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Can you cook a meal from scratch in the microwave? With this dish, I did

This is not your typical microwave dinner.
TODAY Illustration / Courtesy Christina Montoya Fiedler

I have a love-hate relationship with my microwave. I would use it more, but I hate the clean-up and uncertainty of cooking times. At this point, I use it for three things: reheating leftovers, microwaving popcorn, and baking potatoes — which makes it a pretty big appliance to have in my small kitchen for just those reasons.

So, when I heard about the Anyday's dish sets that promise to make cooking actual meals in my microwave a breeze, I was definitely intrigued. Could it be my answer to making quicker, tastier meals and helping me dust the cobwebs off my neglected countertop appliance? I was going to find out.

Anyday The Starter Set

Features and details

  • The dish is made out of a durable frosted borosilicate glass, which is thermal-shock resistant and able to withstand large temperature fluctuations. In addition to being microwave-safe, the dishes and lids are oven-safe up to 500 degrees and 400 degrees, respectively. They're also safe to clean in the dishwasher and to store in the refrigerator and freezer.
  • The silicone knob on the lid vents just enough to allow steam to escape during cooking, while the silicone gasket in the lid traps the rest of the steam for even cooking. The knob can also be pushed down to create a "low-level vacuum" to keep food warm and fresh.
  • The bowls are airtight and leakproof, making them ideal for storage and transportation.

What is the Anyday microwave cookware?

According to Anyday, this plastic-free cookware system uses the power of steam technology to cook meals in record time. This includes proteins, vegetables and grains, which are usually problematic in the microwave (for me, at least).

While you can purchase individual bowls in sizes small, medium or large (in your choice of depth: shallow or deep), they are also available in six-, four- and two-piece sets. I opted for the Starter Set in medium, which comes with a shallow dish and a deep dish.

Anyday also recently announced the launch of its College Dorm Set, a four-piece mix of medium and small dishes. My son might be too young to take advantage of this helpful bundle, but I can imagine this being a great gift for students returning to school who are looking to save money by cooking easy meals at home.

Anyday The College Dorm Set

How it works

So how does one make an entire meal from scratch in the microwave? If you don't want to experiment with whatever ingredients you have on hand, Anyday offers a ton of recipes on its website for you to follow — from breakfast and dinner meals to snacks, sides and desserts — that have been tested by the brand for speed and quality. For my first meal using Anyday's cookware, I decided to make the Chicken and Black Bean Taco Bowls, which ended up being a super-simple process from start to finish.

It's as easy as prepping your ingredients, adding them to your Anyday dish and popping on the lid. Just make sure the vent is in the upright position so the steam can safely escape. Then you just have to set your microwave to the correct cooking wattage. If you don't know the correct wattage or your recipe’s suggested time, you can reference the handy guide that comes with the set. Once the cooking is done, let the dish rest for a few minutes before handling.

Every recipe on the Anyday website is customizable, so I was able to tailor it to the number of people I was feeding. The ingredients were minimal, but the meal was big on flavor, despite only cooking in my microwave for just 10 minutes.

Courtesy Christina Montoya Fiedler

Pro tip: Be careful with the amount of liquid you add. If the recipe says to drain your beans, DRAIN your beans. Otherwise, you’ll have a mushy mess on your hands. Remember, microwave cooking is essentially steaming, so too much liquid can affect the cooking process.

And if you're worried about the metal on the stainless steel lid — don't be. I know what you're probably thinking: Isn't metal in the microwave a major no-no? Well, not with Anyday's cookware. According to the brand, this specific lid is made specially for microwave use due to its curved shape and smooth texture.

I was also happy to learn that using the cookware can also be eco-friendly. According to a study cited by Anyday, microwave cooking is considered energy efficient since it can transfer more heat to food in a given period than a stove or full-size oven. And since you're cooking for less time and, therefore, with less heat, you're also losing less nutrients in your food. Easier and more nutritious meals? I'll take it!

Overall, this is a great kitchen tool that I can see our family using time and time again. Not only has it proven successful in creating quick and tasty dishes, but it's also easy enough that it should be a big help for my husband when I am out of town and he's in charge of mealtime. He may not know his way around a kitchen, but with Anyday, he doesn't have to.