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Microwave Cooking Tips
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Place an open box of hardened brown sugar in the microwave oven with 1 cup hot water. Microwave at high for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes for 1/2 pound or 2 to 3 minutes for 1 pound.
Soften hard ice cream by microwaving at 30% power. One pint will take 15 to 30 seconds; one quart, 30-45 seconds; and one-half gallon 45-60 seconds.
One stick of butter or margarine will soften in 1 minute when microwaved at 20% power.
Soften one 8-ounce package of cream cheese by microwaving at 30% power for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. One 3-ounce package of cream cheese will soften in 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
Thaw frozen orange juice right in the container. Remove the top metal lid. Place the opened container in the microwave and heat on high power 30 seconds for 6 ounces; 45 seconds for 12 ounces.
Thaw whipped topping. A 4 1/2 ounce carton will thaw in 1 minute on the defrost setting. Whipped topping should be slightly firm in the center, but will blend well when stirred. Do not overthaw!
Soften Jell-O that has set up too hard. Heat on a low power setting for a very short time.
Heat hot packs in a microwave oven. A wet finger tip towel will take about 25 seconds. It depends on the temperature of the water used to wet the towel.
Refresh stale potato chips, crackers or other snacks by putting a plateful in the microwave oven for about 30-45 seconds. Let stand 1 minute to crisp. Cereals can also be crisped this way.
Nuts will be easier to shell if you place 2 cups of nuts in a 1-quart casserole with 1 cup of water. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes and the nutmeats will slip out whole after cracking the shell.
For stamp collectors: Place a few drops of water on stamp to be removed from envelope. Heat in the microwave for 20 seconds and the stamp will come right off.
Using a round dish instead of a square one eliminates overcooked corners in baking cakes.
A crusty coating of chopped walnuts surrounding microwave cooked cakes and quick breads enhances the looks and quality. Sprinkle a layer of medium, finely chopped walnuts evenly onto the bottom and side of a ring pan or bundt cake pan. Pour in batter and microwave as recipe directs.
Do not salt foods on the surface as it causes dehydration and toughens the food. Salt after you remove from the oven unless the recipe calls for using salt in the mixture.
Heat leftover custard and use it as frosting for a cake.
Melt marshmallows in the microwave oven. Half of a 7-ounce jar will melt in 35-40 seconds on high. Stir to blend.
To make dry bread crumbs, cut 6 slices bread into 1/2-inch cubes. Microwave in 3-quart casserole 6-7 minutes, or until dry, stirring after 3 minutes. Crush in blender.
Toast coconut in the microwave. (Watch closely as it browns quickly.) Spread 1/2 cup coconut in a pie plate and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds after 2 minutes.
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