Running a household can be rough! First, you have to wake up at the crack of dawn to get the kiddos ready for school. Then, you have to sit in an hour of rush-hour traffic to get to your office, just to be chewed out by your boss for being late. Then, after working a mind-numbing eight hours, you have to drive home and cook a perfectly-seasoned, fully-organic, from-scratch meal in the tradition of Le Cordon Bleu. Talk about tiring!

Wait. Why are you shaking your head? Do you mean to tell us that you don’t spend the last hours of each and every day whipping up a beef wellington for your oh-so-lovely fam?

Good–because you shouldn’t!

Sure, it may be nice to cook from scratch as often as you can, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen seven days a week. Taking care of that mental health and getting a full eight hours of sleep is more important than crafting your own pasta.

That’s why, on weeknights, you should turn to your old friend, the trusty microwave for some extra help getting dinner prepared. Though home cooks prefer the stove as it gives them more control, the microwave has been a kitchen staple for the past 70 years for a reason–it’s really, really convenient to use!

The best microwave hacks that you’ve never heard of

Now, we all know that the microwave is great for heating up that left-over casserole, but, with a little bit of out-of-the-box thinking, it can be used in ways that you never thought possible. Let’s take a look at some of the most surprising tips, via our crafty friends over at Household Hacker…

  1. Start heating from the outside

    Ever notice how, when placed in the microwave, food items can still have quite a few cold spots, even after minutes of being zapped? To remedy this, simply place your heatable munchie on the OUTSIDE of the rotating plate. Believe it or not, this simple change will bring some much-needed evenness to the microwaving process.

  2. Cook up your pasta without waiting for the water to boil

    This is a perfect “dorm room tip” if we’ve ever heard of one! If you don’t have a stove handy, but you’re craving pasta, simply pour the dried noodles into a microwave-safe bowl, add enough water so that the pasta is fully submerged, then place inside and close the door to the microwave. For the time, just look at the box and add 3 minutes to the listed cooking time. Your Italian granny might not approve of the method, but it works in a pinch!

  3. Peel garlic with ease

    Love the taste of garlic, but hate the messy, smelly peeling process? If so, simply stick a clove in the microwave for about 15 seconds. When the timer chimes, take out the garlic and put it between two fingers, adding some pressure while you do it. After a second or two, you’ll quickly see the husk slide directly off of the naked clove. Awesome!

Yep, we told you these microwave hacks were pretty cool, right? To learn about even more microwave hacks–and to get info on how you can clean yours with ease–be sure to watch Household Hacker’s video below!

What’s your take on these microwave hacks? Have you tried any of them before? Do you have any of your own that you would like to share?