cooking · Microwave

Today is the last day to safely eat Thanksgiving leftovers

Because leftovers only remain safe to eat for four days, you’re going to want to eat up all your turkey, stuffing and gravy by Monday.

(The importance of Thanksgiving leftovers as immortalized in pop culture by  Friends Moistmaker episode)

Ideally, you should freeze all leftovers as soon as possible, but if you throw the rest in freezer-safe bags or containers, it will be good to eat for another six months.

Actually, food technically remains safe to eat forever if it’s frozen, it just loses flavor and moisture.

The USDA wrote these guidelines for safely reheating stored leftovers:

  • When reheating leftovers, be sure they reach 165° F. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the food. Reheat sauces, soups and gravies by bringing them to a rolling boil. Cover leftovers to reheat. This retains moisture and ensures that food will heat all the way through.
  • Thaw frozen leftovers safely in the refrigerator, cold water or the microwave oven. When thawing leftovers in a microwave, continue to heat it until it reaches 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
  • Any leftover “leftovers” thawed by the cold water method or in the microwave should be reheated to 165 °F before refreezing.
  • In a real hurry? It is safe to reheat frozen leftovers without thawing, either in a saucepan or microwave (in the case of a soup or stew) or in the oven or microwave (for example, casseroles and combination meals). Reheating will take longer than if the food is thawed first, but it is safe to do when time is short.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly never knew to reheat my sauces to a full boil…oops.
Make sure to occasionally stir foods when microwaving them, because foods won’t heat evenly (especially if you don’t have a turntable) and cold spots will develop in which bacteria hasn’t been properly killed.

cooking · Microwave

Is it safe to microwave foods?

Nobunny should ever put metal in the microwave!

Despite the sensational headline, yes, it is safe to microwave foods.

But some methods of microwave cooking and reheating can be harmful or downright dangerous.

This becomes especially important knowledge for college students now away from the watchful eye that kept them from blowing up the house for 18 years. I stopped flammables from going in a microwave more than once as an undergrad.

For the rest of you, here are some basic DOs or DON’Ts (adapted from the USDA and Food Network) :

DON’T put metal in a microwave…ever. You will cause sparking and potential damage. This includes aluminum foil and those portable coffee mugs.

DO microwave by number. Avoid plastics No. 3, No. 6 and No. 7, as these could leach chemicals into your foods. Plastic wrap and Styrofoam can also melt. Transfer to a different container and use a glass lid to cover the food.

DON’T heat acidic foods, like tomato sauce, in plastic containers.

DO choose containers made of glass or ceramic or plastic that’s made for microwaving.

DON’T cook large cuts of meat on full power. Instead, use medium power (50%) for longer periods to ensure heat reaches the center without overcooking outer areas.

DO stir or rotate food halfway to eliminate cold spots where harmful bacteria can survive.

 

Any others I missed?

About Warners' Stellian · customer service · Microwave

Sure we offer free delivery, but our crews are ‘priceless’

When you think of customer service, you immediately might picture your salesperson helping secure available rebates or choose the perfect appliance for a tricky space.

And you’d be right.

But our delivery and install crews also deserve much credit for our stellar reputation for customer service. We offer free delivery and freestanding installation in the metro for orders $499 and up, but you get way more than you pay for.

Some purchases are routine replacements with nothing special in terms of selection or installation, but I love the emails from customers who’ve experienced our expertise in more complicated situations (especially when they come with photos).

Here’s a recent email that Susie sent to her salesperson at our Apple Valley appliance store:


I had to take a moment out to again thank you for all your help.  It seemed so hopeless when we started to replace the Jenn-Air microwave, but with your help I was encouraged.  I never dreamed it would turn out so well. These fellows were priceless.

Quickly they assessed the situation and made a few modifications and soon we were in business.

Unless you had seen the Jenn-Air in place you would think the KitchenAid was made to order.  I’m so thrilled we could use the old trim plate.

We are very happy with the new unit and truly appreciate all you did to make it possible. Thanks again,  –Susie & Jack

Appliance Design · Budget-wise · cooking · Microwave · Refrigerator

Mini refrigerators and dorm microwaves for college cooking

Getting a decent meal on campus one of the biggest challenges students deal with. At least that was my experience.

But having a fridge helps keeping fresh food on hand both affordable and easy for the busiest college student. And having a microwave or oven means you don’t have to rely on the dining halls or takeout if you don’t want to.

Here are some affordable and functional options for your dorm or college apartment:

If you don’t need a freezer (and really, you might not) in your dorm or office, maximize your fridge space with this Danby 2.5 cu. ft. mini refrigerator (comes in white or black). The can dispenser makes beverages easy to grab and having space for a 2-liter or big wine bottle can be really handy and free up a lot of space on your shelves.

But sometimes you’ll want a freezer for pizza (or Jell-O shots). The Avanti 4.1 cu. ft. mini refrigerator comes in white or black and, best of all, has glass shelves to catch the inevitable spills and mitigate the damage.

This LG microwave has got to be my favorite. Who doesn’t want a pizza oven in her dorm room? But it’s not just for pizza; this stainless steel microwave can bake cookies and pretty much any other slim object you can dream up. I call it the best grad gift ever.


If you’re not so into pizza or if you have a tiny space, you’ll appreciate this 0.5 cu. ft. Whirlpool microwave, made specifically to fit into tight corners. Despite its compact footprint, pull the pocket handle on the door and you’ll find space for an 11-inch plate.

Appliance Design · cooking · Innovative Features · Microwave · Ovens · Things I Want

Microwave with Pizza Oven = Best Grad Gift Ever

Despite my personality, I managed to be one of the most popular girls in my dorm’s wing during my freshman year of college.

How?

A microwave. But this was no ordinary microwave, which every Megan, Katie and Laura owned. My microwave had a toaster built in.

Just another perk of being appliance retail royalty. (And my very first Warners' Stellian purchase; I've since given it away, unfortunately)

And toasters, as you may our may not know, belong in the can’t-have-in-a-dorm-room category. So you can imagine my novelty among the carb-happy set.

LG since discontinued that microwave, clearly to make room for a countertop appliance that would change college life forever.

A microwave that can support the other thing besides ramen that college students eat: pizza.

The LG LCSP1110ST includes a 1400-watt pizza oven below its microwave cavity capable of baking the frozen staple as well as other nutritious goods like frozen french fries and cookies.

And the LCSP1110 is really just a countertop microwave in its essence, so your treat-making should operate sans censure.

Can you say best graduation gift ever?

Don’t worry about trusting your grad with an oven, either. This LG microwave’s AUTO PIZZA function takes all the thinking guesswork out:

Four pizza bake functions are preset in the oven. The AUTO PIZZA feature automatically selects the best cooking method and time for various pizza types. The cooking guide shows which AUTO PIZZA function is recommended for the the pizza you are cooking.

A regular-crust frozen pizza bakes in only 15 minutes in the pizza oven. That’s faster than delivery, or even taking the stairs down to the dining hall.

Anyone who says you can’t buy friends didn’t dangle the right carrot, er, pizza. And this one’s a steal in my opinion at $200.

Dryer · Energy Efficiency · Energy Star · Microwave · Ranges · Refrigerator · Sustainability · Washer

6 tips to reduce your energy use and energy bill

The biggest step toward making your house energy efficient is choosing Energy Star appliances. Energy Star appliances offer 10-50% energy savings compared to standard, new appliances.

So, I’m not even talking how much energy savings you’ll get from unplugging your decade-or-so old refrigerators, washers, freezers and dishwashers.

But just because Energy Star only rates those four appliance categories, doesn’t mean you can’t be energy efficient on your stove and dryer, for instance.

Here are six ways to further reduce your energy bill by staying mindful of ways you can save on home energy use.

1. Stop rinsing your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, which  wastes up to 20 gallons of water. Energy Star dishwashers use only 4 gallons of water on average.

2. Water heating consumes about 90% of the energy it takes to operate a clothes washer. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut energy use in half. Using the cold cycle reduces energy use even more.

3. Use the moisture sensor option on your dryer, which automatically shuts off the machine when clothes are dry, saving energy and reducing wear and tear on your clothes caused by over-drying.

4. Choose the right-sized pot on stove burners and keep it covered to cook more efficiently and keep your kitchen cooler.

5. Move your refrigerator away from the stove, dishwasher, or heat vents. Make sure the door seals are airtight. Also, keep your refrigerator and freezer stocked to hold temperature better and operate more efficiently.

6. Microwaves only use about half as much electricity as regular ovens, so using them is already a smart alternative. But you can save even more energy if you defrost food in the refrigerator instead of the microwave and cook food in its serving dish save the cost of the water used to do twice as many dishes.

Budget-wise · Cleaning · Cooktops · Dishwashers · DIY · HOW TO · Microwave · Ovens · Refrigerator · Washer

Vinegar cleaning ideas

White vinegar: not just for salad dressing and pickles.

Kim Ode of the Star Tribune posted last week that vinegar rids salt stains from suede boots. And that got me thinking: vinegar is kind of a cheap, green cleaning wunderkind.

Using vinegar to clean is certainly nothing new, but perhaps you haven’t yet tried one of my ideas.

Cleaning uses for vinegar

1. Rinse aid – I’ve recently blogged about the benefits of a regular vinegar cycle (using vinegar to clean your dishwasher), but I’ve also heard of using vinegar as a dishwasher rinse aid substitute.

There’s really no harm in using vinegar in your dishwasher, but I suggest only using it in lieu of rinse aid between trips to the store. Rinse aid should be called drying aid, and modern dishwashers need it to properly dry dishes.

2. Microwave cleaner – Heat a microwave-safe cup of vinegar in your microwave and let it boil, so the steam can loosen up all the stuck-on splatters for a minute or so. Wipe down the interior immediately, while it’s still moist inside — no scrubbing necessary!

3. Clothes washer cleaner – Just like  your dishwasher, your washing machine benefits from a regular vinegar cleaning. Run a cup through an empty cycle using the hottest setting.

4. All-purpose surface cleaner – Equal parts vinegar and water work well for cleaning windows or glass. Also try the solution for an all-natural way to clean the inside of a refrigerator. I hear you can use it to clean stainless steel as well, though, I recommend using a stainless steel cleaner for a shiny, polished finish.

5. Coffee maker cleaner – This tip, learned from my mom, is among my favorites. I try to run a full coffee pot of vinegar through my coffee maker (remove any coffee or filter, obviously) every few months. It’s satisfying to watch all the grime flake off into the pot, and you’ll be amazed how much faster your coffee brews without all the sediment slowing it down!

6. Stove top and oven cleaner – I’ve already blogged about using a paste of vinegar and baking soda for oven cleaning, but that same paste can be applied to your stove top to scrub out those stubborn brownish discolorations and food splatters.

Have you ever tried cleaning with vinegar?
What other household cleaning remedies have you tried?