Author Archives: Katy Flores

5 Useful Kitchen Gadgets to Make Thanksgiving Easy

Kitchen Gadgets

Thanksgiving can be a stressful time if you aren’t prepared. We have put together a list of helpful gadgets that can make your holiday cooking a little less nerve-wracking.

Food timers
Are you cooking multiple things for the holidays? We bet you are. Having multiple kitchen timers will prevent your food from over, or under, cooking and letting you know when you need to remove one of your dishes.

Microwave
Even though the microwave may be scoffed at, it actually is really helpful when preparing Thanksgiving dinner. It consumes half the energy of a conventional oven and cooks faster, which saves time. It’s also great for pre-made foods like your gravy for your mashed potatoes or to warm up the rolls. Yum!

Convection Oven
Having a second oven is useful when cooking a large dinner. Convection ovens also have been known to save 20% of your oven-related energy costs because of how the convection oven cooks.

Food Processor Use the food processor to help speed up chopping vegetables, crushing ice, chopping nuts, mixing pie crust, or whatever else you can think of using it for.

Digital Meat Thermometer
This is a life saver if you don’t want to cut into the turkey early but don’t trust that golden brown crisp. Digital thermometers with the probe that sticks into the bird will provide you a faster result than traditional thermometers, which will let the meat start cooling down by the time it give you a result. The minimum safe internal temperature is 165 degrees.

If you are looking for additional money saving tips, check out our 15 Tips to Make Using Your Oven Energy Efficient.

15 Energy Efficiency Tips for your Oven

Oven Tips

What is this time of year best known for? Large home cooked meals for the family. With the holiday season approaching, we will be using our stoves more often. Here are 15 tips to help make Thanksgiving more affordable.

  1. You are making multiple sides – make them at the same time.
    By putting multiple things in the oven at the same time, you save time and energy use.
  2. Skip preheating
    Unless your food is temperature specific, you can skip the wait and cook immediately.
  3. Keep that door closed!
    Opening the oven will cause it to lose heat, making the cooking time take longer. If you need to check something, turn on the oven lamp, but don’t open the door until the timer goes off.
  4. Utilize the oven racks
    Each oven rack has its own purpose. Use them to the maximum benefit by remembering which rack is meant for what.Top rack: High temperatures, quick cooking.
    Middle rack: Moderate temperature cooking.
    Bottom rack: Slow cooking and low temperature cooking.
  5. A clean stove is an energy-efficient stove
    Cleaning your stove makes it easier to clean your stove each time. If there is buildup of food inside the oven, it becomes harder to remove and you will have to have to use more expensive and abrasive cleaners to remove it.
  6. Choose the right baking dish
    Glass or ceramic baking dishes are more proficient at retaining heat. You will be able to lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees and it will still cook just as quickly.
  7. Don’t use foil lining in the oven
    Some people line their oven racks with foil to keep them clean and to increase cooking time. Foil blocks heat and makes it less efficient. Foil can be used for the food, but don’t line your oven racks.
  8. Stagger pans
    Staggering the pans in the oven will increase the oven’s ability to cook the food evenly by maximizing the air flow.
  9. Make more food – double the amount
    Having leftovers is the best part of Thanksgiving dinner. Microwaves or convection ovens are much more energy efficient and cost effective than the oven. Make more food so you don’t have to cook later in the week.
  10. Self clean the oven – after cooking
    If your oven has a self-clean feature, it uses heat. After cooking, go ahead and turn it on the self-clean feature to use the residual heat that the oven already has.
  11. Don’t cook frozen
    It’s not science, it’s fact! Frozen food takes longer to cook. If it’s possible, defrost your food in the fridge prior to cooking.
  12. Check the seal on your oven
    Is the seal around your oven still in good shape? It might be good to check it to make sure it’s still in looking good. A seal that is tearing, loose, or dirty will let heat out of the oven which isn’t good for the cooking time of your food or your energy bill.
  13. Calibrate the heat
    By using a cheap thermometer, you can tell easily if your oven is heating up to the requested temperature easily. Cooking at the right temperature saves your food and your money.
  14. Keep it Covered
    If you have food that can be covered, use foil or a lid. It will keep the heat inside the covered dish so you don’t have to reheat it immediately and it will assist in the speed of cooking.
  15. Time cooking (turn it off early)
    Just like skipping preheating, if your food isn’t temperature sensitive, you can turn off the stove early so you can use the residual heat to finish cooking your dishes.