Baking pies, roasting a turkey and warming up the side dishes for your family’s Thanksgiving feast can be hard on your electric bill if you rely on your oven to do all the work.
This Thanksgiving, consider using your stovetop, barbecue grill, microwave oven, slow cooker, toaster oven, electric skillet and even your blender or food processor to “cook” your bird and all the trimmings.
Here are some tips for a more energy-efficient Thanksgiving.
- Give your oven a break and your family a treat by smoking or grilling your turkey outdoors in your barbecue grill. It’s a quicker way to cook a bird, and the smoky flavor is a nice change from a traditional, oven-roasted turkey.
- Use the microwave oven to heat up vegetables, potatoes and other side dishes.
- Consider serving some food that doesn’t need cooking. The turkey, stuffing and potatoes will be nice and hot. Add some variety to the menu by preparing a few cold salads and raw vegetables with dip. Experiment with no-bake desserts, like frozen peanut butter pie or no-bake cheesecake.
- When you do use the oven, resist opening the door to check on the turkey or pies. Every time you peek inside, you let enough heat out that the oven has to work harder to get back to the proper temperature.
- Bake everything at the same time: pies, bread, turkey, potatoes. The more your oven can do at once, the less time you’ll need to use it. Leave enough room between items for air and heat to circulate.
- Choose glass or ceramic pans for the oven. They cook food at temperatures as much as 25 degrees lower than metal pans.
- The burners on your cooktop will work more efficiently if you match the size of the burner to the size of the pot. Placing a small pot on a larger burner wastes the heat from the part of the burner that doesn’t touch the pot.
- Clean the burners and the oven. There’s no need for your appliance to spend any energy heating spilled, baked-on food that you haven’t cleaned up yet. If you use the self-cleaning function on your oven while it’s still hot after you use it to prepare a meal, it will use the residual heat and work quicker.