...without even using a stove.

Make this colorful meal with a microwave oven and a counter-top electric grill. Impress and flatter the vegetarian in your life, with a hearty grilled mushroom, alongside steamed asparagus and saffron rice. Or substitute a chicken breast, for a more conventional meal.

These instructions are suitable for those who don't cook at all, but would like to make a nice meal for someone. This meal would be good for a first at-home date. It is not gourmet food, but it will impress a new girlfriend, especially if you make the mushroom option for a vegetarian. This meal will NOT impress corporate executives, foreign dignitaries, or your mother in-law.

As a vegetarian for health reasons, I have often found that non-vegetarians are confused and befuddled when it comes to cooking without meat. This recipe works great with giant mushrooms or with regular old chicken, and anybody can cook it, even if you've never cooked anything before in your life

Note: Most of the people I know who call themselves vegetarians will eat eggs and dairy products, but some won't. Vegan usually refers to a more strict diet, where the person will not eat anything even remotely animal-related, which means no milk, no cheese, no whey, no eggs, sometimes even no honey. Also, many vegetarians and vegans will not eat vegetables prepared in a pan that was used to cook meat.

Before you cook for someone who says they are a vegetarian or a vegan, make sure of that individual person's rules. Don't be embarrassed to ask. They will be flattered that you took the time to ask, and if you successfully cook for them, they will definitely be impressed at your effort. Trust me, you don't want to work hard on a meal and find out that the person you made it for can't eat it.

Step 1: Get Ready

Clean your kitchen, empty out your sink, and make sure that all of the bowls and knives and spoons you will need are clean and ready.


Large microwave safe bowl (2 liter)
Medium microwave safe bowl (1.5 liter)
Large microwave safe plate (or lid for the large bowl)
Medium microwave safe plate (or lid for the medium bowl)
Large mixing bowl (2 liter)

Measuring cup(s) for liquids
Measuring spoons

One large resealable bag (gallon)

Cutting mat
Sharp knife

Make sure you have all of the ingredients:

One fresh red bell pepper
One package of saffron rice (brand doesn't matter)
2 tbsp (tablespoons) Margarine

One bunch of fresh asparagus

Two skinless chicken breasts
OR Two giant mushrooms

½ cup of plain bread crumbs
3 tbsp (tablespoon) of parmesan cheese
1 tsp (teaspoon) of poultry seasoning
½ tsp (teaspoon) of paprika

One can of pineapple chunks
One can of mandarin oranges
Fresh seedless red grapes

Choosing peppers: Get the darkest red pepper you can find. You want a firm pepper with a fresh looking stem. Don't get it if it has any soft spots or mold. Check the end of the pepper because often that's the first part that gets moldy.

Choosing asparagus: If you have a choice, pick the slenderest stalks, because they will be more tender. Don't buy moldy or rubbery asparagus. It should be firm and clean, and the buds at the tip should not look like flowers; they should be closed up tight.

Choosing mushrooms: Make sure to get smooth mushrooms, they should not be wrinkly on the top, nor should they look dried out. If you can, you should look at the underside of the mushrooms. Keep in mind that fresher mushrooms have lighter colored fins on the bottom. Compare several, and you will probably see a difference. Stale mushrooms will have a dusky black underside, and the fins will be damaged and crumbly. Stay away from slimy or moldy mushrooms.

Choosing grapes: Pick firm grapes, without mold. Green, flexible stems are better than dried out, brown ones. The end of the grape where it joins the vine should not be slimy or discolored.

If you're using frozen chicken breast, put it in the refrigerator the night before you're going to cook it, so it can defrost completely. (Don't ever defrost chicken outside of the fridge, because it can go bad very quickly, and you won't know it until you're sick from it. That's not the kind of impressive meal you want to be remembered for.)
i wish i new about this 2 years ago! Im 12, and an expert cook for my age. its great for young kids who cant use a stove! Some improvement ideas. you need some sauce, perhaps a can of chicken broth, thickened with baking flour. a great thing to do with that pepper would be to cut it in half, and put the rice in it for stuffed peppers. Through some garlic on that chicken. grated cheddar and mozzarella on that mushroom would be great! other then that great instructable +1!
Never use caned broth. It's never as good as fresh homemade broth. also, if you cook the rice in the broth It turns out wonderfully.
Homemade broth takes a long time to make and all the ingredients required aren't exactly cheap either :) the instructable seems to be made for the inexperienced and making a broth is probably too much in one go. I'm not disputing your claim about the taste though ;)<br />
Homemade broth or vegetable/chicken stock is very easy and quick to make, it's also almost FREE. All you need are the bones or leftover chicken from a Sunday lunch. You could use any kind of vegetable to make the stock, just break up the vegetables and/or the chicken, put everything into a large saucepan, cover with fresh cold water, season to taste and turn up the heat to simmer. Turn down as soon as it starts to simmer and put on a VERY low heat or it will become cloudy. Leave to heat as you carry on with the rest of your day, topping up the pan as you go. Leave a lid on to cook thoroughly. When finished - a couple of hours minimum - cool stock and remove the bones and bits using a filter like a colander or sieve. That's the base for your stock.<br>Be imaginative, live long and prosper!
There are some very good broths out there. I've never had much luck with making my own broth. Besides, the time and money it takes to make you own isn't worth any discernible difference (for me at least.<br />
The only reason to make your own (and I make my own often) is to use left overs... the paper from the onions, the tops of the carrots, the water from boiling chicken, etc. If you use ingredients you paid for to make it, you are wasting time as well as money.
Money yes certainly, but not time.
Well, by time I meant that people often make a stock, then use it to make a soup - only they threw away all of the good veggies that they bought to make the stock, which is extremely wasteful, and they spent time making stock when now they are going to repeat the process when they make the soup.
Aw, I envy you! I try to start cooking but I can never find the time! Do you have any tips for a starter? (I'm thirteen)
ummm..... as far as tips go, just cook a lot and you will get better, im almost thirteen myself and i can cook just about anything, just keep practicing... and another good thing, though it sounds really lame, is that i watch the cooking channel a lot, so i have a basic knowledge on "how to cook", and what comes next is learning to use flavor to make things actually taste good ;), also, try to find flavors you like, so you always have a back up if your dish tastes bad, i really like garlic on most things, and mint on anything that sweet (mint fudge brownies are the bomb). send me a message if you have want any more advice. Mr. Geek
&nbsp;Hey Mr. Geek I started out cooking at a young age and i'm now turning 14 soon you remind me of myself. I am really good at using my hands so cooking was great for me. The stuffed pepper idea was great. Im now making sushi soon for my family as a mothers day treat! Can't wait!! Good luck with your future cooking!
I recommend starting with seared meats such as lamb chops, salmon steaks, and most cuts of meat on the &quot;less than hulking&quot; side of the spectrum, moving on to stews and braising, then moving on to eggs (until you can make good eggs, &quot;perfect eggs&quot; are unattainable, as far as I know,), this should give you a stable base.
{Cooks.com}&nbsp; When you search for your recipe, use&nbsp;the word Easy or Simple in front and you will get some great recipes.&nbsp; It also has tips and tricks just like those church cook books.&nbsp; I'm not a beginner anymore and I still use it for ideas.
I grill mushrooms like that sometimes, and I put garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese on it.&nbsp; Yum!
Honestly, I thought that what he had in the spoon was garlic, then I read the package it came out of.
You're right! Those are all great ideas. I especially like the idea of the stuffed peppers. Plus, the mushroom is a little plain, so it could definitely use sprucing up with garlic & some grated cheese. Thanks for your feedback. :) CW
The brand/kind you buy does matter.&nbsp; I was in a hurry the other day and purchased that other brand of yellow rice (the one you aren't using but is in the picture) without paying attention.&nbsp; I thought it was just saffron rice, but when I cut the top off I noticed seasoning that was definitely not saffron.&nbsp; I&nbsp;read the ingredient list and it was made with defatted chicken (I believe that is what it was).&nbsp; That's a no-go for me as a vegetarian.&nbsp; READ&nbsp;THE&nbsp;INGREDIENTS!!!<br />
Wow. Sorry about that oversight. I was pretty sure I did read the ingredients. I'll have to check them again. I have several vegetarian friends and I have eaten that brand in at least two of their homes. They will be very interested to know this. Correction: The brand doesn't matter as long as the ingredients are confirmed vegetarian.
Well thought out, excellent documentation. Keep up the good work.<br />
I have those exact same mushrooms (Large portabelo?) and bread and paprika AND parmasan cheese, so gonna make that portion of this dish for lunch today methinnks :P<br /> A most nourishing instructable :D<br />
with the Asparagus you forgot to mention that it is better thin than thick
In step one, there are instructions to choose the slenderest stalks because they'll be more tender. I suppose it's easy to miss though. Asparagus amateurs, beware that thicker stalks can be woody and gross, so select the skinniest, most delicate stalks you can find.
great dorm food.
Looks good! +
This really IS impressive! +1 rating Faved

About This Instructable


62 favorites


Bio: I am a former zookeeper. One thing you may not know, zookeepers often have to make their own specialized tools, enclosures and supplies. It's ... More »
More by weiblen.c: Aquarium plant number 2 Build a better aquarium plant Quarantine tank for amphibians
Add instructable to: