I like to cook the old-fashioned way, with fire. Or with gas caught on fire. But, sometimes I dream of a world in which I can cook basic things in the microwave without ruining their texture. For example, making a grilled cheese in the microwave. You can’t grill in a microwave, can you? Or, reheat some pizza and have it come out nice a melty and crisp.
Well, there is a product called the Range Mate Pro, billed as a Grill, Pot, Pan, Rapid Cooker, in which you are supposed to be able to do pretty much anything. But, what about something a bit cheaper? Here is a review by Cooking With Jack of the Reheatza Microwave Crisper.
Video Reveiw of the Reheatz Microwave Crisper, designed to make grilled cheese, reheat pizza, etc.
This product isn’t billed as a griller, but you still can do some basic cooking on it. Jack fries some eggs and then scrambles some, as well.
How the Reheatza Works
If you understand how microwave ovens work, then you can easily perceive how the Reheatza and other products like it work. Microwaves do not react with just any material. They just pass right through a lot of them. So, that is why you can use certain microwave safe dishes without your microwave oven affecting them. They are not heated up by the microwaves. They may, of course, be heated up, via conduction, by the hot food itself. But, microwaves primarily interact with the water in food, causing water molecules to dance around and get all energized, causing them to heat up. This heat is then transferred to the food, cooking it. You can read more about that here.
Reheatza says that the secret is in the ” Microwave Energized Heating Pan” which converts microwave energy into conductive heat. There’s nothing magical going on here. It simply means that the material of the pan is not microwave permeable, but is affected by the radiation and thus heats up. This heat is then transferred through regular conduction, to the food. Simply put, the pan heats up, similar to heating it up on the stove, and the food cooks through direct contact. Only the cooking surface reacts though, meaning the lining around the pan and the lid should stay relatively cool.
In order for the pan to work, you have to preheat it. This means you have to give the microwave some time to heat up the pan, and this occurs a bit more slowly than on your stove-top. Generally speaking, you have to heat the pan in the microwave for two the three minutes, before adding the food. Then you place it back in the microwave and cook it for another few minutes.
Jack’s fried eggs and scrambled eggs go well. The non-stick surface works well and everything slides right off. He is able to slide the fried eggs right onto the plate, in fact. I will say, though, if you are a stickler about your eggs, the inability to precisely control the heat level is a no-go. But, most people aren’t that particular. The eggs Jack turns out look fine.
He also does some asparagus, and then some chicken, which takes a lot longer than the type of items recommended. It took a total of twenty minutes.
He then does some grilled cheese. The bread turns out soggy and does not crisp up at all.
As Jack explains, the product is really a reheater, not a cooker. Does it make sense to you to put chicken in the microwave and then cook it for several minutes, pull it out, check it, put it back in, repeat, and so on? It is much more convenient to cook it in a pan on the stove.
On the other hand, the standard types of items recommended are supposed to take only up to, at the most, four minutes. But, is it a crisper? Based on his grilled cheese test, Jack says no. However, according to the company, the pan is supposed to be able to heat up to 400 degrees F, depending on the wattage, which should be from 700 to 1200 for proper use. Based on the amount of browning he got on the chicken, there is no reason the pan shouldn’t work fine for grilled cheese. It seems perhaps the pan simply was not hot enough. According to the company, grilled cheese requires a three-minute prehat and then two to three minutes of cooking. If the pan is not hot enough to start with, it will not brown the bread and crisp it up.
Jack recommends the Range Mate Pro instead, which he says does everything flawlessly. From what I can see, I’ll pass on the whole concept. It completely removes the convenience of microwave cooking, or heating if you’re a purist. You can properly reheat pizza and anything else in an oven or a toaster oven and it will likely turn out much better. You just need a little patience, which, in my book, is better than multiple trips to the microwave to figure out what is going on with your supposedly re-heating or cooking food and then try to figure out what the special time-sauce is for different things you want to cook. It’s a lot easier to judge the doneness of your food and know when to stop cooking when you don’t have to open up the microwave, get out a pan, open the pan, check the food, put the pan back in…it’s bit ridiculous. If you microwave isn’t powerful enough, by the way, this product will take even longer, and may not ever get hot enough.
Many reviewers seem pleased with the “crispness” of the food, including some positive results with reheating pizza. But the chief complaint is that everything takes too long! Still others claim it just doesn’t work at all. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
This may be something college students could use if they live in a dorm where hot-plates or toaster ovens are not allowed. Then again, some dorms may allow portable induction burners, like Secura Portable Induction Countertop Burner, which do not actually heat up themselves, yet heat the pan.