Home Cooking Efficiency Tips for the Holidays
If it were up to me, I’d eat Thanksgiving dinner for every meal. Unfortunately, my wife seems to think the novelty would wear off quickly. She has a point. There’s something magical about the way your favorite foods served with a side of family once a year can make you feel. And who am I to ruin that?
I truly hope we all get to spend this year’s holiday feast with the ones we love. And when we gather in the kitchen as master chefs – or sous – we can make it even better by incorporating a few easy ways of doing things a bit more efficiently. It can save you time and money, and maybe even spark some good conversation along the way.
You don’t always have to preheat – If you’re slow roasting a turkey, ham or something more creative, it doesn’t matter if you preheat the oven. Preheating is only necessary for foods with a fast cooking time or those that require a high temperature. If you do need to preheat, don’t do it while you’re prepping. You’re more likely to take longer to prep than to preheat, and you’ll just be wasting energy.
Microwaves can save energy – You can use your microwave when you run out of space or have a few last-minute ideas. You can actually use it for your main dishes as well. Microwaves don’t just save you time and space. They can also save you money as they are more energy efficient than a standard oven.
Cook your food together – There are many dishes that can be cooked at the same time. Choose recipes that require the same cooking temperature and cook them together if possible. And remember to keep the oven closed and only check on food through the window. I always say: “If you’re looking, you’re not cooking.”
Refrigerate the right way – If you’re like me, you’re planning on having leftovers. That’s the dinner that keeps on giving. And while we might overstuff ourselves, make sure you don’t overstuff the fridge. Too much food equals not enough space for the cool air to circulate properly. Also, let your food cool off a bit before storing. If you’re in the market for a new energy efficient fridge this year, we’ve got rebates that are available through Nov. 30.
Use a dishwasher – Dishwashers use less water than hand washing, which will reduce the amount of water you use and the energy to heat it. There are many ways to make your dishwashing more efficient. Scrape your dishes into the trash instead of prerinsing. Make sure the dishwasher is full before you use it. And let your dishes air dry if possible.
I say it every year, but it really is hard to believe the holidays are already upon us. Make this season one to remember. Take some time to relax and enjoy the time you get to spend with the ones you love. I think that’s something we all deserve.