Maybe you’re rushing off to the next kid-related activity, or you’re just too tired at the end of a long day to think about turning on the oven and baking those cupcakes for your kids birthday party over the weekend. Maybe your kitchen is smack dab in the middle of a construction zone, like I am right now, and an oven isn’t available, but you don’t want to go the route of store bought treats. That is when a microwave can step in and more often that not fill your big ol’ ovens shoes!

I know what you’re thinking… baking? In the microwave? But honestly, its easier, faster, and more efficient than your oven. You even support the “green” movement by using your microwave instead of your oven, as it uses less energy than preheating and baking in your oven. It also heats your home less, which saves you money on your A/C bill. On top of that, the products you use to cook in the microwave are primarily made of silicone, which is highly re-usable and long lasting.

A few things to remember before you start cooking and baking with your microwave:

Never use any kind of metal to cook with in your microwave. This includes tin foil, gold leaf plates, spoons and forks for stirring, or even a Hershey Kiss wrapper. The metal will draw the energy created by the microwave and cause a very unpleasant reaction called “arcing”, and eventually if you continue to cook with the item in the microwave it will short out and be ruined. No Metal, Not Ever.

Remember that cooking times vary according to the item your cooking and the level of power in your microwave. It only takes a minute to thoroughly cook a dozen sugar cookies, but it can take up to ten to cook an entire pound of ground beef. It’s also good to remember that the higher the amount of sugar in the item you are cooking, the faster it will cook, and the hotter it will be when you take it out. Keep in mind that most types of microwave recipes call for a certain amount of standing time, which finishes the cooking process, much like a roast in the oven. This standing time is important to the item being cooked, and your fingers, as you don’t want to be burned.

Sealed items do not microwave without mess. As the item heats, pressure builds up underneath the lid, and eventually it WILL burst. This rule applies to ANYTHING you put in the microwave. This is why you do not microwave raw eggs in their shell, and always poke holes deep into a potato before you ‘nuke’ it. In my research for this particular article I came across a story about a woman who was heating ice cream topping, and mistakenly hit 3:00 instead of :30, and on top of it forgot to remove the plastic lid. The glass jar burst, and there was a piece of glass jammed into the liner of her microwave, about a 1/4″ deep. I read about stories of items flying through the glass door and landing on the opposite sides of kitchens.¬† Please remember to unscrew and remove all lids from containers and poke holes in hot dogs, potatoes, anything with a skin…

Use this site for more information about baking in your microwave.

BAKING IN YOUR MICROWAVE – About.com

Here are some quick and easy recipes for baking in your microwave.

Microwave PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

Microwave BACON CHEESE MUFFINS

Microwave  CHEESECAKE

Great Dishes to Use in the Microwave from Cooking.com:

Silly Feet Cupcake Cups

Animal Bakeware

Insect Bakeware

The Cupcake Pen : Great for filling your cupcake liners with batter and NO MESS

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