If you’re new to the world of NuWave ovens, you’ll probably want a couple of tips and tricks, just so you can avoid burning your kitchen to cinders. All jokes aside, though, there are a few things that are quite useful when it comes to cooking in a NuWave oven, concerning the temperatures and time for different types of food. Naturally, you’ll want to experiment with these, and come up with your own charts the more you use your oven, so you should probably take this article more as a tutorial to get you going than something set in stone. As Captain Barbossa famously noted – “the code is more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules”.
Before you switch on your NuWave oven and grill or broil away, you should be aware of three things – one, the NuWave oven cooks a lot faster than a conventional oven, o don’t let the numbers confuse you; two, you can prepare several dishes simultaneously, so feel free to combine; finally, there are slight differences between fresh and frozen food, but keep in mind that there’s no need to defrost the frozen stuff – you can just pop it in, set the rack, and punch a couple of numbers.
Things You Can Cook in the NuWave Oven
Most of you are probably interested in preparing meat before all else. So, let’s begin with some steaks. For fresh 1–inch beef steaks, the cooking time per side is about 5–6 minutes for rare, 6–7 for medium-rare, 7–8 minutes for medium and 9–10 minutes for well-done. For frozen ones, cook each side for about 11 minutes for rare, 13 for medium-rare, 15 for medium and 17–18 for well done. If you’re cooking fresh 2-inch5 steaks, add 2 minutes for each cooking time.
Conversely, frozen 2-inch steaks cook approximately 15–17 for rare, 17–19 minutes for medium-rare, 20–22 for medium and 23–25 for well-done. It’s imperative that you cook the steaks one side at a time, on “HI” setting. It would also be a good idea to check the inside of each steak with a kitchen thermometer. The rule of thumb says that for rare, the temp should read 135–140°F, 140–150°F for medium-rare, 150–160°F for medium and 160–170°F for well-done.
Now this is out of the way, let’s continue with some pork chops. The first thing you do is place the 4-inch (refers to the height) rack inside the oven, and make sure the liner pan is in place a-t the bottom. Then, turn the oven to “HI”, and cook for 12 minutes for every inch of the chop’s thickness. This applies to fresh chops, while you’d want to add a couple of minutes for frozen ones. You could season or marinate the chops to taste before covering the oven with the dome, although they taste just as great without seasoning.
The most common type of bird meat in an average American household would probably be chicken and turkey, the former for every day, the latter for holidays and other special occasions. There’s a simple table when it comes to cooking a turkey in the NuWave oven, not unlike when you do it in your conventional oven.
The rule of thumb says 10 minutes per pound at 375°F on “HI” power level for fresh turkey, while frozen turkey takes 14 minutes per pound in the same setting. The NuWave Pro and Pro Plus take 12 minutes per pound for fresh and 16–17 for frozen. Make sure you start cooking the bird breast side down, then flip it breast side up about half way through. As far as capacity goes, most NuWave ovens can fit up to 16-pound turkey. This makes 2 hours 40 minutes to 3 hours for fresh, and 3 hours 40 minutes to just over 4 hours for frozen, tops. Remember to use a kitchen thermometer to check on your turkey’s progress. It should measure about 170°F where it’s thickest, right next to the bone.
If on the other hand, you wish to roast a whole chicken, the rules are a bit different, but essentially follow a similar pattern. After you’ve seasoned the chicken to taste, put it on the 4-inch rack, cover the oven with the dome, turn it on to “HI” power level, roasting on 350°F for 20 minutes per pound, plus 15 minutes. Once your chicken is done, take it out of the oven, cover it with a double layer of aluminum foil, and let it rest for about ten minutes before carving it up and serving. We recommend mashed potatoes and steamed green beans.
Just like the previous dishes, the time for cooking fish in the NuWave oven varies due to the thickness of the piece you plan to eat, and whether it’s fresh or frozen. The power level is the standard “HI”, and the temp is 150°F. Now, if you’re making some half-inch fish fillets, the rule is 4 minutes for fresh, and 7 for frozen.
Double the thickness, double the time. For a whole fish (about 3 to four inches thick), it’ll take 25 minutes for fresh, and 45 for frozen. There’s no need to preheat the oven or defrost the fish. Just put it in, cover with the dome, punch the numbers and watch your food get crispy and yummy through the transparent plastic.
We’ll start this section with an all-time favorite – shrimps. When it comes to cooking shrimps in the NuWave oven, keep in mind that the time may vary depending on size. However, generally speaking, 5–7 minutes on the “HI” power level on a 4-inch rack. This goes for fresh, while frozen ones take anywhere between 7 and 12 minutes.
If you’re more into scallops, then you should probably know the difference between bay and sea scallops. For the novices, the basic difference is the size – sea scallops are bigger, and this affects the taste in a way we need not explain here. Naturally, this also affects the cooking time. On the “HI” setting and 4-inch rack, fresh bay scallops take 5 minutes, while frozen need a couple of minutes more; conversely, sea scallops need 7 minutes for fresh, and, again, a couple of minutes more for frozen.
For the pièce de résistance, we recommend lobster, though preparing it is tad less straightforward than what we had so far. First of all, the basics – turn the oven on to “HI” and prepare the 4-inch rack. It takes 13–16 minutes until lobster is done. However, you’ll need to do some work prior to putting it into the oven. Take a large pot of water and boil it up, then put the lobsters into the boiling water, heads first, and cook for two minutes before transferring them to the oven.
The choice is great when it comes to cooking veggies in the NuWave, but let’s stick to the basics. For example, for a corn on the cob, set the level to “HI”, and cook for 10 minutes. You can use either the 4-inch or 1-inch rack.
For root veggies, like carrots, turnips, rutabagas and others, cut them into two-inch cubes, drizzle with oil, and cook on “HI” for 25 minutes. Use the 4-inch rack
Potatoes are a bit tricky, as there are so many ways to prepare them. For whole potatoes (up to 8 oz.), use either rack; set the power level to “HI”, and cook for 45–60 minutes. The same goes for sweet potatoes (up to 8 oz. each). French fries, on the other hand, take only 20 minutes, and you need to use the 4-inch rack.
If you want to make a roasted onion, you’ll first need to cut half an inch off the top of each, brush them with some oil, set them on the 4-inch rack, and roast for about 20 minutes. Garlic, on the other hand, requires no special preparation and takes about five minutes longer to roast.
If you’d like a healthy dessert, you can have baked apples or pears (both are best used fresh). You can use either a 1-inch or 4-inch rack. You’ll have to do some preparatory work, though – for apples, you’ll need to remove the core, while pears should be cut in half and have the core removed. Set the power level on “HI”, and bake them for 20 and 25 minutes, respectively.
Tips and Tricks for Cooking With the NuWave Oven
A final paragraph of advice – keep in mind that the numbers are approximate, not absolute. Don’t be a Sith. Additionally, as you may have noticed, most sections mention a kitchen thermometer as a good idea. If you don’t have one already – get it. Keep in mind, also, that any dish or utensil you can put in a regular oven can also go in the NuWave.
For even browning, turn the food over halfway through. This goes for most dishes, but large ones in particular. Incidentally, even though the NuWave boasts that it requires no oil, that’s only true for foodstuffs that have naturally occurring oils and fats, such as chicken or fish; however, for dry food and seasonings, it’s a good idea to use a non-stick cooking spray or wet water to make the seasonings adhere. Alternatively, you can drizzle the dish with a dash of choice healthy oil, like walnut or coconut. Finally, a safety tip – it’s highly recommendable to wear oven mitts when tinkering with the dish.