The length of time it takes to cook a dish is of critical importance in a microwave oven, and the smaller amount of food being prepared, the more precise the timing must be. A few seconds can mean the difference between total disaster and delicious success. In general, when doubling or tripling a recipe, double or triple the cooking time; exceptions are noted in the recipes.
Using different ingredients and even different brands of microwave ovens may require cooking times that are different from the times specified in Microwave Cooking for One, as well as other microwave recipes you attempt. I provide you two solutions.
What are those spaces in the recipes?
Remember, Microwave Cooking for One is intended to be used as a workbook so that you can learn to cook in your microwave oven. One unique feature of Microwave Cooking for One is the special space (_____) provided after each cooking time that makes it possible for you to substitute the time each step requires in your version of the recipe. It may take more than one attempt for you to perfect the timing of a dish required by your oven and your chosen ingredients, but once you do, you will have the timing written down for whenever you need it. Even if your first attempt at a recipe is a total disaster, the small amount of food wasted in a recipe for one will keep the cost of your failed experiment relatively low. And once you perfect a recipe, you'll be doubling, tripling, etc., to serve to guests or make for the entire family!
I don't have a 700-watt oven, now what?
While microwave ovens are available in a wide-range of power levels, most recipes, including those in Microwave Cooking for One, are written for a 700-watt oven (the industry standard). If you own an oven other than a 700-watt oven, you will need to convert the cooking times to accommodate the difference in wattages. I've solved this problem for you at this web-site by providing Conversion Charts. If your oven wattage isn't one of the charts provided, we will be happy to create a chart for you. (See instruction on Conversion Chart page).
I Don't Know What Wattage Oven I Have.
Not a problem. We can figure it out. Just boil one cup of water in your microwave oven, carefully watching to see how long it takes for the water to start boiling. Then visit our What Wattage Is My Microwave Oven? page to determine the wattage of the microwave oven you do have. Once you know that, just print out the appropriate conversion chart.
What is Standing Time?
At the end of most recipes you will find instructions to let the food stand for a few minutes. Your microwave oven manual should explain how food continues to cook after it is taken out of the oven. Manufacturers call this standing time, holding time, or resting time, but it is actually residual cooking time, and it is a very important part of microwave cooking. It allows the food to finish cooking and gives the flavors time to blend, thereby improving the taste of the food.
You may come across microwave recipes that vaguely instruct you to "Cook 2 to 3 minutes." In general you can assume the higher number is for a 700-watt oven, and the lower number is for a lesser wattage oven. You will probably have to experiment with the recipe several times to get the proper results in your microwave. Be sure to write the times that worked in your oven on the recipe once you do have success, so you will remember them for later.