Despite the fact that it confused my in-laws, one of the first things we did when we moved here was to remove the microwave. It works better this way as it gives me more space in the pantry. The low ceiling made for low cabinets and the space where the microwave was now houses larger things like the mixer and grain mill.
Not having a microwave means that there is no longer the temptation to use it boil water, thaw meat or reheat coffee but it does introduce challenges for those who are comfortable in their speed demon ways. I have found some things that work well for our family though I have to tell you that the USDA does frown on my methods. Not mine specifically but the kinds of things that I am doing. But, then again, we aren't dead yet.
1. I cook meat from frozen. All. The. Time. That shredded green chile pork that you see at the top of the page? I popped it completely, solid as a rock frozen into the crock with some salt, pepper, ground cumin, chopped garlic and whole chile peppers and flipped the switch to high. I came back a scant eight hours later to shred ready pork and dinner. That was an eight pound roast when I served breakfast. I left it out long enough to get off the wrap. Boom. Dinner. I was especially glad that I had it ready to go since I made an unscheduled E/R visit that afternoon when hubs caught his fingers in a wood splitter and broke them. We came home to a house that smelled fabulous and dinner ready to go. The kids only had to shred the cheese.
I also use my pressure cooker to cook frozen ground beef and whole chickens. Above you see four cups of lentils, two beef bones and two packages of 1.5# of grassfed ground from the farmer down the road before I added 3 quarts of water and some salt. I popped it on the stove and cooked it for 40 minutes. Done. Stir and add frozen peas and which cools the dinner and warms the peas and I served it with sour cream. Boom. Dinner from frozen in less than an hour. Given that I am more than 20 miles from a store, that works pretty well.
I toss in whole chickens, an electric kettle of boiling water and let it go at pressure for 50 minutes and the chicken is ready to shred. I do not have a store or restaurant or pizza as a back up so this means I have options when my back is to the wall.
2. I have an electric kettle. I use this all the time to add boiling water to soups to make them cook faster and to my pressure cooker when I am really in a hurry as well as doing normal things like boiling water for tea and coffee. I also use it to add water to my machine-free yogurt making method (see HERE).
3. I use double boilers to warm things. I have steel bowls and pots and so I can make a double boiler any size to reheat foods as well as melt chocolate. No microwave needed.
4. I use a toaster oven. You can even warm cold butter in it. Place it on a plate, put it in the toaster on a dark toast cycle. When you take it out, use tongs to slide the hot plate out onto a room temperature plate to avoid burning yourself. I have some other toaster oven ideas HERE.
5. I use a butter melting pot. I use it for the obvious melting of butter but I warm water for gelatin, melt coconut oil for recipes, reheat cold tea or coffee in it, reheat small amounts of food (like gravy or things like that), warming milk for steamers or cocoa in small batches or other such wonderful work. They pretty much rock. My link above is an affiliate one, FYI, but I actually bought mine at an estate sale and I use it almost every single day.
What are your best microwave-free tips?
Last thing, I have a current giveaway running for two gift certificates for The Jampot and it closes on 9/16/13 so you might want to get in on it. Click HERE to put your name in the running!