Recipes for the Road

Microwave cooking can be tricky, but it is definitely a convenient option while out on the road. More nutrients are retained during the cooking process, and some foods, like vegetables, have better taste and texture. These tips and recipes will make you a microwaving expert in no time.

Standing Time
Every microwave recipe has a specified standing time. The dish or casserole must stand on a solid surface to retain heat and finish cooking (DON'T use a cooling rack or trivet). Remember, microwave ovens cook by making water, sugar and fat molecules vibrate, creating heat. Standing time allows heat to spread, cooking to finish and the temperature of the food to stabilize and moderate.
Doneness Tests
Every microwave oven will cook differently. Hot spots, differences in the stirrer blade (which circulates energy throughout the appliance) and variations in wattage all make a difference in cooking times. Pay careful attention to doneness tests as specified in the recipes. To be extra safe, use an instant read food thermometer to make sure your foods are at safe serving temperatures.
Food Temperature
Most foods are cooked starting at refrigerator or room temperature. Using frozen foods, unless specified, will change the cooking time and may affect the recipe quality.
Microwave cooking times are directly related to the amount of food being cooked. When you double the quantity of a recipe, increase cooking time by at least 50 percent, and check carefully for doneness. As an example, two medium potatoes will take 5-7 minutes to cook, while four potatoes take 10-12 minutes.
Food Sizes and Shapes
Foods that are the same size and shape will cook more evenly in the microwave and will finish cooking at the same time, which means there will be no overcooked or undercooked sections. Foods with thick and thin sections should be arranged so the thin portions are toward the center of the dish. Microwaves penetrate the food from 3/4" to 1-1/2".
Most microwave recipes direct you to stir food at least once during cooking time. This helps redistribute the heat so the food cooks more evenly.
Rearranging Foods
Solid foods like pieces of meat or large vegetables may need to be rearranged or turned over during cooking. Corners or sides of casseroles and dishes will receive more energy, so the foods need to be turned and rearranged for even cooking. Placing food in a ring generally assures even cooking.
Foods typically don't brown in the microwave oven. Browning elements are available and may be a good investment if you do a lot of microwave cooking. Some foods, like meats, will turn brown because of carmelization of sugars and starches in the food. You can add browning agents to foods to increase appeal. Agents include soy sauce, Kitchen Bouquet, Worcestershire sauce, seasoning mixes, cinnamon and other spices, and glazes that use sugar.
Cover the food with microwave-safe plastic or waxed paper if the recipe specifies. This helps hold in steam for fast and even cooking. Paper towels (don't use recycled paper towels!) are used to absorb spatters and moisture. Pay close attention to venting instructions. Venting prevents dangerous amounts of steam from building up in the dish.

Sundried Tomato Spaghetti Squash

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash
  • 1/3 cup Sundried Tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Fresh Basil
  • Grated Parmesan

Cut Spaghetti Squash in half lengthwise and wrap with microwave-safe plastic wrap.

Microwave on high, cut side down, for 12 minutes or until squash is soft but not mushy.

Scrape spaghetti squash out of shell into mixing bowl. Mix with olive oil and sundried tomatoes and add salt and pepper to taste.

Top with chopped fresh basil and grated parmesan.

Microwave Banana Muffins

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup yogurt (plain, vanilla or banana)
  • 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (1 medium)
  • 1 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts, optional

Beat together oil and brown sugar; beat in egg.

Blend in water, yogurt and mashed banana. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir in nuts.

Line 12 microwave-safe muffin cups with paper muffin cup liners (or use silicone muffin cups that have been oiled).

Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling 2/3 full.

Microwave on highest setting, six muffins at a time, uncovered (about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes) or until the muffins are no longer doughy or wet in center (varies according to microwave being used). Continue to microwave until fully cooked. Repeat with remaining muffins.

Makes 12 muffins.

Variation: Maple flavored yogurt may be used. Fresh or frozen blueberries may be substituted for chopped nuts.

Microwave Meatloaf

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup minced onion
  • 3 Tbsp. quick cooking oats
  • 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. dried marjoram leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
  • dash white pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 lb. ground chuck
  • 1 Tbsp. prepared mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce


In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine oil, onion and garlic; cook 3-4 minutes on high until soft. Combine with oats, half the tomato sauce, thyme, marjoram, garlic salt, pepper and egg in a large bowl. Mix in meat with your hands. Gently shape into a 8x4" loaf.

Place into a 9x5" glass loaf pan, making sure the meat mixture doesn't touch the sides of the pan. Cover pan with microwave-safe waxed paper. Microwave at high power for 5 minutes, then carefully siphon off the juices using a turkey baster.

Combine brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and mustard with remaining tomato sauce. Spoon this mixture over the meatloaf, making sure to evenly coat the top and sides. Return pan to oven, rotating one half turn. Cover pan with microwave-safe waxed paper and cook at 50 percent for 15 to 20 minutes or until an instant read meat thermometer inserted in the center of the loaf registers 160 degrees. Cover with foil and let stand 5 minutes on a solid surface before serving. (The temperature of the meat loaf will rise about 10 degrees during standing time.) Makes six servings.

Salmon with Orange Sauce

  • 4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless salmon fillets
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 5 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • dash white pepper


Place fillets in a 2 quart microwave-safe baking dish. Combine remaining ingredients in small bowl and mix well. Pour over fish. Cover casserole dish with plastic wrap, venting one corner, and microwave on high 3-6 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork, rotating dish once during cooking time. Let stand for 4 minutes before serving. Makes four servings.

Shrimp Scampi

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and devined


In a shallow microwave baking dish, combine all ingredients except shrimp. Cook, uncovered, on high power for 3-4 minutes or until butter is melted and mixture is hot, stirring once during cooking.

Add shrimp and stir to coat.

Cover with microwave-safe plastic wrap, venting one corner, on high for 3-5 minutes or until shrimp curl and turn pink. Let stand on solid surface, covered, for 3-5 minutes before serving. Serves four.

When out on the road, your safest option is to use microwaves that are provided for your convenience in driver lounges. For Werner drivers, our policy is that no converters or inverters may be installed in Werner equipment.