Almonds (toasting): Place 1/2 to one cup slivered or sliced almonds in a 2-cup microwave-safe measure. Microwave, uncovered, on 100 percent power (high) for one minute; stir. Microwave 1 1/2 to three minutes more, stirring every 30 seconds. At the first sign of toasting, spread nuts on paper towels. (They will continue to toast as they stand.) Let stand for at least 15 minutes before using.
Chocolate (melting): Place one cup (six ounces) semisweet or milk chocolate pieces or one ounce unsweetened or semisweet chocolate, chopped, in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on 70 percent power (medium-high) for one minute; stir. Microwave on 70 percent power (medium-high) for 1 1/2 to three minutes more, stirring after every 15 seconds, until chocolate is melted and smooth.
Cream cheese (softening): In a microwave-safe bowl microwave cream cheese, uncovered, on 100 percent power (high). Allow 10 to 20 seconds for three ounces and 30 to 60 seconds for eight ounces or until cream cheese begins to soften. Let stand for five minutes to completely soften.
Meat, ground: In a 1 1/2-quart microwave-safe casserole crumble one pound ground beef, pork, lamb, or turkey. Microwave, covered, on 100 percent power (high) for four to six minutes or until meat is thoroughly cooked, stirring twice. Drain off fat.
Pancake syrup (heating): In a microwave-safe measure, microwave syrup, uncovered, on 100 percent power (high) for 20 to 30 seconds for 1/2 cup and 30 to 60 seconds for one cup or until syrup is warm.
Pie: To warm a slice of fruit pie, place it on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave, uncovered, on 100 percent power (high) for 20 to 30 seconds or until warm.
Potatoes (baking): Prick medium-sized baking potatoes (six to eight ounces each) with a fork. Microwave, uncovered, on 100 percent power (high) until almost tender, rearranging once. Allow four to six minutes for one potato, six to nine minutes for two potatoes, and 10 to 15 minutes for four potatoes. Let potatoes stand for five minutes.
Tortillas (softening): Place flour tortillas between paper towels. Microwave on 100 percent power (high), allowing 20 to 30 seconds for four 6- to 9-inch tortillas and 30 to 40 seconds for six tortillas.