Photo: ThinkstockBy Lynn Andriani
Healthier, No-Box Mac 'n' Cheese
You can cook pasta in the microwave, but since boiling shells or elbows in water takes less time, stick with the stovetop for that (make about 3/4 pound) and make the sauce in the microwave. Into a 2-quart glass bowl, pour a bag of leaf spinach and the contents of a 6-ounce container of spreadable Cheddar cheese like Alouette's new sharp Cheddar. Combine and microwave for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring halfway through. When the cheese is melted and the spinach is wilted, remove the bowl and toss the sauce with the drained, cooked pasta. Sprinkle toasted bread crumbs on top for crunch.
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Garlic-Lime Salmon with a Kick
Fish is a good candidate for the microwave because it's relatively thin and cooks quickly. First, lay a rinsed, patted-dry salmon fillet (8 to 10 ounces), skin down, in a glass bowl and season with salt and pepper. Spread a mixture of mayonnaise spiked with a few shakes of Tabasco (the brand's Garlic Pepper Sauce complements proteins well) over the fish, and lay a few thin slices of lime on top. Cover and cook, checking for doneness after 3 1/2 minutes. If the fish flakes apart when you pull at it with a fork, it's ready. If not, keep cooking for 30 to 60 seconds longer.
Sweet and Spicy Barbecued Korean Chicken
Boneless, skinless thighs are one of your best defenses against the microwave's dehydrating powers; of all the cuts of chicken, the thigh is the most likely to stay juicy. Season about 6 of them with salt and pepper, place them in the dish, and cover and cook on high for 12 to 16 minutes, turning the meat over halfway through. Cut into the thickest part of a thigh to test for doneness; juices should run clear, and meat should be opaque. After you remove the chicken, warm a small bowl of Korean barbecue sauce (like CJ Bibigo Korean BBQ Marinade and Cooking Sauce, which has ginger and roasted sesame seeds) for 45 seconds; then brush it over the cooked meat.
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