For many of us, October means a return to routine with distant memories of summer holidays. ‘Back to school’ is also in full swing and life feels busier than it has done for months. Shorter days and longer ‘to-do’ lists are not a combination many of us relish. And, for a lot of people, finding the time to cook tasty, nutritious meals becomes much less easy at this time of year.
This is, of course, counter-productive. Skipping meals – or reaching for junk food – has a detrimental impact on energy levels, exactly when you need to be firing on all cylinders. To help you maximise your time at home, we asked Southern National Training Manager Jo to share her favourite speedy meals. Read on to discover her marvellous microwave cooking collection.
‘Go to work on an egg’ was one of the most famous advertising slogans of the 1960s. And breakfast is often described as the most important meal of the day. I must admit, I usually feel ready for anything after a hearty bowl of scrambled eggs.
Because they are such a great source of protein, they keep me feeling fuller for longer. But I can’t pretend I enjoy scrubbing my frying pan after making scrambled eggs on the hob. The good news is that this dish is perfect for microwave cooking, which is not only much faster and easier, but there’s minimal washing-up afterwards.
Making perfect scrambled eggs isn’t really about following a strict recipe. For my version, all you need are a splash of milk and a generous knob of butter (or use dairy-free alternatives if preferred). I tend to use two eggs per person.
Then, simply whisk everything together well and place inside your microwave on full power for 30 seconds. Remove, whisk again then heat in this appliance for short 10-second bursts until the eggs are just cooked. (Be aware that they will continue cooking, so don’t overdo your timings.) Serve on buttered toast.
Our Classic CM123BK Built-In Microwave & Grill Black Glass would be ideal for this recipe. It’s a versatile model that combines a microwave and grill in one appliance, which makes multi-stage cooking so easy. I especially like the Auto cook menu. This uses pre-programmed power levels and cooking times to take the guesswork out of microwave cooking.
Are you a fan of ‘Mac and cheese’? This is one of my favourite go-to comfort foods. I often eat it for lunch in the autumn. Mac and cheese is warming, filling and keeps me from flagging in the afternoons. Somehow it tastes even better served up in a mug!
This is another microwave cooking favourite that doesn’t really require a recipe. I just cook my pasta in this appliance with water in a suitable mug. When the water is almost all absorbed, I add the milk and cheese and return to the microwave for short bursts, stirring frequently until all the cheese has melted.
If you need a more substantial lunch dish – or a lighter supper – try this recipe for cottage pie jacket potatoes. It’s an inspired combination that’s cheap, filling and perfect for microwave cooking.
This recipe recommends that you prep the beef, onion and herbs on the hob, but cook the potatoes in the microwave. I would use our Classic CM126 Built-In Combination Microwave Stainless Steel for this. The grill is ideal for finishing off your stuffed jacket potatoes and creating that perfect crispy cheese topping.
Nowadays microwave cooking can also be harnessed to serve up more substantial family dinners, such as this Somerset pork chops dish.
Featuring a tasty combination of pork, cooking apples and cider, this really is a quintessential autumn dish.
I would use our Sense CM111SS Built-in Combination Microwave in Stainless Steel to prepare this recipe. It has a generous 40-litre cavity. And the dishwasher-friendly glass base and turntable-free design means it can accommodate large dishes with ease. This versatile microwave has ten functions – including microwave and fan heat – and ten power levels, so it really does offer everything you need to produce speedy family meals.
600g pork chops
1 medium onion – chopped
225g cooking apples – peeled and coarsely grated
1 stalk celery – chopped
1 tbsp cornflour
1/4 tsp allspice
Salt and pepper
Place pork chops in casserole.
Layer apple, onion and celery over the chops.
Mix cornflour and allspice with cider and pour over meat and veg.
Use the Combination Microwave function set to 200°C and 50% Microwave power and set the timer for 25 minutes.
Our Sense Premium CMS260BS Smart Combi Microwave & Steam Oven Black Steel really does deliver the best of both worlds. It’s been designed to make steaming, grilling, baking and microwaving different dishes as effortless as possible. It even has sleek TFT touch controls and Wi-Fi connectivity, making it compatible for use with our CapleHome App. This advanced appliance makes short work of this all-in-one fish dish, which combines salmon, new potatoes and your green vegetable of choice.
Green vegetables – your preference
Place everything on a glass tray and put into your CMS260.
Select the Steam and Microwave setting.
Cook for 5-7 minutes depending on the size of your fillets.
No round-up of microwave cooking would be complete without at least one delicious dessert.
I’ve selected a tasty twist on a traditional crowd-pleaser: microwave chocolate, peanut butter and jam brownies.
Our Sense CM108 Built-In Microwave Black Glass & Stainless Steel is a flatbed (turntable-free) model that’s perfect for making brownies in a square dish. And finding your way around its different functions couldn’t be easier, thanks to its clear and intuitive control panel. Handily, the time and temperature are always on view, helping to keep your cooking on track.
These moreish brownies take less than ten minutes to cook. You can ring the changes by adding any fresh, frozen or even tinned fruit to your brownies mix. Or, if you prefer, you could make blondies instead, by replacing the cocoa powder with extra flour.
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