When time is at a premium, the microwave comes to the rescue. Here are a couple of quick treats.

Arm-chair sports fans will never be able to stop with just one handful of this savory party mix made in your microwave oven. When the mix comes out of the microwave, the cereals may seem a little soft but they'll have just-right crunch after cooling.With just five minutes of preparation time and 10 minutes in the microwave, you can have a delicious hot dessert or apple side dish.

Crunchy Italian-style Party Mix

1/2 cup margarine or butter

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 1/2 cups small pretzels or pretzel sticks

2 cups round toasted oat cereal

2 cups bite-size wheat or bran square cereal

2 cups bite-size rice or corn square cereal or bite-size shredded wheat biscuits

1 1/2 cups mixed nuts

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a 2-cup glass measure combine margarine or butter, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Cook, uncovered, on 100 percent power (high) for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until margarine melts, stirring once.

In a 3-quart, microwave-safe casserole combine pretzels, cereals and nuts. Drizzle the margarine mixture over the cereal mixture, tossing to coat evenly. Cook, uncovered, on high for 5 1/2 to 6 minutes or until hot, stirring three times. Toss with Parmesan cheese. Spread on foil to cool (mix will become crisp on standing). Makes 10 cups.

Nutrition information per 1/2-cup serving: 202 calories, 4 grams protein, 23 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 444 milligrams sodium. U.S. RDA: 11 percent thiamine, 11 percent niacin, 10 percent iron.

- From Better Homes and Gardens

Microwave Maple-Baked Apples

5 red baking apples, such as Rome or York

5 tablespoons maple syrup

1 cup apple cider

Ground cinnamon

Core apples. With a paring knife or potato peeler, remove a small spiral of apple peel on the top quarter of each apple, leaving some peel on the apple to form a spiral design. Place apples around the edges of a microwave-safe casserole dish and pour cider on and around the apples.

Drizzle 1 tablespoon syrup on each apple; dust lightly with cinnamon. Cover with casserole lid and cook on high (100 percent power) for 10 minutes, or until fork tender. Serve with a dollop of non-fat vanilla yogurt, if desired. Makes 5 servings.

- From The International Apple Institute