What did workingwomen do before microwaves? Make sandwiches daily, we guess. Here are a few tricks you need up your office sleeve, as seen in the Good Housekeeping staff kitchen. Based on a single ingredient, they’re meals you can make when you’ve run out of ideas and haven’t had time to go grocery shopping.
Note: Cooking times will depend on the power of your microwave oven. Remember, food continues cooking for a further few minutes once it’s out of the microwave, so factor in this ‘standing time’ to prevent overcooking.
1. Scrambled egg. The best breakfast when you’re in for a hectic day. Break two eggs into a mug, add a dash of water, stir well and cook in the microwave for a few minutes. (Cook for one minute, check, stir and cook for longer if required). Aim to get the egg just cooked, not overcooked and rubbery. Add sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper (or a few drops of truffle oil if you happen to have some handy) and enjoy on a slice of buttered whole-wheat toast.
2. Corn on the cob. Peel the outer green leaves off your mielie, rinse the cob and cook in the microwave on kitchen paper or a side plate for two to four minutes. (Check it after two minutes; if it needs longer, cook for a further minute and check again.) Season and add butter. A great snack or light meal when you’re pressed for time.
3. Sweet potato. This low-GI comfort food is also a superfood, blessed with antioxidants in its plant pigments: opt for the red-skinned ones or the orange-fleshed Jewel variety for nutritional and visual wow factor. Rinse thoroughly, washing any soil residue off, and then prick all over with a fork so your sweet potato doesn’t explode while cooking. Place on kitchen paper or a side plate and microwave for a few minutes on each side. Once the flesh yields to pressure, it’s done. Slice it open and fill with cottage cheese and slivers of smoked chicken.
4. The bacon butty. Place a few bacon strips on a piece of kitchen paper on a plate or microwave dish and cover with another piece of kitchen paper. Microwave for a few minutes (six pieces of bacon will take four to five minutes), checking after two minutes, then cooking in further one-minute increments until the bacon is done. Leave to rest so it crisps, then savour on hot toast or in a sandwich with iceberg lettuce and tomato slices.
5. Cheddarmelt potato. Wash a large potato, prick all over with a fork and microwave on each side for a few minutes. Just before the potato is fully cooked, remove it from the microwave, score it a few times with a knife and push thick slices of cheddar cheese into the gaps, then finish it off in the oven so that the cheese melts. Serve with a green salad: butter lettuce, avocado, cucumber chunks and spring onion, doused with lemon juice and olive oil.