by Denise Shuler
If you're a busy mom like me, a microwave oven can be a great friend to have. Many people still do not realize the abilities of a microwave oven. I frequently cook full meals from scratch in my microwave. Besides saving us money over expensive restaurant food, our waistlines have benefited from the reduced fat. I'm grateful to Tupperware for training me to teach microwave cooking classes, and I do use their products. HOWEVER, whether you use their products or not, you too can save time and money with your microwave oven. (Microwave ovens use less energy than conventional ovens, too.)
Here are some microwaving basics:
- Microwaves cook water, fat, and sugars. That explains why certain foods get hotter faster than others. Be careful not to overheat high fat or high sugar foods so that you will not harm your container and end up with plastic in your food. (Butter tubs are too soft. Use glass containers or those specially made for microwave cooking.)
- Microwaves are only 1 1/2 inches long so arranging your food into a ring shape in the container will help to ensure everything will be heated evenly.
- Standing time is essential. It finishes the cooking by using heat from the surrounding food. Neglecting the standing time will ruin your food.
- Never use metal in the microwave! Beware of metal rings on plates as well. It will send sparks flying.
Ready to try cooking? Here's an easy recipe that my family likes:
Into a casserole dish combine:
1 lb. browned ground beef
1 med. chopped onion,
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/4 c. water
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
6 - 6 in. tortillas cut into wedges
4 oz. shredded cheese
Cook 6 to 8 minutes on high. Let stand 5 min.
The best way to save time with this recipe is to use ground beef that has already been browned. When I do my monthly shopping I buy ground beef in large packages (so I get the best price per pound) When I get home, I divide the ground beef. Some of it gets made into hamburger patties and stored in the freezer ( a quick meal) but most of it gets browned right away. Then I divide it into 1 to 2 pound portions depending on the recipes I will use that month and freeze it. The day before I will use it, I take move it from the freezer to the fridge, then just pop it into the pan. And when I forget to thaw it, I put it into a pan of hot tomato sauce and have make spaghetti that night!
I am the mother of four. I homeschool three of my children plus two other preschoolers. I am a former speech and drama teacher. I picked up my information on microwave cooking from Tupperware in their training classes while I was working as one of their consultants.
We're still paying off last Christmas and worry how we'll afford the holidays this year without charging it again! Tell us: Yes, we could use help getting out of the debt trap we're in! or No, debt is not a problem for us but I'm always looking for ways to trim my family's expenses further!
More Money-Saving Tips for Families
- Snap up these 9 deals in August
- 5 big bills you can cut fast
- 5 frugal ways to expand your living space
- 4 steps to a simpler (and more frugal) life
- How your family can make a difference on $5 or less
- The perks of part-time work
- Modeling impulse control for your children
- Business ideas for kids
- This week's Readers' Tips