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MICROWAVE

Quick Nutrition in Welsh Rarebit for Hungry Child

November 24, 1989|JEAN ANDERSON and ELAINE HANNA | Anderson and Hanna are nutritionists and cookbook authors specializing in microwave cookery

Children are always hungry, right? And they'll gobble almost anything in sight. The trouble is, they dote on sweets and junk food. With a microwave oven, you can whip up something they'll like that's far more nutritious.

Who, for example, doesn't like Welsh Rarebit--a protein-rich, after-school pick-up? Or a crunchy handful of Trail Mix loaded with whole grains? Our Trail Mix can be prepared well ahead of time and kept on hand--just remember to store it airtight so it doesn't lose its crispness.

As for the rarebit, it should be made just before serving. But no problem, as it takes less than 5 minutes to prepare.

Bear in mind, however, that cheese can string and toughen if subjected to too high a heat. The lesson here: use MEDIUM (50% power) instead of HIGH (100% power) so that the cheese melts both evenly and smoothly. This bit of advice, by the way, applies to all microwave cheese recipes--quiches, fondues, even melted cheese sandwiches.

WELSH RAREBIT

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Dash cayenne pepper

3/4 pound Cheshire or well-aged sharp Cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded

8 slices firm-textured white or whole-wheat bread, toasted and crusts removed

Microwave butter, Worcestershire, milk, mustard and cayenne in uncovered microwave-safe, 1-quart measure on HIGH (100% power) 1 3/4 to 2 minutes until bubbly.

Add cheese by handfuls, stirring after each addition. Then microwave, uncovered, on MEDIUM (50 % power) 1 3/4 to 2 minutes until cheese melts completely and mixture is smooth and thick. Spoon over toast. Makes 4 servings.

Note: 1/2 cup beer or ale may be substituted for milk when preparing Welsh Rarebit for adults.

Variation:

For California Rarebit, microwave butter, uncovered, with 1/4 cup each minced onions and green pepper on HIGH 3 to 3 1/2 minutes until glassy. Add Worcestershire, milk and mustard along with 1 peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped medium tomato; 2 minced, canned jalapeno peppers; and 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 2 3/4 to 3 minutes until bubbly. Add cheese and finish as directed. Serve over toasted sourdough bread or English muffins. Makes 4 servings.

TRAIL MIX

3 cups mixed ready-to-eat high-fiber cereals

1 cup shelled, unblanched peanuts

1/2 cup dry-roasted cashews or whole unblanched almonds

1 cup dry-roasted soybean nuts

1/2 cup pepitas (Mexican pumpkin seeds)

1 1/2 cups thin pretzel sticks

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1 large clove garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon ground celery seeds

1 cup raisins

Mix cereals, peanuts, cashews, soybean nuts, pepitas and pretzels in large bowl. Set aside.

Combine butter, garlic, Worcestershire, soy sauce and celery seeds in microwave-safe, 1-pint measure. Cover with wax paper and microwave on HIGH (100% power) 1 minute. Drizzle evenly over dry mixture, toss well and spread evenly on microwave-safe 13x8-inch tray or 12-inch platter lined with double thickness paper towel.

Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 5 to 6 minutes, stirring after 3 minutes, until nuts are lightly toasted. (Watch center for over-browning--mix will continue to brown upon standing.)

Cool to room temperature, stirring now and then for first 5 minutes. Mix in raisins and store airtight. Makes about 7 cups.

Note: In ovens of less than 600 watts, increase cooking times about 15%.

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