Stew is not a quick dish — even in the microwave. But hearty, homemade beef stew can be out of the microwave in an hour, still half the time it takes to make it on the stove top. When cooking the stew, make sure that the beef remains submerged in the liquid. Otherwise, it will dry out and get tough. The vegetables in this recipe — potatoes, rutabagas and celery — are dense enough that they can be cooked the entire time along with the beef without becoming mushy. If you want to add less dense vegetables such as peas, stir them in the last 10 minutes.