For a few months, I’ve been avoiding my work’s microwave.

We’re pretty adept at putting magazines together, but there’s no deadline for cleaning microwave spills . . . apparently.

Even when it is clean, a short line is a common drawback during lunch.

Instead, I’ve been heating lunches in the Hot Logic Mini, which is basically a cooking plate inside a carrying case that plugs into the wall. Use it to heat food in Tupperware or any glass, plastic, paper or aluminum container.

Note: Lately, I’ve used it for Hormel Compleats microwave meals.

Hot Logic says to give food 50 to 120 minutes to cook, but it actually gets pretty hot (in a small dish) in 40 minutes.

The timing is probably the biggest drawback. If it’s past 11 a.m., just plan on using the microwave that day. The Hot Logic Mini is a slow cooker, so it's best as part of your morning routine: Plug it in, start your work.

The food I’ve cooked has typically been hot all through the dish—not just on the surface, with cold spots in the middle or bottom of the dish, like you’d sometimes find with the microwave. A few times, I’ve left it plugged in longer than I had planned, but the food has never overcooked (or blown up like it would in a microwave).

After a lunch at Tucci’s Cucina Italiana, I brought some bread back to the office, thinking I’d save it as a side for dinner that night. The little oven kept the bread warm for the rest of the day without hardening it.

You can’t cook just any packaged microwave meal in the Hot Logic Mini without a little stress. Some call for a few minutes in the microwave, more ingredients or stirring, and then more time in the microwave. It’s easier to cook these meals in the microwave, instead of interrupting your work for the additional steps. Read the instructions on your packages—if it’s only supposed to be put in the microwave once, it will work for the Hot Logic Mini.

Or just put a meal together in a glass container, like in the photo below.

Only once, I had a spill in the Hot Logic Mini, which was pretty easy to clean off the cooking plate. Still I'd recommend spraying it down with cleaner and wiping up with a paper towel at least once a week.

Overall, my lunches brought from home have been better since using the Hot Logic Mini. If you have the time and somewhere to plug it in (and $50), it’s definitely worth checking out.

A few tips:

Make sure whatever you’re cooking has a lid.

Use containers with flat bottoms.

Keep the Hot Logic Mini on a flat surface, where it won’t be knocked off accidently (floor or back of desk is fine).

Keep utensils out of the Hot Logic Mini.