How do you live without a microwave?

debrak2008March 20, 2014

This is a serious question. I notice that some posters say they rarely use a mw so this makes me wonder.

I understand that some think there are health concerns but I would like to avoid that issue in this thread. Please just tell me how your kitchen functions without the convenience of a microwave.

My story and questions...
Growing up we did not have a MW until I was a teenager. Before the MW leftovers were always dried out. My mother was always yelling for everyone to get to the table to eat so she didn't have to keep things warm.

So, you pour a full cup of coffee or tea and forget it until it is cold. How do you reheat it?

Our family has people coming and going at all different times. How do you reheat a meal two hours later? or at 2 am?

Leftovers: How to your reheat mashed potatoes? or anything?

Maybe I am just clueless but when DS comes home at 8 pm after working all day I need to give him a fast hot meal. I am "done" in the kitchen and certainly don't want to spend another hour in the kitchen. Again, I would not even know how to reheat some foods on an electric range.

Seriously wondering.

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The answer for a lot of those things is "warming drawer" and "steam oven." We nearly decided to go with no microwave if it weren't for reheating liquids (hit the lukewarm mug of coffee/tea for 15 minutes to bring it up) and popcorn.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 1:13PM
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Even without such fancy fixins as warming drawers and steam ovens, a toaster oven, regular oven, or back into the pan will warm up most foods.

Although I have a micro I can't abide the taste of microwaved coffee/tea. Coffee stays warm in the pot on the coffee maker or I make fresh. Tea, if it's in a pot, just add hot water since it's getting stronger all the time anyway.

To me the one area where you really need a microwave is if you use a lot of boxed frozen dinners. Anymore those are definitely not designed for any other method of preparation.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 1:24PM
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I live by my microwave (probably bc I grew up in a household where my mom never used one, so I loath the cooking process), but she reheats mashed potatoes in a frying pan. Makes them wonderfully crispy and delicious!

She can reheat almost anything in the oven or stovetop, though my dad doesn't believe in reheated coffee ;)

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 1:51PM
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I guess our grandmothers reheated leftovers in the oven, or if they didn't want something to dry out, a double boiler or steamer insert?

We use our MW at least once a day though - to steam veggies in those new steam-in bags or a Foodsaver bag, to heat up a cup of coffee, boil water for tea or oatmeal (less time and electricity than teapot on burner), to cook frozen pre-cooked meatballs (just add sauce, cover, 7 minutes later they're done, though I don't know if this is any faster than heating them in a pan), and occasionally for leftovers. Since we don't often have leftovers, and don't buy frozen dinners, I could probably do without and just use the stove, but it's not as efficient.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 1:55PM
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We did without a microwave for a few stretches of a year or so in various rentals with little counter space.

We don't drink tea or coffee, but couldn't you heat them in a pan on the stove?

Leftovers generally got heated with the original method of cooking--if it came off the stove in a pot then it got reheated the same way, if it came out of the oven, then back into the oven to reheat. If drying out is a concern, many things can have a little liquid added or some aluminum foil used to cover them or some cheese put on top. I still don't use the microwave much for reheating. I find most things reheat better with their original cooking method.

At this point, I use the microwave mostly for steaming vegetables and for heating the very occasional TV dinner type meal.

The microwave is definitely convenient at times but also far from necessary, IMO.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 1:56PM
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Havn't had a MW in 20 years so we never think about it. You don't notice stuff you don't have after a while.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 1:57PM
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I tossed my MW about 5 years ago due to multiple concerns that we aren't going into here and I haven't missed it once. Not once.
I use the oven, a steamer basket or the double boiler for quick reheating. We keep a pot of coffee going in the AM and I just keep adding a splash til it's gone... if it isn't always steamy, feh. That thing took up a H of a lot of counter space that I really enjoyed getting back. I think what one 'needs' is mostly in the head once you get past the essentials.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 2:07PM
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Our microwave hasn't worked for a few months (Christmas potato bag gift caught fire and messed it up!) and we were debating if we wanted to fix it since we're purchasing new appliances towards the end of the year. (We decided not to.) The first three days without it were horrible. I'm used to it now, but will be happy when we get a new one since it's faster.

I heat everything up on the stove or wrapped in foil in the oven. It does involves a little more planning and it dirties more dishes.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 2:20PM
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Reheating foil wrapped food, I put it (still wrapped) into a saucepan with a lid and some water -- steam heat, it doesn't dry out. I use the stove and toaster oven for many things that the microwave could do, just because I like the resulting taste better. I even prefer to pop corn on the stove in a pan (and avoid the lung damaging chemical that is put into the mw popcorn).

The only thing that I ever got into the habit of cooking in the mw almost exclusively was veggies, especially winter squash. I have a special container with a vented lid that I use. Before I got that, I was overcooking and drying out many of the veggies in the mw.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 4:09PM
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I use my MW lightly. Probably most often if I have frozen veggies that I forgot to dump in a pot early enough to have them be ready when the rest of the meal will be ready.

I grew up with a MW - we were one of the first ones in our area to have one. And as a kid who was at home alone and didn't really know how to cook at the time, for a while, it was a lifesaver.

Now, I prefer the overall taste of food that is reheated in the oven or on the cooktop. Sometimes if I'm in a huge rush, I'll pop it in the MW for a bit to get it part way there.

I make a pot of tea in our "coffee"maker and generally keep it going when I'm here in the day until it's gone. Or I use the leftover to make iced tea.

While I don't use the MW all the time, I do like having it. Since I want my dependence on it to lessen, I opted to, rather than get a built in over the oven, go with a countertop one that is in a barrister style door over the top of the oven. I'm hoping that the more it is out of sight, the more out of mind it will be. :)

My DH is convinced (as most men seem to be) that bigger is better, so he wants us to get a really large MW when we replace the one we're currently using. Personally, I'd rather a smaller one. But, he's pretty set on us getting a large one. If I would have thought that I could convince him of it, I would have probably gone with one of the Breville SmartOvens instead of a MW.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 4:10PM
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We reheat in on the stove or in the oven. Somethings are steamed in baskets to keep moist. Other leftovers we reinvent and make crispy bean patties or make casseroles or stews.

I never understood the allure of microwave steam packets. It's just as easy to steam frozen or fresh veggies in a basket over water. It takes about the same time too ( we often steam frozen organic broccoli from costco)

I guess the only thing that we maybe can't do is reheat forgotten drinks? But we only drink tea so that's easy enough to remedy.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 4:54PM
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We have one but I almost never use it because heating on the stove or in the oven is frequently faster and almost always better than the MW. (Ordinary stove, no steam oven or warming drawer). Certainly no health concerns either way (where do people come up with that stuff?) I'd get rid of it but my wife likes to reheat drinks. I hit the button on the espresso machine and make a fresh coffee rather than reheat. Taking an extra 10 min to reheat pizza in the oven produces an infinitely better product than the limp mess that comes out of the MW. Heating almost anything on a 23K BTU burner is faster than a 1200 Watt microwave, especially for heating water or cooking frozen vegetables.

So, I'd rather have the countertop than the MW primarily because I don't like the quality of the food that comes out. Plus, I just don't think it's all that convenient. Since it's there I will use it for quick defrosting of meat, about the only use I make of it. We went for a year without one between houses and I never missed it.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 4:58PM
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I never had a microwave until I was in my 40s. I never realized how much I use it until that first one broke. I don't cook food in it, but I defrost, soften, reheat, just tons of things that don't even occur to me anymore. It's just an essential part of my kitchen. Yes, frozen dinners from Trader Joe's. I don't reheat coffee in it because I think old, reheated coffee tastes terrible however you reheat it.

Growing up my mom was always reheating things on top of the stove (tiny bit of water in the bottom of the pan) and it would burn, meaning the food had to be thrown out and leaving an acrid smell everywhere.

If you can live without a MW, more power to you. I embrace mine and don't begrudge the space it takes up on my counter.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 5:36PM
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Breville toaster oven for reheats, electric kettle to boil water for tea, coffee, and oatmeal, electric steamer/rice cooker for veggies.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 5:42PM
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We have always had one and until we started this kitchen renovation, I would have said we use it frequently for different things. When moving it to start the remodel it ended up in the basement so it makes me much more aware of how often we use it. It has been in the basement for about 3 months and I have went down there exactly 3 times to use it...all 3 times it was a steamer bag of broccoli. If my coffee gets cold it goes down the drain and I'll make another cup. I really want to leave it in the basement when this renovation is complete. Something I use once a month does not warrant taking up so much counter space.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 6:49PM
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I went with a speed oven. I like having options.
I use the speed function a lot- reheated pizza is great and fast!
I do use the MW function for general leftovers.
Otherwise, I use my delonghi oven if I don't want to use a full oven.
Giving away my age but saw my first MW at the NYC worlds fair - we nuked tube steaks - aka hot dogs.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 6:59PM
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We do not have a mw. Our old kitchen had one, and it was great to warm up milk for our babies. However, the door latch broke, and it would cost $$$ to fix it.

The new kitchen, we splurged on appliances, including an expresso built in coffee maker, beverage center, blue star stove, etc. mw. I figure if I really need one, I will buy one at target, and then store it away. No more built in microwaves.... They are simply not worth it.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 7:54PM
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I don't have a microwave and I've never had one. I heat anything liquid in a pot on the stove. Anything solid I heat in the oven in a casserole or in a stainless pot with all-stainless lid.

I sometimes use the microwave in our housing complex kitchen, and I actually don't find it that fast. But it does create fewer dirty dishes - you just use the cup/plate that you'll be drinking/eating from rather than additional pots.

I'm not anti microwave, I just have never wanted to make space for one in my tiny kitchen. I'm doing a reno though, and I'll be making space for one on an undercounter shelf...for resale.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 8:37PM
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It takes 3 minutes to reheat home-blanched and frozen green beans and they taste like fresh - takes longer to boil the water on the stove than that. But I am really thinking of getting rid of the MW b/c it takes up an awful lot of room, maybe just buy a smaller one for those steam veggies and the measuring cup of water for tea/oatmeal. I don't need to put the meatballs (once a week) in the MW, can do on stovetop.

BTW, you shouldn't put baby bottles or bags of breastmilk in the MW - it causes hot spots, and even if you shake (and don't get hot milk sprayed all over) or swirl it, it may not even out, also chance of overheating. Just heat a cup of water (leave room for bottle) and then stick the bottle in it. Takes a few minutes longer but safer.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 8:39PM
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Circus Peanut

Mr. Peanut has been waging an anti-MW campaign and has almost got me convinced. We tracked our use for a few weeks and he never once used it, while I use it exclusively for reheating coffee. Wait! I did use it once for melting butter, but that's only because our vintage gas stove isn't hooked back up yet and I can't use its convenient pilot light for melting.

We eat dinner at the same time in the dining room, so no haphazard schedules. If something needs reheating later it gets put back in the oven/stove/wherever it was originally cooked. Frozen food and leftovers, same process.

What kinds of foods would baffle you to reheat other than in the MW? Now you have ME curious! :)

I've never been able to adequately thaw frozen meats in the MW -- they singe or thaw in bizarre patterns -- so I just pull it out in the morning before leaving, to defrost during the day in the fridge.

Pizza is far far better reheated in an oven than in the MW, no doubt about that.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 10:40PM
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Except for leftover smorgasbord night when the microwave comes in handy, I reheat in the oven or on the stovetop, as described above. Other than that, I use the MW for melting chocolate and butter and reheating tea (tho it doesn't taste so good), all of which can easily be done stovetop. Oh, and a few recipes I like require par cooking with the MW. Honestly, I don't know why I gave it space in the kitchen. I'll soon move it to the pantry and get doors to cover the hole in the cabinet where the MW was - more kitchen storage!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 10:08AM
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I appreciate all the replys.

Our coffee drinks are not picky. They drink reheated day old coffee. I don't even boil water for tea, as we have an instant hot water dispenser.

Items reheated in the mw don't taste any different to us. I completely agree that pizza is better NOT heated in a mw. Frying in a pan with butter is my favorite.

I see that some have warming drawers,steam ovens, and toaster ovens. I would certainly use those if I had them.

I suspect that many have high btu gas stoves and heat much faster than my electric range. It takes 20 min or so to preheat my oven.

We are like linelle that the mw is an essential part of our kitchen. Since we don't notice a difference is taste or quality (except pizza) it makes sense to us to use the mw as much as possible. I certainly don't want more pots to clean. I'm up to running the dw sometimes 3 times a day, and that is with no guests!

We do have a lot of planned leftovers. My kids request that I always have cooked meat and other foods in the fridge ready to be reheated for a quick meal. DS got home at 9 pm last night from college. He reheated leftovers from our dinner. There was no way he would wait 20 min for the oven to warm up and then another 20 for the food to heat. He would just go to mcdonalds instead.

Thanks again for the responses. I'm going to save this thread for future needs if the mw ever breaks!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 10:10AM
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Let me just add that I could not live without the microwave. We have two and they are both often going at the same time.

I've done test kitchen comparison between conventional and microwaved foods. The taste is slightly different -- even steamed veggies -- because the cooking medium is different but some can't distinguish or don't care.

For me, a microwave -- or alternately a speed oven with microwave capability -- is just a basic now. And nothing I've found is better or quicker at reheating. Plus it turns itself off.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 10:47AM
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We have the largest of the Breville Smartovens. I just did a test-run and it took 4 minutes to preheat. It cooks most things as well as a regular oven. We make toast every day, so it replaces the MW and toaster.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 10:50AM
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The water at my kitchen sink takes forever to heat. I must have a heated plate for hot food (thanks, Mom!), however humble my meal. Running all that water to get it hot to heat my plate for my bacon and eggs is just wasteful. Instead, I get my plate surface damp, stick in the MW for 20 seconds, dry it off, and I have a preheated plate.

A MW isn't right for everything (e.g., pizza), but it has such a gift for reheating. I love leftovers! Dinner without the hassle and usually tastes better. When I want to reheat some lasagna, do I want a 2-minute, low-energy consumption solution, or go through heating my oven for this little bird-sized portion?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 11:00AM
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We wanted to buy a new MW when we moved into new house, our old white one had crayon melted on the top of it ;-) plus it was old. But my mom had just bought new (black) one, didn't like it, so I took it and bought her a new one. So I didn't pick this one, it's too big. Plus builder messed up all outlets in my kitchen (modular so all drywalled, cabinets and counters in place) and outlet wasn't under corner cabinet like planned, plus MW too big so can't add appliance garage I was going to do later.

Mom's handmedown is 7 years old now, waiting for it to die, I think for us (and many people from sounds of it) one just big enough for a plate is good. I don't know about putting it in pantry since we do use it for oatmeal, tea, prefer to have it over by dishes/cereal cabinets - even for reheating leftovers for DS during track/XC season, he needs to get a plate out.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 11:47AM
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Debra, you wrote: "I suspect that many have high btu gas stoves and heat much faster than my electric range. It takes 20 min or so to preheat my oven."

Yes, that definitely would make a difference! I have a high btu gas range and I guess that's why it's so quick to heat things using my stovetop/oven. When I use a microwave it seem slow by comparison.

For the space challenged who are looking for a small microwave, I'll probably be getting this as my first microwave:

Whirlpoolî 0.5 cu. ft. Countertop Microwave

Planning to place it on a shelf on a 24" wide island cabinet.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 12:22PM
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I've been reading this thread and trying to think how I ever did survive without a MW...We got one when I was in high school, 30+ years ago. I don't think I've ever been without one since then. In fact, when we designed/built this house last year, I was thinking about installing *two* microwaves (forget dual ovens - I was thinking of dual MWs!). We didn't - just one 1200 watt unit, which is the most power I've ever had. It heats things really quickly; I wonder if that is the problem some of you have, when you mention that MWs don't cook that quickly. Maybe your unit is lower powered, so of course it heats slowly? Sorry if that's an obvious idea, but the extra power has made a huge difference to us!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 12:34PM
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gladys, I picked up a nice Sharp MW at Costco two years ago for $99. I think it's 1200 watts, and it heats up WAY faster than my previous one did. Any frozen meals I get at Trader Joe's I cut the nuke time in half and usually it's more than enough.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 12:41PM
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There are just 2 of us, so I don't use the MW a lot. I'm not a tea drinker and would rather drink cold coffee than re-heat it. I use the MW to cook oatmeal. My MW does a good job of defrosting, so will use it when I've forgotten to take something out of the freezer earlier. Some leftovers get reheated in the microwave, others in the oven. Rather than waiting for my oven to heat up before reheating foods (eg pizza) I put the leftovers into the cold oven and generally by the time the oven is heated, the food is as well.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 12:42PM
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"I put the leftovers into the cold oven and generally by the time the oven is heated, the food is as well."
We do this too. It's much faster than waiting for the oven to preheat first.

When our microwave was working, we used ours primarily for heating leftovers.

I love that tiny little microwave!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 1:39PM
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I do think each tool has an appropriate place, if you have the space for it. Our ancestors did just fine in the pre-MW days.

The MW is my go-to appliance for defrosting and reheating, and very select cooking. Like others, I don't like zapping pizza or anything with a crust in it. As a tool, it is much more energy and water efficient for me than firing up the range for certain purposes. Oatmeal in the morning is the quick cook oats, some dried fruit and water in the same fiestaware bowl it will be eating in. 60 seconds and it is ready. Something like leftover Chinese or Thai food comes out better in the MW, as it gets too quickly overcooked or scorched in other methods -- and steaming, even with an electric steamer, leaves a lot of cleanup and can leave things like rice soggy. Since we're in a severe drought, I like to avoid dirtying extra plates, pans, and specialty appliances. That said, I prefer my other equipment for plenty of other purposes, like oven-roasted vegetables vs. mw steaming.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 3:29PM
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The magnatron on our mw went out a few months ago and because we are in the process of remodeling we tried to do without it until the new one is installed. Well, that didn't work at all. We love the MW for thawing things like breads, my dh has the settings down to a science so it is evenly thawed. I like reheating soups for a quick lunch right in the same bowl so I don't have to wash a pot. We missed ours so much we went out and bought an inexpensive one from Sears to use until the new one is up and running. It is unbelievably slow compared to our previous ones and it does not warm food evenly, one half will be dried and the other still cold. If this was my first experience with a mw, I would not want another.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 4:09PM
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We lived without one for several years. It was doable, but I appreciate having a MW again. We often use ours for softening butter, re-heating drinks and leftovers, or defrosting meat quickly. It also has taken the pressure off of my stove top by heating up veggies, leaving my 4 stove burners open for other parts of the meal.

One thing I learned to re-heat "innovatively" when we were microwaveless was left over oatmeal. I usually make a huge pot of it for our family and will sometimes have left overs to deal with. It was hard to reheat it without the MW until I stumbled on the idea of frying the leftover oatmeal in plenty of butter until golden in spots and drizzling it with honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar just before removing it from the heat. My kids prefer the day old oatmeal prepared this way to the fresh version!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 4:34PM
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Feisty, I have that little Whirlpool unit, and I love it in the corner of my kitchen! Yep, it takes longer to heat things than a bigger, more powerful MW, but it gets the job done and doesn't take up much room.

We use it for heating leftovers, melting butter, heating water for cocoa, and cooking veggies.

MW popcorn? Eeew! We always make our popcorn on the stove, and it is so much yummier. We like to mix it up with flavorings - pepper, chili powder, and garlic salt are all good on fresh popcorn.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 4:41PM
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We have a lot of leftovers, too, and I even played that up with this sign, which is hanging above the MW:

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 5:36PM
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Going MW free has been painless for us, even with a little one at home. I do all of my reheating on the stove top. If my tea gets cold, I put it back in the teapot. We do have a small convection style toaster oven, but it has been unplugged and sitting in a cabinet for a year now, so we haven't used it for any reheating.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 11:17PM
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I love my microwave and use it for making myself a cup of perked coffee in a cup each morning using Folger's coffee bags. I also warm up my little dog's food which she enjoys better. I steam vegetables in my microwave. I use it daily. Sometimes I cook up batches of meals and freeze them for when I am busy and then use the reheat feature. Before I had a microwave years ago, I just did not make a lot of food at one time so I did not have too many leftovers. I then used a coffee pot to make coffee and steamed vegetables over the stove. It just took me longer to cook.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 12:45AM
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We've never had one [as adults--had them as kids] except once in a rental that had an OTR microwave. I think a lot of it is just what you're used to. We reheat things either in the toaster oven (we are a mostly glass v. plastic household anyway, so most leftover containers just go straight into the toaster oven--we have the middle-sized Breville) or in smaller pans on the stove (we do have an all-gas range, so maybe that helps). We have an electric kettle and use that for most anything involving heated water; usually coffee is gone while still hot (we brew into an insulated carafe so it's hot for up to a couple hours) but when it's not, I either add hot water or sometimes will heat and froth milk and mix it in. We do plenty of TJ's convenience food, but most works fine in the conventional or toaster oven. The one thing I've encountered that doesn't is the precooked rice, but once I learned about boiling rice and how quick that is, I just do that if I've forgotten to start the rice in advance.

We are also vegetarian at home for the most part, and I bet that does make a difference--not defrosting big cuts of meat, for instance, which I imagine might be much more convenient to do in a microwave. A lot of our leftovers also go to work/school for lunch and there are microwaves there, so we do certainly use them--just not at home. Debated getting one when we remodeled, but in the end just didn't think it would get enough use to be worth the counter real estate in a small kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 1:58AM
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We have two microwaves, and they both get a workout. My stove is a gas GE Profile--that means it only has one good burner, one ok burner, and two not worth squat.There are four adults, and often everyone wants different leftovers, plus different sides. I admit, if a main meal requires three hours to make, I cook larger batches to have a leftover day every few. The only thawing it is used for is frozen spaghetti sauce, in a pinch.

My favorite microwave is the Whirlpool because it has a silence setting--NO BEEPS! I love that! The Panasonic beeps, and continues beeping even if I have opened the door. Annoying and unnecessary.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 2:26AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I did not want a microwave in the kitchen, but it was a negotiation point with DH so we got one. I rarely use it for food. So many items I dislike microwaved. There is just one thing that I've gotten used to using a microwave for and that is heating up hot socks. [g] I don't think there is another way to heat them and I couldn't do without them, so the microwave earns it's keep.

Defrosting food? Why would you need a microwave for that? I remember in high school I had a friend who lived with an aunt who worked and it was his job every day after school to take out the meat for dinner. It's just thinking ahead about what's for dinner and taking it out at the right time. If everyone works during the day, you take it out and put it in the refrigerator the day before about dinner time. I don't work so we put it on the counter at breakfast and I put it in the refrigerator before lunchtime.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 2:58AM
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Great thread, how clever of you to initiate the dialogue. I moved my mw out of the kitchen and into the mudroom/ butler pantry, if I want to use fancy talk. I had them give me a base cab with a shelf. It is not wedded to a form factor. Just sits there below the counter waiting to heat milk for coffee. Makes morning joe taste so much better with steamy milk. It is a slight pain to have to walk the ten steps out of kitchen for it but it also eliminates traffic congestion. And I gave up no counter space nor upper cab. Win win.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 7:41AM
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I'm glad those with two MWs or considered it posted. I also considered two!

I have a sign in my kitchen: Todays Menu Take it or Leave it

Even though I am out of work right now and do usually meal plan I still sometimes have to defrost meat in the MW. Some items will defrost over night in the fridge others seem to stay rock solid. Even on my heated counter things do not defrost evenly. The other night I realized I didn't have a side dish to my "loaded sweet potato skins". I quickly grabbed a container of frozen soup and in the mw it went.

Heated socks? tell me more....

On another note.... my elderly mother who has problems with her hands uses her MW and crockpot (with a disposable liner) exclusively. The cooktop and oven is just too much for her to use safely.

I think the MW placement is important if you are going to have one. I can see why you would want to eliminate it if you can't find a good spot.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 10:09AM
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Defrosting food? Why would you need a microwave for that?

Oh prairiemoon, let me count the ways. Actually I won't because it would be too tedious to read. :)

I'm retired and have plenty of time to plan things, but alas I forget. Like Gyr_Falcon, when I really cook from scratch I make plenty and parcel them up as single meals to freeze. Often it's 5 or 6 pm and I wonder what's for dinner. When I see a little package of goodness in the freezer and it's still rock hard, I thank my MW for solving that problem in 2-3 minutes.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 10:14AM
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Besides reheating coffee and some leftovers, I use it to heat what I call the "bag of rice". These are cotton tubes sold at the drugstore for painful joints, muscles or what not. It can be a great foot warmer on a cold night.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:34AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Hot socksâ¦.are hand made. I use raw winter wheat kernels from the WFoods bins instead of rice. You fill a new, sock (that I've washed a few times first) with the wheat berries, sew it closed and when you want to warm your bed up on a cold night, you put each sock in the microwave for 3 minutes and voila! Or if you have a sore muscle, sore low back, sore neck. It's nice moist heat.

I do realize it is faster and easier to defrost frozen food in the microwave, I just feel it's healthier not to put it through the microwave. Nothing I've read has convinced me it is or it isn't a healthy way of cooking, so I would rather err on the side of caution, so I use the microwave sparingly.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:53AM
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So you can take take a regular sock and fill it with rice (no wheat berries in the cupboard) and heat in the mw? Will it warm up cold feet in the winter?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 1:03PM
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Yes, you can use white rice, which will give you a moist heat.

My personal favorite, if you can find it, is to use field corn in a sack heated in the MW. It's a dryer heat, and lasts a very long time. They're Marvelous for heating up cold feet in the winter! I used one in my bed almost every night when we had that cold stretch. It felt sooo good to crawl into bed and have that cozy sack at my feet.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 1:25PM
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robo (z6a)

I use my magic bag (hot sock) religiously for neck aches. Although I use mw to reheat leftovers and make popcorn (plain, in a paper bag or bowl) the magic bag is the only thing I truly NEED the mw for. I suppose I could make do with a hot water bottle but the magic bag is hotter and conforms better to my neck. On vacation this week and had to make do with a sealed glass container of hot water for a killer neck ache...not nearly as nice!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 1:29PM
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I'm curious - why don't any of you ever use heating pads? You know, the electric things? You can use them with a damp cloth if you want damp addicted as I am to my MW, it still seems easier to use a heating pad...

Okay, maybe this thread is getting off any rate, someone mentioned earlier that with just two people in their home, a MW didn't make sense. Actually, MWs excel at cooking smaller amounts of food. When you start cooking larger amounts, that's where traditional cooking might be just as efficient...I'm home all day - I *do* work, just not outside the home! - but the MW is still a wonderful time saver!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 1:50PM
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gladys - I use the stuffed sock method often because it conforms to an area better (neck pain). Also, it's easier to move around not being tethered to a heating pad cord. If using it as a foot heater in bed, you don't have to worry about getting your legs tangled up in the cord it if you happen to fall asleep. It seems like a more uniform heat as always seemed like when I used heating pads, the heat wasn't uniform.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 3:51PM
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I can't wait to try some hot socks tonight!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 4:28PM
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I would love to get rid of my MW. I never needed or wanted one. 10+ years ago, the BF showed up at my door with one - as a "gift for me," and a dozen roses on top. Now, as a DH, he and the MW have moved through three states and twice that in dwellings. We just bought a house with very little counter space - and that behemoth needs to go but it just will not die.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 7:53PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

One last post on the socksâ¦if you're in a hurry you can close the sock with a wide elastic and not bother sewing it. Doesn't get much easier than that.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 3:43AM
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robo (z6a)

One last is possible to burn yourself if you fall asleep with a scorching hot sock. I've never done it, though I've given it a good try a few times. Oh and if you put glass full of water in the microwave at the same time it will be easier on your microwave, I hear. And rice is the easiest but flaxseeds work surprisingly well and last longer.. Use 100% cotton socks to prevent melting or burning. And you can put it in the freezer for a cold pack!

This post was edited by robotropolis on Sun, Mar 23, 14 at 8:38

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 8:29AM
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Why don't you just use flannel sheets?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 11:11AM
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We keep our house pretty warm (down to 67 degrees at night) AND have flannel sheets but when we take off our socks at night our feet are usually like ice. I forgot to try it last night.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 11:20AM
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may_flowers - like debra, we also use flannel sheets. But, my feet are almost always cold. In the winter, when I'm in the house, I keep a thick pair of fuzzy socks on plus a set of bootie-style sheepskin slippers on and my feet still get cold. In the summer, I can sometimes switch to something a bit lighter, but I always have slippers on when I'm in the house. Sometimes I use my DH as my bed foot warmer, although I'm not certain he appreciates it much. The stuffed sock warmer works wonders to help warm up my cold tootsies.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 11:41AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Sorry, I just saw there were more posts here about the socks. To robotropolis, the socks can get pretty hot. In the beginning of using them, it takes a few tries to get the right amount of time to leave them in the microwave to get the socks to the temperature that is most comfortable. If you put them in for too long, you can burn the kernels inside and you will smell them cooking. You want to put them in for less time if thatâÂÂs the case.

Believe me if the socks are too hot, you will keep your feet away from them. And can push them to another part of the bed until they cool down a little. And I would think you would make that adjustment before you fell asleep. They stay warm when under the covers for a surprisingly long time. IâÂÂve never burned myself on the socks.

We keep our thermostat down to 62 degrees at night with warm down comforters on the bed with flannel sheets. My feet are always cold and I usually have a sore muscle or two that appreciate the heat as well.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 8:12AM
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Campanula UK Z8

never had one.....nor a dishwasher or a clothes-dryer, food-processor, TV, air-con, or a host of other gadgets and appliances. We do have a washing machine, cooker and really push the boat out with a toaster. Guess we might do things a bit differently in Europe....but when the oil runs out, some of us will be struggling less than others (but yes, we are probably going to be a bit filthier too).

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 8:32AM
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A handy warming device.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 9:16AM
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