With the warm weather coming, I am reluctant to use my oven. Not only because the heat of it will add to the warmth of the house when we don’t need it, but also because of the cost of the energy involved. With summer, our electric bills rise because of the need for air conditioning. Using the oven in a smart way, or finding alternatives is one way to balance out the extra summer energy cost.
Using the Bread Machine
If you have a decent bread machine, you may be able to use it for cooking items other than bread, meatloaf for example. Look online for recipes. You may also be able to make cake in your bread machine.
Using the Crockpot
Crockpots use less energy and put out less heat than do ovens. Plus, I find them to be so much easier. Just place your items in there, set it and get it done. This is how I take advantage of all of the cheap whole roaster chickens at this time of the year without heating up the whole house.
Forgetting the Preheat
Unless a recipe insists on preheating the oven, such as with sensitive baking items, skip this step. Most casseroles, main dishes and side dishes won’t suffer by being put in a cold oven. Trust me. Shut the oven off during your last five minutes of cooking. The oven should be able to maintain the temperature without using additional electricity.
Do Bulk Cooking
It takes more energy to get an oven up to temperature than to maintain that temperature. Therefore, if you are going to use your oven, you might as well take advantage of the fact that it is already heated. Double or triple your recipes or plan on baking rolls while you have a casserole in the oven. Extras can be frozen and thawed or reheated in the microwave later.