Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Microwaving With Montgomery Ward - Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I think, after bombarding everyone with pictures of miscellaneous Corningware patterns, that it's time to actually cook with some of my pieces.  This has not been without it's challenges.  I really wanted to cover microwave browning skillets, but I had a small, or rather, a large problem.  My Montgomery Ward skillet is too large for my tiny microwave.

This is a microwave browner skillet that was made exclusively for Montgomery Ward.....

The piece is known as MW-10 I believe, though it doesn't say underneath.

This pattern is not to be confused with the flower pattern made for Sears, Roebuck and Co....

But back to my Corningware conundrum.  My current microwave is too small for my 10 inch Microwave browner.  I was annoyed that I would not be able to do a demonstration of how it works.  BUT, as luck would have it, when I found my Wheat Saucemaker, I also found a small 6 inch Microwave Browning pan (MW-83-B) for $1.99.

As you can see, it is significantly smaller than my 10 inch skillet.

So NOW I can show you how to make a grilled cheese sandwich in the microwave in 2 1/2 minutes !!!!

I know I know, it all sounds completely insane.  But it really IS possible.  Let me explain exactly what a Corningware Browning Grill is and you will understand.

First, let me say this.  Though browning grills/skillets are made of Pyroceramic material just like all Vintage Corningware, these pieces can ONLY be used in the microwave... No Oven, No Stove.  This is due to the bottom of the pans....

For starters, they have feet.  Normally this would only prevent usage on a radiant glass ranges, since the bottom of the pan would not make contact with the surface of the cook top, but the feet are there for a specific reason.  They keep the bottom of the pan suspended above the floor or glass turntable of the microwave in order for the gray coating on the bottom to function properly.  That gray coating is the primary reason these pans CANNOT be used on the stove or in the oven.

The coating is Tin-Oxide, and it is the secret to a microwave grill pan.  Tin-Oxide has the peculiar property of absorbing microwave energy and heating up.  Thus you can preheat your pan in the microwave just like you would preheat your pan on the stove.

Let me show you how it works.....

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

First, you need to prepare the sandwich, in it's entirety.  Meaning your need to assemble the bread and cheese, as well as butter both sides of the sandwich. (butter fosters better browning, but you could brush both sides with olive oil if you prefer)

Now, place the empty browning skillet in the microwave.  It MUST be empty or Tin-Oxide will not heat up properly. (any food in the pan will absorb the energy and the Tin-Oxide will no heat up)
Nuke it for 1 minute and 30 seconds on high to heat the bottom of the pan. (my microwave is 1050 watts, You may need 2 minutes for lower wattage ovens)

Now very quickly, open the microwave and place the sandwich in the grill pan. (There will me a lot of sizzling)  If it makes it easier, you can actually grab the handle and remove it from the microwave oven.  (Don't worry, only the bottom of the pan heats up, the handle is quite cool.)  I would not do this with the larger 10 inch pans.

Nuke your sandwich for 30 seconds, then flip the the sandwich over with tongs and Nuke for 30 seconds longer.

Remove from the Microwave and Voila!

One Grilled Cheese Sandwich, alla Microwave!

MMMMMMMMMMMM  Cheeeeeeeeeeese!

So tasty, I had to make a second one.  (I was using slices from a sourdough long, so my bread wasn't all that big)

Cleanup?  It's a snap.  A little soap and water along with one of those handy O-Cello sponges and BOOYAH!  All clean.

Here is a PDF file with the preheating for different models of skillet as well as the cooking times of some favorite dishes. (like Grilled Cheese)

Where is your Corningware??


  1. I have the 10inch browning skillet up in the cupboard above my stove. I think I probably only used it once or twice.

  2. I gave my 10 inch browning skillet to my kids. They didn't know what to do with it.

  3. My mom puts hers in the regular oven all the time. Nothing bad has happened

  4. Hello, I'm the owner of several of the microwave browning pieces from Corningware, including two of the MW2 trays which would be amazing for baking.

    Is there any health risk to using these in the oven, given the tin-oxide? I don't care about damaging the tin oxide as I have no intention of using it and there's so many out there in the wild I don't feel that I'm damaging a real piece of history. It'd be great to have an array of corningware bake trays if I can just bake with the tin-oxide.

  5. There should be no ill effects from using your MW-2 in the oven as long as the side with the coating is not being used as the baking surface. It will eventually damage the tin oxide coating, but as long as you are not intending to use it as a microwave "browner" it should be fine. Tin Oxide will not "gas off" or anything like that, the way Teflon coatings do.

  6. I just got one of the 10inch ones at the thrift store. It didn't come with a lid but I have a lid that fits it. Do you brown with the lid on or off?

    1. I usually brown things with the lid off... It prevents things from steaming.

  7. I got so excited when I first saw this post -- what's not to love about a 2.5-minute grilled cheese sandwich?! But only today did I finally find a MW-83-B, instead of the bigger 10" browners. It came with a glass lid, which I will use for my lidless P-83-B, and set me back $5.99 Cdn.

    It works like a charm! Thank you so much for telling us how to use the special microwave Corningware :-)

  8. I do my pork chops on the microwave browning piece I have. I also have the litton one and had another but gave it to a family member. With the pork chops it is a great time saver because it takes so much less time. I just brown them on both sides after putting Old Bay seasoning on them. Tasty.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.