Cooking frozen foods in the microwave requires a certain amount of finesse: The size and shape of the food in question will determine how quickly it cooks, not to mention the quantity; two tamales, for example, will take longer than one. Also each oven model behaves a little differently. Here are some tips for success:
1. Know your wattage: Most ovens have a label inside the door that states the oven's wattage power. If your oven is less than 1,000 watts, foods may take a bit longer; if more than 1,000 watts, a little less time.
2. Test for doneness: The easiest way to tell if something is hot enough is to plunge a sharp knife right into the center. Then gently rest the blade against your lip to gauge the temperature.
3. Let it rest: Most foods do not heat evenly in the microwave. Once they are done cooking, let them rest a few minutes before serving so that the heat distributes throughout.
4. Practice makes perfect: The more you cook a particular food, the better you will come to understand what it needs from you and your microwave.