Filling your oven completely is common over the holidays, but cooking multiple items at once makes good sense at any time. Using your oven to its capacity can reduce your utility bills, and it's a pragmatic way to prepare multiple meals for quick, easy dinners through the week. That'll cut the time you spend cooking and leave room in your life for more fun.
Whether you're preparing a holiday meal or just filling your freezer, taking the time to plan your work can save you a lot of grief. Make sure all the pans you're using will physically fit into the oven at the same time and that large items can fit on either the upper or lower shelf. Leave ample space between the pans for air to circulate, otherwise your foods won't cook evenly.
The Main Event
If you're cooking one large item such as a turkey or a roast, organize everything else around that. Usually a big entree starts at a high temperature to crisp and brown the exterior and then the temperature is turned down to finish cooking. That's the strategic time to start putting in other foods. Adding other items makes the main ingredient's roasting time unpredictable, so use your oven's probe thermometer or buy one separately to monitor its temperature.
Ins and Outs
Your main dish can take hours to cook, so there's plenty of opportunity to rotate casseroles and side dishes through the oven. Cool them for later use as they come out or keep them warm for tonight's meal. Particularly helpful is a range with a warming drawer. You can also reheat side dishes after your main dish comes out, while it's resting on the cutting board.
Advanced oven features can simplify your cooking projects. One of the most useful is convection, which reduces your cooking time and provides even cooking and browning. Dual-oven ranges are also handy, providing separate temperatures for different foods. Samsung's Flex Duo Oven takes this concept a step further by offering a removable divider, making it a single or dual oven as needed.
Photo Credits: Pamela Follett/Demand Media
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