We all strive to be energy efficient in our daily lives, and one easy way to do this is to use your oven more! You’ll find that that oven cooking produces more flavour from simple ingredients, and once the preparation is complete you can forget all about the dish until the timer rings. Want to know more? Take a look below at just what’s better to cook in the oven rather than anywhere else…
Change Your Food Planning
Cooking with natural ingredients is cheaper and healthier, but you don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen watching pans to make sure they don’t boil dry, or constantly looking after sauces and oven top dishes. It’s quick and easy to prepare all your food beforehand, and then use the oven to cook the dish – you can even use the equipment you’ve got in your cupboards as glass, ceramics and cast-iron will all do nicely.
Think about cooking in large batches to save both time and energy later in the week. Remember that the more ingredients you can prepare in advance the less time you’ll have to spend in the cooking! Keep any leftovers to use fried as accompaniments to other meals – try not to throw anything away.
Keep Your Oven Clean
To keep your oven running economically you should ensure that it’s cleaned thoroughly on a regular basis. That means taking out shelves, grills and pans, as well as degreasing the extractor fan and the hob. Sounds like too much hard work? Simply call in oven cleaning experts! They’ll disassemble your oven and dip all removable parts in powerful cleaning solutions, before putting it all back together again. A clean oven will heat up quickly, saving you money on energy bills – and you food will taste so much better.
Learn What To Cook
There’s a huge range of food that’s suitable for oven cooking, but soup is one of the easiest. All you need to do is prepare the vegetables – garlic, celery, carrots and onions for example – season with salt and pepper, and coat with a small amount of oil. Bake until tender and remove from oven. Make up a sufficient quantity of hot chicken stock and puree in a large bowl. It’s really as simple as that!
Making jam is another time-consuming business when you have to cook the fruit and sugar on the hob until it reaches temperature. By using your oven you can avoid this completely – follow the recipe to get the correct ratio of fruit to sugar, spread the mixture out on a large roasting tray and cook on a high heat for about two hours, stirring every so often as the jam thickens.
Roasting beetroot in the oven has another great advantage in that you don’t have to peel them! Pop them into a dish covered with foil for about an hour, then test with a knife to see if they’re tender all through. When you cut off the top and bottom the peel will just slip away. Slice them for salads or sandwiches in the next few days. Roasted root vegetables with balsamic vinegar give a distinct flavour that’s also perfect as a salad accompaniment.
…Then Find Even More Recipes!
It’s easy to achieve the necessary reduction and caramelisation of sauces in the oven. You can use both fresh and tinned tomatoes, adding garlic, onions, seasoning and a touch of olive oil. Place the mixture on a roasting tray lined with baking paper. You can also caramelise onions in this way, tossed with olive oil and salt – they’ll only take about an hour to cook without burning.
To make a classic polenta on the hob is extremely time consuming and needs a lot of supervision. But using the oven instead is quite straightforward. Make up the recipe with a cup of polenta and four cups of water. Add salt and bake in the oven in a covered casserole for one hour. Take the dish out and check to see if it’s still moist, then you can stir in cheese as an added extra. Pop it back in the oven for another 15 minutes for a perfect polenta meal!