notes.

What Is Kale and Availability – The Basics

Kale is a dark, green, leafy vegetable from the cabbage family; other examples being cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, etc. However kale can also be regarded as a lettuce for the purposes of most salad recipes.

Kale is one of the foods which is often included in what might be called the super food or wonder food category. The nutritional content and the benefits derived therefrom makes this a food one wants as part of their regular diet.

In addition to it's nutritional value, there is growing evidence kale actually inhibits and can even fight some diseases; most notable of these being macular degeneration, cataracts, and some forms of cancer.

Store Availability and Forms

Any competent grocery store will have it. You can buy kale fresh and whole in the produce section. Or, if your store is doing their job right, you can buy it already in pieces, shredded, sliced, diced, minced, etc.

For a food so rich in nutritional value and benefits, the price is amazingly low. If the price isn't low, find another store.

Kale Benefits and Nutrition Data

Percentages and amounts (in milligrams) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet and 3.3 oz. kale servings. "~" is the mathematical symbol used to identify a number as an approximation.
  • Lutein and Zeaxanthin: ~600%. These are the two nutrients that have made kale famous. The body of evidence continues to mount that lutein and zeaxanthin actually inhibits and/or wards off macular degeneration. There is even some evidence lutein and zeaxanthin can reverse macular degeneration to some extent. Kale is the number one food source for lutein. Spinach is usually recognized as coming in second. You can buy lutein in pill form, but the FDA states they have not confirmed the quantity or quality of lutein in these products. The generally accepted daily dosage for lutein is 6 mg. The average American diet falls woefully short of this amount. A 3.3 oz. serving of kale has ~37 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin.
  • Beta Carotene: ~7 mg. An antioxidant, precursor that converts to vitamin A. Antioxidants are generally believed to help prevent certain kinds of cancer. Vitamin C helps the body deal with stress.
  • Potassium: 420 mg. 12%
  • Calcium: 15%
  • Iron: 8%
  • Vitamin K: 950%
  • Vitamin A: 290%
  • Vitamin C: 190%
  • Thiamine (Vitamin B1): 6%
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 8%
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3): 4%
  • Vitamin B6: 15%
  • Folate aka Folic Acid (Vitamin B9): 6%
  • Phosphorus: 6%
  • Magnesium: 8%
  • Copper: 15%
  • Manganese: 35%

Kale Recipe Basics

Kale requires a little more chewing effort than the other cabbage-category items or lettuce. It also has a tendency to make a person feel full sooner than usual. One might want to adjust portions accordingly, particularly as to salads.

Salad Recipes

Kale Salad Recipes

By the simple process of adding kale to the other ingredients, pretty much any salad recipe is also a kale recipe. The only decision is how much kale to include. The more kale included, the more the kale taste and other effects are emphasized. Only you can decide how much is enough and how much is too much.

Vegetable, Stews Casseroles, Chili Recipes

Kale Hot Meal Recipes

A Surprising Note About Cooked Kale

Cooking kale almost doubles the amount of lutein metabolized. This has to do with the heating process unlocking certain components of the kale molecular structure, releasing lutein which would otherwise not be available for the digestive system. It should be mentioned that cooking/boiling/heating usually degrades the nutritional value of most food. The kale-lutein molecular structure is unusual in this respect.

Virtually all casserole, stew, hot vegetable, and chili recipes can include the addition of kale. However, with these dishes, the determining factor is how much kale do you wish to include with the existing recipe ingredients.

If the objective is one of nutrition only, then one would add only so much kale. If, however, the objective is creating a true kale casserole or true kale hot vegetable dish or stew, or chili concoction; then you would add enough to result in making kale the predominant taste. It is a matter of degree only you can decide.

In whatever case, this is where the sliced/diced/minced/max-shredded form is used. Stems and full leaves are not recommended.

The Easy Kale Tea Recipe
and a Digestion Note and Health Warning

Kale Tea Recipe

Do you want the nutrition, but don't want to deal with the recipes and cooking? Many people just drink kale tea.

Kale tea is not difficult to make, though do note the health and digestion warnings that follow.
  1. Put 2, 3 or 4 medium-to-large pieces of kale in a microwaveable cup, depending on cup size. If you are a first-timer, probably best to start with just two pieces.
  2. Fill to three-fourths full of water; push the pieces under water if need be.
  3. Microwave for 4:44 minutes:seconds (your microwave results may vary). In fact, keep an eye on it; it may over-boil; also, the kale may expand and need to be tamped back down during the process.
  4. Be careful when removing from microwave. The cup will be hot, including the handle.
  5. Tamp down again.
  6. Optionally add water as needed.
  7. Stir it. Let cool. Stir again.
  8. Remove the  pieces of kale.
  9. You have your kale tea. And it's perfectly fine to drink any remaining, tiny pieces which may happen to be floating around; after all, it's kale.
Once you are a pro, you will probably do the following...
  1. Stuff the bottom third of a microwaveable cup full of kale.
  2. Fill to three-fourths full of water; push the leaves under the water if need be.
  3. Microwave for 4:44 minutes:seconds (your microwave results may vary).
  4. Maybe add some water.
  5. Stir it. Let cool. Stir again.
  6. Doesn't bother to remove any of the kale.
  7. Drinks all the liquid.
  8. Empties cup of the remaining kale into trash or refills cup a little over half-full of water, microwaves for another 3:33 minutes:seconds, drinks second cup of weaker tea.
Boiling water. And of course, there is certainly nothing wrong with...
  1. Boiling the water on the stove.
  2. Pouring the water into your prepared cup.
  3. Letting the leaves sit awhile and stir.
  4. Etc.

Kale Health and Digestion Notes

Keeping in mind the high concentrations of nutrients, don't go overboard. Drink no more than one cup the first time or so. See how your digestion handles it. Do it when you plan on being home for the next few hours.

This is also a good time to mention that too much vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and certain other vitamins and minerals on a regular basis, can actually be deleterious to one's health. On the other hand, even just one ounce of kale is a lot of kale; so you don't have that much to worry about. One full ounce of kale is about a third of the above specified nutritional percentages. Just keep in mind what other foods and liquids you are regularly consuming.

What with kale tea being so packed with vitamins and minerals, it can be used to occasionally replace a meal in weight loss programs. Kale tea is also an effective appetite suppressant. For that matter, it would be perfect for use in the infamous Military Diet.

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Exploding Baked Potato in Microwave or Oven - How to Pierce / Prevent / Cook

Latest update: April 7, 2023. Page URL indicates original publication date; meanwhile, times change and the updates continue.

Yes, Potatoes Really Do Explode. How to Safely Cook a Potato and Prevent from Exploding in Oven or Microwave. Stabbing and Poking Holes in Them Is Not the Safest nor the Best Way.

Do Potatoes Explode? Yes They Do.

Here's about preventing potato explosions when baking or cooking potatoes in the oven or microwave, and the method actually makes things much safer and more convenient.  Also includes microwaving times and recipe toppings suggestions.

How to microwave or otherwise cook non exploding baked potatoes.

Why Do Potatoes Explode?

Whether by oven or microwave, the potato is heated above the boiling point of water. The volume ratio of water to steam is approximately 1:1700. So when the potato is heated, an unpleasant surprise can sometimes happen. If you are lucky, the explosion occurs in the oven or microwave during cooking; thus only making a ruined potato and a major mess. If you are unlucky, the thing explodes as you are removing it.

How to Prevent Exploding Potatoes

Basically one must vent the potato, purpose being to give the steam escape routes so there is no pressure buildup.

Piercing / Pricking / Slicing a Potato

The method most folks use leaves a lot to be desired. They hold the potato steady with one hand while repeatedly poking and stabbing it with the other hand using a knife, fork, or ice pick. The statistics are not known as to how many people cut or stab themselves every year using this method. The potato then makes the round trip to the oven or microwave, after which they put on an oven mitt and cut the steaming thing in half lengthwise. There's a much better way...

The Safe and Better Way on How to Prepare Your Potato for the Microwave or Oven

  1. Wash the potato with water.
  2. Then dry with paper towels or whatever.
  3. Slice the potato in half lengthwise.
  4. Place both halves flat side down on a microwave-usable dish. If using paper plates, use more than one; otherwise, the plate(s) might break through from the moisture when removing from the microwave.
  5. Slicing the potato in half obviously reduces the explosion risk, but putting a couple more holes in each half won't hurt. What with the potato halves laying flat side down, your potato situation is now much more stable. However you probably still want to steady the potato and keep it from sliding when you poke the holes in it.
  6. When poking the holes, have the sharp side of the knife facing away from your other hand. Instead of stabbing, just gently push the knife tip through the potato.
  7. Then while still holding the potato, slowly pull/wiggle the knife out at an angle away from the other hand. Two equally spaced holes in each half should do it.
  8. Your spud is now oven and microwave ready.

How Long? Potato Microwave Times, etc.

  1. With the potato halves still flat side down on your plate, put in microwave. Microwave for 5 minutes.
  2. Rotate a quarter turn. Microwave for 3 more minutes.
The above microwaving times are for two halves of a baker potato in a 900-watt oven. Microwaving times can vary depending on the wattage and age of the oven. If you are using a 700 or 1100 watt oven, adjust microwaving time accordingly. If you are putting four halves in there, lengthen the microwaving time accordingly.

It is possible to over-microwave a potato, thus making it rubbery; so, underestimating is always your best course of action. If it's not perfect on your first attempt, you'll have a pretty good idea of how to make it so on your second. And if you discover when cutting the potatoes that they are not completely cooked, not a big deal; back in the microwave they go for another minute or so.

Microwaving Canned Potatoes

Microwaving those little potatoes that come in a can? Those little critters always explode and splatter, even when you cut them up beforehand. Always put a cover over them before microwaving the specified 2 to 2-1/2 minutes. Otherwise you will very likely have a mess to cleanup.

Potato Recipes – Things to Add to Your Potato

A baked potato worthy of the name.
A baked potato worthy of the name.

Keeping in mind the potatoes are hot and depending on how long you want to wait, flip the potatoes flat side up. Make both horizontal and vertical slices in the potatoes so that the condiments and/or toppings will run into the gaps and crevices.

List of Potato Toppings Making It All Worthwhile...

The Basics

  • Regular Salt
  • Garlic Salt
  • Pepper 
  • Butter
  • Sour Cream
  • Chives
  • Bacon Bits
  • Cheese 
  • Sliced/Diced Olives
  • Sliced/Diced Green Onions 

Other Toppings Folks Have Been Known to Add

  • Chili
  • Other Onion Varieties
  • Gravy
  • Avocados
  • Favorite Meats
  • Favorite Vegetables
  • Favorite Spices
  • Favorite Herbs
  • Favorite Seasonings
  • Favorite Sauces
  • Favorite Dressings
  • Pretty much their favorite anything.
When your masterpiece is complete, there is certainly nothing wrong with putting it back in the microwave for another 30 seconds as needed.

May all your potato masterpieces be awesome.

Meanwhile, here's a page about the possible and sometimes real dangers of Green Potatoes.

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How to Microwave Cook Hamburger, Scrambled Eggs or Omelets, Rice - For Beginners

Latest update: June 4, 2022. Page URL indicates original publication date; meanwhile, times change and the updates continue.

Cooking Survival and Enhancements for Beginner Cooks

Here is a compilation of the most-needed microwave recipes, plus other basic recipe ideas for beginner cooks.

For folks who don't have a functioning stove or don't want to bother with all the extra mess caused by using one. Also for folks who want to get away from those TV dinner diets. I remember my dietary habits from when I was in my 20's, 30's, and even my 40's. I guess one could say this page is for everyone; not just for students, singles, divorced, etc.

Yes, you really can microwave raw hamburger, uncooked rice, and raw eggs. Not only are they all absolutely delicious; microwaving makes a lot less mess than doing it the usual stove way.

List and Table of Contents

  1. How to Microwave Raw Hamburger (and turn it into chili if so desired)
  2. How to Microwave Uncooked Rice
  3. How to Microwave Raw Eggs into Scrambled Eggs and Omelets
  4. Making Macaroni and Cheese TV Dinners Much Better
  5. Special Section for Beginner Cooks and a Whole Bunch of Awesome Meals
  6. How to Microwave Potatoes Without Exploding (separate page/tab)

How to Cook in Microwave Raw Beef or Bison Hamburger

Alternate title: Can You Cook Raw Hamburger in the Microwave? Yes, You Can.
Alternate title: How to Safely Cook Raw Hamburger in the Microwave

Yes, it can be done. Whether it be beef or bison, here is how to microwave raw hamburger so it is safe, delicious, and even looks good.

Surprisingly, microwaving raw hamburger turned out to be incredibly easy. Simply remove all the wrappings from a pound of it; put it in microwavable dish and cover it to prevent splatter; for a rotating microwave oven: microwave for 5 minutes, let rest for a minute, microwave for another 5 minutes, you are done; for microwave oven that is non-rotating: microwave for 3 minutes, rotate quarter turn, repeat, repeat, repeat, you are done. Caveat: don't drain the grease into the sink, use a throwaway bottle and cap.

Stores also sell frozen, raw hamburger paddies. Use a paper plate with a folded paper towel on top of plate; put hamburger patty on top of that; then cover with another paper place to avoid splatter. Simply microwave defrost a paddy for 3:33 minutes:seconds, then microwave cook for 2:30 minutes:seconds. The paddy shrinks somewhat, but is delicious. These time lengths are for a 900-watt, rotating oven.

For a More Involved Method...

Basically, you "boil" the hamburger in Lipton or store brand onion soup. Actually, the water isn't even brought to boiling, but it's plenty hot enough to do a thorough job; not to mention the fact the hamburger itself is being directly microwaved along with the soup.

You will need...

  • 1 packet of Lipton Onion soup mix. Store brand is also fine.
  • 3/4 to 1 pound of beef or bison hamburger, 80% lean seems to be best.
  • A microwavable bowl that can handle the equivalent of 4 cups of water.
  • Gloves, rags, or whatever to remove the hot bowl from the microwave oven.
  • Knife, fork, table spoon. A spatula is optional, but is a nice extra.
  • Paper plates are also optional, but they make things a lot more convenient and make for a lot less clean up afterwards.
  • Whatever you intend to add to the hamburger after cooking.

Let us begin...

  1. Empty one packet of onion soup mix into a large bowl or casserole dish.
  2. Add 2 cups water. That's right, 2 cups; not the four cups the packet says. You are not going to be drinking the soup.
  3. Stir it and microwave for 5 to 6 minutes.
  4. While the soup is microwaving... Flatten out the hamburger on a paper plate (or whatever) so that you have one large, somewhat thin super patty. Slice up the hamburger patty into approximately 1-inch squares or other bite-sized pieces if you are going to eat the hamburger straight or put into a couple sandwiches; if you are going to mix the cooked hamburger with a 15-oz can of blackeyed peas, pinto beans, or whatever; then slice and dice the patty into much smaller pieces.
  5. The soup should be done by now. Remove the hot soup bowl from the microwave. Stir it until soup is thoroughly mixed. Carefully empty the hamburger pieces from the plate into the soup bowl. Stir it up so the hamburger pieces are not sticking together. Back into the microwave.
  6. Microwave 5 minutes.
  7. Stir it so the meat is again separated and moved around. You don't have to remove the bowl or casserole dish from the microwave to do this.
  8. Microwave another 4 minutes.
  9. Your masterpiece is done. Carefully remove from microwave.

Now what...

  1. If you did the large pieces, cut one in half. If you see raw pink, then back into the microwave it goes, etc. Beware overcooking. Otherwise...

Options for retrieving the meat...

* See cautionary note at end about the drained soup. *
  • A spatula is great for scooping out all the meat onto a plate, or into a larger bowl/pot for adding in the beans or whatever. For the large pieces this is the best method. Can also be done using a fork and spoon, just takes longer. For the large pieces, enjoy your meal.
  • The other option is to drain the soup from the meat. This is usually the best option when dealing with a bowl full of small meat pieces. If the bowl is conveniently shaped, drain it from the bowl. If the bowl is inconveniently shaped, transfer the entire contents into a much larger, more convenient pot or bowl (where you will put in the other food after draining anyway) and then drain it. Do read the cautionary note before draining.
  • If so desired; mix in your other foods, e.g., pinto or kidney beans, Beefaroni or other precooked macaroni, favorite vegetable, etc. Maybe some tomato sauce, garlic salt, half a spice packet.
  • Thoroughly stir and mix.
  • Spoon out a meal's worth.
  • Reheat, enjoy.
  • Freeze or refrigerate the rest.
Cautionary note. That leftover soup now has more fat and grease than you can shake a plumber's bill at.  Pouring it down the sink drain is a very bad idea. You can...
  • Pour it into a throwaway jar with a cap.
  • Gradually poor it into a full bag of trash that happens to have all sorts of paper products to soak it up. Can be risky, could end up with a real mess if not careful.

More About Beef or Bison Hamburger Patties...

Yep, the above method works equally well for hamburger patties. Just rotate the meat a quarter turn at least once during the microwaving and remember to do the cut-in-half test afterwards to be sure the meat is thoroughly cooked.

This convenient microwave recipe has served me well for years. And it certainly makes a lot less mess than the usual stove top method. May all your hamburger adventures be good ones.

How to Cook in Microwave Uncooked Rice – And What Causes and How to Prevent Crunchy Rice

Side note. When it comes to microwaving hamburger, eggs, or rice; rice is the only one that is finicky and can be a pain in the neck. Frankly I just buy a chicken ala king TV dinner; microwave for 5 minutes; add canned, precooked chicken and vegetables to it; microwave for 2 more minutes; add garlic salt and stir; done.

Interesting how there are no microwaving instructions on rice packages. This is probably because microwave ovens are indeed not all the same. As such I must advise that the following instructions worked perfectly for me (900 watt microwave), but your results may vary. The following recipe is for two servings or one large serving, depending on who you ask.

How to Microwave Uncooked Rice


  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1 pat of butter
  • 1-and-3/8's cups of water
  • Optionally sprinkle some salt in it
Stir a little bit as needed until floating rice is submerged.


  1. Microwave for 10 minutes.
  2. Let the microwave rest for a minute.
  3. Then use the defrost mode for 7 minutes. The intermittency of the defrost mode is one of the things that prevents the rice from becoming crunchy. 
  4. Move some rice aside to see if there is still any water at the bottom of the bowl. If just a little, stir the rice for a minute to absorb it. If a lot, stir it all up and do another 1 or 2 minutes defrost mode.
  5. When finished, optionally add 2 or 3 pats butter and stir until nicely melted and mixed.

What Causes and How to Prevent Crunchy Rice

There are three things that can cause crunchy rice. It can be caused by both overcooking and under cooking.  And it can be caused by too little water.

When I began my quest to create the perfect recipe for microwaving rice, I began with the usual 2:1 water to rice ratio. In this case, one cup water and a half-cup rice. As for the cooking; I did 10 minutes at full power, a minute's rest, and then followed by 10 minutes defrost mode. This first attempt ended up with some of the rice being crunchy.

So for my succeeding attempts, I gradually increased the water and varied the cooking methodology and times. I eventually ended up with the recipe described in the previous section. It was delicious and crunch free.

If this recipe doesn't work perfectly with your microwave, it should hopefully get you close enough so you will know what to adjust for next time.

Food to Add to Rice

Taste-test the rice for non-crunchiness  before investing other foods in it.

As for things to add to the rice after the rice has been cooked, they are just like what you would add to hamburger. In other words, almost anything you like:
  • Pretty much any pre-cooked meat.
  • Pretty much any beans
  • Pretty much any vegetable
  • Sliced olives
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Garlic salt
  • Spice packets may not be a good idea
I'd recommend going sparse to moderate on any and all additions the first time around, especially the garlic salt and/or spices.

If you want to keep it quick and simple; some pats of butter and a couple of already microwaved, sliced-up hot dogs mixed in isn't bad at all. Stir until butter is melted and mixed, Can reheat for 30 seconds if needed. May all your rice recipes be awesome!

How to Cook in Microwave Raw Eggs – Zero Mess Scrambled Eggs and Omelets

This method does indeed make scrambled eggs so much easier... This recipe has served me well for years.

Alternate title: How to Make and Cook Real Scrambled Eggs and Omelets in Microwave Without the Mess – Yes, a microwave oven is used, but that's just the start.

This is a nice, pretty, USDA stock photo. You can do that. Or you can
throw in cheese, precooked meat, and whatever else you think you might like.
Needless to say, the serving portion will be considerably larger.

Let's face it. When it comes to stove cooking and eating scrambled eggs and omelets, it creates a royal mess to clean up afterwards. But omelets and even just plain scrambled eggs are so delicious... This recipe completely gets rid of the mess problem. Perfect for singles, college students in dorms, etc.

1. Paper Plates

Place a paper plate face-up on top of a microwavable bowl. Push the paper plate into the bowl so that it conforms to the shape of the bowl. When doing so you will notice the paper plate forms vertical crimps along the edges of the plate. This is a good thing. Go ahead and pinch and push those crimps flat against the side of the bowl and pushing the plate into the bowl until you have a nice, proper, stable fit. If plate isn't perfectly flat against the bowl, that's OK. The weight of the eggs will finish the job.

2. Butter and Eggs

 Place a small pat of butter on the paper plate. Microwave for 30 seconds. Smear the butter all around. This will keep the scrambled eggs from sticking to the paper plate. Crack open two or three eggs against the side of the sink and empty the contents into the paper plate which is in the bowl.

3. Scramble It

Slowly mash and stir the eggs with a fork until it is a a nice, mostly even mixture. The reason to do slowly is to avoid spilling and splattering. Takes less than a minute.

4. Add Other Ingredients to Make the Scrambled Eggs into an Omelet

Here's the optional, fun part. This is where you add and mix in your other favorite foods to it. The primary favorite is bits and pieces of as much cheese as you want; stir it all together. The second usual favorite is meat that has already been cooked; bits and pieces lunch meat, a cut-up hot dog, etc. Other things you can add to scrambled eggs include:
  • Pieces of cooked ham
  • Cut-up cooked sausage
  • Crumbled up bacon or bacon bits.
  • Crumbled up cooked hamburger
  • Bits and pieces of cooked chicken
  • Most varieties of cheese
  • Onion and green onion bits
  • Salt or garlic salt
  • Mushrooms
  • Sliced olives
  • Green peppers
  • Pieces of Tomato
  • Parsley
  • Various diced vegetables are not unheard of
  • Pretty much any other food you think you would like

5. Microwave It

Microwave for 2 minutes.
  • The perimeter will be cooked, the center will still be liquid (700 -watt microwave oven).
  • The entire top will be cooked, underneath will probably be liquid (900-watt microwave oven).
Take it out and stir it up. Rotate a quarter turn. Depending on how many eggs you used, microwave an additional 30 seconds to 1 to 2 minutes. If you like the way it looks, you're done. If there is still too much liquid to your liking, stir it up again and microwave a little more.

* Enjoy Your Meal

 Leave the paper plate in the bowl and enjoy your meal.

* 30-Second Cleanup

Remove and throw out the paper plate. There will be some moisture in the bottom of the bowl. Wipe dry with paper towel or Kleenex. Return bowl to it's for-scrambled-eggs-only spot in the cupboard. No pots, pans, skillets, bowls, or dishes to clean up.

How to Make Microwave Macaroni and Cheese TV Dinners Taste Better

Basically, add a whole bunch more real cheese and other stuff. It is easy to do. Here's how to do it so you don't burn it. And incidentally, by adding real cheese one actually gives the meal some nutritional value.

The Better Microwave Macaroni and Cheese Meal

Macaroni-and-cheese TV dinners and similar ilk are one of the better frozen food concoctions the frozen food industry has come up with. However, it is still the usual, bland TV dinner. But it makes an excellent starting point for creating your own macaroni and cheese masterpiece. No boiling the macaroni and trying to get it just right. No dealing with the other ingredients. Instead, you use the basic frozen TV dinner as the starting point, and then you make it better.

Microwave Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Microwave the Stouffer's or other brand TV dinner for two minutes less than what the instructions say. After microwaving, remove the cover or plastic film.

Now here is the how to make microwave macaroni and cheese better part... When you bought the macaroni and cheese TV dinner, you also went to the store's deli section and got yourself  some mild or medium cheddar cheese; avoid the fake-sliced-cheese section; you want the real-cheese blocks. Cut off however many small pieces you want and put them on top of the TV dinner, the smaller the pieces the better and by all means add lots of them.

It is not necessary to replace the plastic film back on top of the TV dinner. Microwave it for the additional two minutes. Cheese should be completely melted. Stir it all together. If the cheddar cheese still isn't thoroughly melted and mixed, maybe give it another 40 seconds in the microwave; stir some more as needed. You now have a much better macaroni and cheese dinner that will taste as good as any made from scratch.

A side note: As to the remaining three-quarters of cheddar cheese you didn't use, re-wrap in original wrapper and then thoroughly wrap and fold in one of the store's plastic bags. The cheese will stay fresh in the refrigerator for quite some time. Good for lots more meals.

And as to the meal you just made... If you added enough cheese to it, you probably changed it into two meals. Totally fine; empty into a plate if need be.. When done eating, return the remainder to the tray and put back into the box, wrap and fold with another store plastic bag. Should be good in the refrigerator for three days or so.

Regarding the Microwave Macaroni and Cheese Cup Meals...

Simply prepare as one usually does. Then gradually add and stir in as many small chunks of cheddar cheese as desired. It will all mix and blend in quite nicely. Maybe a 30-second additional microwaving may be required. Maybe not.

And that's all there is to it. May all your macaroni and cheese masterpieces be awesome and nutritious.

But wait! There's more!

Did Someone Say Hot Dogs...?

Put two wieners on a paper towel placed over a paper plate; fold paper towel over top of wieners to reduce greasy film from covering the interior of the microwave oven.

Place, flattened out, one of the store plastic bags on the counter.

Put the paper towel covered hot dogs in the microwave oven. If you like them mutated (many folks, including me, do), microwave them for 2 minutes and 20 seconds. If you are a non-mutated person, then probably an even 2 minutes is best. Times vary, depending on the microwave oven. But these times are probably a good starting point.

When removing from microwave oven, place the plate on top of the grocery store plastic bag that you had laid flat on the counter.

Let them cool for a minute. Then cut each one lengthwise. Then, holding all 4 lengths together, side-by-side, cut them up into pieces.

For greater efficiency, cook the hot dogs first. Then you can be doing the slicing and dicing while the TV dinner is cooking.

Once the TV dinner is cooked and the extra cheese is all melted and mixed, add the sliced up hot dogs and stir it all together. You definitely now have the two full meals. Not only that, it no longer fits in the TV tray. So, somewhere during all this, you've transferred the whole thing to a separate plate. If you are a true single, it is now sitting on a 3-thick paper plate on top of a regular plate.

Throw out the hot dog paper plate and the plastic bag that you had put them on. Because of the plastic bag, the counter won't have to be cleaned.

At this point, you may want to microwave it another minute, with or without the regular plate underneath the paper plates, depending on its microwaveability.

When done eating what you want, put a fourth paper plate upside-down on top, and then do the plastic bag wrap and refrigerator thing. When you get around to that second meal, it will taste as good as the first.

About Buying Hot Dogs

Get the ones that say "no by-products" on the label and are not mechanically separated. Yes, they are more expensive; but it is still the wise thing to do.

A Primer for Beginner Cooks - About Other, Quick, Easy, and Much More Healthy Meals

Skip the TV dinner section. Instead go to the beans, vegetables, and international foods section; the international foods section usually has all the precooked, canned meats.

Then simply mix:

  • One can of favorite, sliced/diced vegetables,
  • One can of favorite, sliced/diced meat,
  • Stir.
  • One can of favorite beans,
  • Thoroughly stir.

Important Side Notes

  • Drain, refill can with water, and drain a second time all canned, precooked fish before using. Not necessary to drain other items more than once. Drain the ham. Don't drain canned beef, chicken, stews; that's gravy.
  • Drain lima beans always. Partially drain pinto and some other beans when the top third of the can is nothing but water.
  • Drain peas, string beans, and corn, possibly some other vegetables; not spinach.
  • Drain canned mushrooms and olives.
  • Do not drain canned potatoes, the liquid is needed for the microwaving. Drain afterwards, before adding the pats of butter and/or sour cream.
This list is not complete, I'll add to it as I remember. Your own experience and judgement will take over fairly quickly anyway.

All of the above canned goods are already precooked. Don't forget the caveat of using a microwaveable bowl or casserole dish. Cover, otherwise the microwave will probably become a mess.

Cook in microwave for around four to five minutes, depending on amount of food and microwave oven wattage. Maybe add garlic salt (just a little), and any other spices you might like (a similarly small amount). Again thoroughly stir.

You now have two, three, or even four perfectly healthy and delicious meals. Unused, covered portion will last just fine for three or four days in the refrigerator. If you happen to have gone overboard on the amount of ingredients, the freezer will save the day.

The whole process is incredibly quick and easy. And so much more healthy. And there is very large variety: a dozen different beans to try; a dozen different vegetables to try; a dozen different meats to try. That calculates out to over 1000 different combinations, some being much better than others. And do explore other parts of the store, you really do want to get away from those exclusively TV dinner diets.

About the only thing this page has missed are dairy, grains, and fruits. Shouldn't be a problem, even my dog knows where the cereal, dairy, carbs, and fruit juice sections are. The premade deli food section is also worth a visit, though can be expensive; speaking of saving money on food, these money saving tips are also worthwhile.

Just for the heck of it, I thought I'd toss in this federal link about microwave ovens. Turns out the information contained therein is not entirely useless. For that matter, the FDA site in general has proven useful to me in the past.

- End of Article -

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