Thinking outside the box

Every family has their own holiday traditions. The typical Thanksgiving meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and cranberry sauce is not standard at every celebration. Some families choose to pass on turkey and serve ham or roast beef instead. Usually, there are number of side dishes that accompany the entree. One common theme seems to be that there is often not enough oven or stove-top space to cook everything at the same time. This is when we need to start thinking outside the box.

We have been talking about this issue a lot lately at AnswerLine as we try to think of ways to stretch your cooking space. Over the last few years, it seems that the number of new kitchen appliances on the market has exploded. We can adapt our cooking methods to include newer appliances as well as older appliances. Slow cookers and toaster ovens are still useful. Multi cookers and Instant pots also solve problems.

This is the first of a three part blog examining some different ways to cook your Thanksgiving meal. Today we will focus on electric roasters. These appliances have been available for many years; they are very useful when you are preparing a large and varied meal.

The roaster will function in the same way an oven does, so you can either cook in the insert pan or place a smaller pan inside the roaster. Be sure to add some water into the bottom of the electric roaster underneath the insert pan for the roaster to function well.

Electric roasters can be used to cook turkey and any other type of meat. They function much like an oven but typically will not brown; if you want browned, crispy turkey skin you may need to put it in the oven or under the broiler for a bit after it is cooked.

You can bake potatoes inside the electric roaster or reheat a pan of make-ahead mashed potatoes. If you need a place to cook the green bean casserole or a pan of scalloped corn, the electric roaster can cook it evenly and fairly quickly. You can also cook dressing inside the roaster and there are even desserts that you can cook in it. Or, consider warming your rolls in the roaster.

Adding an electric roaster to your kitchen for the holiday, even a borrowed one, can make cooking Thanksgiving dinner a bit less stressful

Next Monday, we will examine ways you can use your crock pot to make Thanksgiving dinner.

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

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