Foods you can cook in a microwave and save £286 on energy bills

This Morning: Alice reveals the top range microwave ovens

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Energy prices are set to increase next month and could cost as high as 51.8p per kilowatt hour (units are currently capped at 28.3p). With that in mind, households are looking at different ways to cook their meals, and microwaves have been revealed as the most economical cooking appliance costing just 8p a day to run – the equivalent of £30 a year (based on 20 minutes of daily usage). Compare that to an electric oven which costs £316 a year, versus a gas cooker which costs £120, so with big savings to be made, it’s worth looking at the make and model of your microwave to see what it can cook. Some – are capable of roasting chickens. 

Food safety expert Natalie Seymour explained how a microwave works. She said: “An oven heats the air, and then the air heats the food. Microwaves directly heat the food. 

“Take a baked potato, the microwave cuts cooking time from an hour in the oven to five minutes. As energy is absorbed by the potato, water molecules inside it heat up, steaming your dinner.” 

Baked potatoes are not the only thing that can be cooked in a microwave. 

Eggs are popular for breakfast and dinner, and there’s no need to watch a pan boil – use a microwave to poach or even scramble eggs. 

Fill a mug with water, add a dash of vinegar, crack an egg into it and prick the yolk with a toothpick (this stops it from exploding in the heat).

Microwave for a minute, then drain and season for a soft-poached egg that’ll rival those cooked on the hob.

For scrambled eggs, Get Cracking recommends using a microwave-safe container, which is sprayed with cooking oil or wipe oil lightly around the container. Mugs, ramekins or egg cookers work best. 

Simply whisk egg, milk, salt and pepper in the container, and if using a mug or ramekin, cover with plastic wrap, pulling back a small area for venting. If using an egg cooker, place lid on cooker base, lining up notches. Twist to secure.

Microwave on medium to high for one minute 30 seconds to one minute 45 seconds, stirring several times during cooking.

Cover and let stand for 30 seconds to one minute before serving. Eggs will look slightly moist but will finish cooking upon standing.

Sides are where the microwave shines – think fluffy rice and green vegetables. 

Leafy greens like spinach can be cooked in minutes in a microwave – start with 60 seconds. 

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower and even starchy staples like potatoes and sweet corn can be cooked too in this appliance. 

For best results, make sure the vegetables are cut into fork-sized pieces and put them in a microwave-safe bowl with a tablespoon of water. 

Cover the bowl tightly with microwave-safe plastic wrap and cook on full power for about 90 seconds. After the time is up, do the fork or knife check – if it slides through the vegetable easily, it’s cooked. 

Cooking vegetables in the microwave also means it retains almost all vitamins and minerals. 

Desserts can also be made in a microwave, especially the popular mug cakes. 

Depending on the brand and the machine’s abilities, some newer microwaves can cook full roast dinners. 

This Morning’s consumer expert Alice Beer shared a few models that are “all-singing, all-dancing”. 

A combination microwave oven can have up to 10 power levels, some also have grill elements and are fan-assisted ovens. 

“This is the Panasonic Combination Microwave – this is a grill and fan assisted oven you can roast in,” Alice explained. “It will get up to 220 degrees Celcius, you cook your roast chicken in there.” 

As for whether it “defeats the object”, Alice said it “cooks it quicker” because the size of the space is smaller than heating an oven. 

“Can we just pay homage to the Sage Combi Wave – it’s beautiful,” Alice added. “It’s a three-in-one, it is an air fryer, it is a conventional convection oven and microwave.” 

What a microwave can’t do 

Basic microwaves can’t make a crunchy exterior or cook food that requires steady, controlled cooking, such as a cake or delicate pudding. 

But some gadgets can help create crispy food, take bacon for example. 

There are several bacon crispers trays on the market which are said to be “the perfect way to cook bacon quickly and easily” in the microwave in just a few minutes. 

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