From My Kitchen

Recipe of the Month

In summer it is often difficult to consume the bananas before they become too ripe. Here is a yummy bread that bakes beautifully in the microwave-convection oven. Make extras and freeze to enjoy with iced tea on a warm summer day. 


1 stick butter 
1 cup sugar 
2 eggs 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 cup mashed banana (about 2 large) 
1 1/2 cups flour 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup sour cream

1. MICROWAVE (100%) butter in microwave-safe bowl 45 to 60 seconds or until softened. 

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend sugar with butter. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Blend in vanilla and banana. Add flour, baking soda, salt and sour cream. Stir together until blended. Pour into silicone or paperboard loaf pan, two mini-loaf pans and 6 Texas-sized muffin cups. 

3. COMBO-BAKE with 10% microwave and 350 degrees (Low-Mix) for 22 to 27 minutes (18 to 20 for cups) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely; remove from pans. Store tightly wrapped in refrigerator. 

About 20 Servings

TIPS  >With glass, be sure to grease or spray baking pan before adding batter. 

>Bread freezes well. 

>Chopped nuts can be added just before pouring into pan. For a spicy flavor, add1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or nutmeg with salt. 

>Freeze ripe bananas; thaw before using in a bread recipe like this one.

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Microwave Convection Cooking. Getting Started.

If you’re a new owner of a motor coach or other RV, you may find that your main baking and roasting tool is the microwave-convection oven. As you learn to use this appliance, you will find it can do all that a microwave oven can do plus it can also be a regular oven and with some brands a broiler, too. But, the best part is that it can combine convection and microwave cooking to create a “speed cook” type of cooking that will cut many cooking times in half. This speedy setting gives foods that look like they were baked in a regular oven, but are more moist and flavorful because of the reduced cooking time.

My cookbook, Easy Microwave-Convection Cooking will help you quickly learn to take advantage of the main oven features. I have received many comments from people who have purchased the book and told how much it has helped them to understand how the oven works. One person even said, “I learned more from reading the introduction to your cookbook than from reading my use and care book”. If you don’t already have a copy, I would recommend ordering your copy now so you can start unleashing the potential of your oven.

Many owners have attended cooking seminars offered at association rallies and at rallies sponsored by manufacturers where I show how to use the Sharp Microwave-Convection ovens. One attendee came back the next day to report that after 10 years of never using her oven, she tried it and everything worked! Upcoming classes are listed in the “Microwave-Convection News” section.

Part of getting started is having the right equipment. I am constantly looking for light-weight, non-breakable good quality items that will make on-the-go cooking easier and more carefree. Items on the “Buy Now” page are all personally tested and guaranteed. Sometimes it is difficult to know what will be most useful. If you are just getting started, consider one of the two “Starter Sets” listed below

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  • 1 Easy Microwave-Convection Cookbook
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Healthy Cooking.

Microwave convection cooking.

I have found xylitol (sugar) in a few more health food stores. There are some other products that are slower metabolizing that make good replacements for sugar if you do not want to use an artificial sweetener such as Splenda. it is a very good product for sweetening as well as cooking. The package I recently purchased says it does not cause foods to rise like sugar, but is otherwise good for baking. When you need the additional rising, I would suggest using half xylitol and half sugar. Since diabetes is an increasing risk to my husband, along with heart issues, we are especially diligent about using whole grains and carbohydrates that have a slow metabolism rate. In my recent classes, I used the white whole wheat flour for both baked recipes with very good results. Here are some of the things we have enjoyed in recent weeks.

Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies, page 71 "On-the-Go" book with 1 cup xylitol to replace white and brown sugar. Also used half ground almonds for flour.

White Whole Wheat Flour. This product is wonderful and can replace all purpose flour with minimal change in texture and flavor. It is made by King Arthur and available in some upscale food stores. I've used it in cakes, breads, crusts and even the Pannekuchen, page 60, "On-the-Go" book. I have used it for most class recipes recently and everyone agrees that you do not sacrifice flavor for whole grain. I recently found this product in our natural foods store, made by Bob's Red Mill. This product is more like whole wheat flour. I felt it was best when mixed with about half white flour than using it totally as the white flour replacement.

For an easy fresh fruit topping, blend together equal amounts of cottage cheese and plain yogurt. Mix in a little xylitol or Splenda for desired sweetness and a little almond extract. Store in covered container in refrigerator. Use as a creamy sauce with fresh fruit or as a substitute for whipped cream over cake or strawberry shortcake.

Make your own Maple Syrup by combining about 1/2 cup xylitol with 1/4 cup water. Microwave (100%) 2 to 3 minutes or until boiling and Xylitol is dissolved. Stir in 1/4 cup brown rice syrup and 1/4 teaspoon maple extract. Store in refrigerator. This is great with pancakes or waffles made with white whole wheat flour.

In the granola recipe that follows, I sometimes add 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour along with 1/4 cup additional brown rice syrup. This makes a more chunky product that is better for snacking.

I love pickled beets and have found they taste just as good made with xylitol as with sugar. You can microwave the beets or cook on a burner...or, start with canned beets.

Pickled Beets
  • 1 lb. medium-sized fresh beets, tops cut off with 1 inch stem on beets Water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Xylitol or sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Dash ground cloves

  1. Wash beets. Place in 2-quart microwave dish; cover with water. Cover; cook with sensor setting, using fresh vegetable (hard). Let stand covered 5 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool in cold water. Remove and discard outer skin by removing stems and rubbing remainder to loosen. Slice beets into storage dish.
  2. Combine xylitol, salt, mustard, vinegar, water and cloves in 1-cup glass measure.
  3. MICROWAVE (100%), uncovered, 30 to 40 seconds or until heated. Stir until sweetener is dissolved. Pour over beets. Mix lightly to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate until served.

About 6 Servings

TIPS: Use the same cup used for measuring apples to mix topping ingredients.

  • Sugar can be substituted for xylitol.
  • Use tart apples for the best flavor. When apples are not tart, sprinkle apples with 1/2 to 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

Our local natural foods store, features a really tasty banana bread that uses sour cream. I took the idea and adapted it to plain yogurt since that has become a staple at my house. You will love the moistness of this lower fat banana bread.

Favorite Banana Bread
  • 1/3 cup light olive oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar (use half Splenda or Xylitol)
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 4 medium)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (use half whole wheat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lite salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  1. Preheat microwave-convection oven to 375°. Blend together oil, sugar and banana. Add yogurt and egg; beat well. Stir in vanilla. Add flour, salt and soda; stir just until blended. Spoon into ungreased silicone loaf pan or greased glass loaf pan; spread evenly.
  2. COMBO-BAKE on low rack on low-mix setting at 375° for 25 to 28 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Remove from pan. (Remove bread from glass pan after 15 minutes cooling). Store cooled bread tightly wrapped in refrigerator.

1 Loaf (About 12 slices)

TIPS: Regular oil can be used. However, the light olive oil is frequently used in baking.

Yogurt helps add moistness while reducing the quantity of fat used. Use non-fat or low-fat yogurt.

This salad does not have a microwave step, but it is so good I am going to share it anyway. Since one of our goals was to reduce blood sugar, we now use the sweetener Zylitol in most recipes (Splenda usually works well, too.)

Broccoli Salad

  • 3 cups broccoli pieces
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • ⅓ cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Xylitol or Splenda
  • 1 tablespoon plain rice vinegar

  1. Combine broccoli, onion, raisins and seeds in serving bowl. Combine remaining ingredients in measuring cup; mix well. Add to salad. Toss to coat evenly.
  2. Cover and refrigerate until served, up to 12 hours.

About 6 servings

Tips: Leftovers taste great, too. Can be stored for up to 3 days in refrigerator.
For variety, use half broccoli and half cauliflower pieces.
To toast your own sunflower seeds, combine 2 tablespoons raw seeds in a 1-cup glass measure. Add 1/2 teaspoon olive oil; mix well. MICROWAVE (100%), uncovered, 45 to 60 seconds or until toasted, stirring once. Cool before adding to salad.

This granola is easily toasted in the convection oven and extra healthy, too, since it has no added sugar. Look for brown rice syrup in your favorite natural foods store.

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup oat bran
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Combine grains, seeds, coconut and cinnamon in large bowl; mix lightly. Combine oil and syrup in 1-cup measure. MICROWAVE (100%), uncovered, 40 to 50 seconds or until heated. Stir in vanilla. Pour over grains; mix until well coated. Pour into ungreased shallow 2-quart silicone baking pan.
  2. COMBO-BAKE on low rack with low-mix setting at 325° for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring 2 or 3 times. Store in tightly covered container.
  3. About 6 Cups

    Tips: If oven is preheated, decrease time about 5 minutes.
    The 9-inch round silicone baking pan is ideal for this recipe since the high sides give it a 2-quart capacity.

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