When people decide to cut expenses, one of the first things to go is eating out at restaurants. This, of course, necessitates more cooking which can lead to higher energy bills. Cooking costs are definitely less expensive than dining out but why spend more than you have to? Use these easy tips to keep your energy costs under control.
Smaller appliances (such as microwaves or toaster ovens) use less energy than the stove so use them whenever possible. Microwaves also reduce cooking time by 15-20%. An added benefit during the summer is small appliances won’t heat your kitchen up as much as the stove either. When you do need to use the stove, make sure to use pans with tight fitting lids for faster cooking and make sure the pan fits the burner.
Cook multiple meals at the same time to not only save on energy costs but save a lot of time, too. How much easier (and cheaper) it is to pull a homemade entree out of the freezer than to cook an entire meal from scratch after work! Double your meals and freeze half for one week and you won’t have to make a meal from scratch for the last two weeks of the month. This will also prevent the temptation to go out to eat or order carryout because you’re too tired to cook after work.
The oven uses a lot of energy so make the most of it by planning the whole meal in the oven. For example, baking potatoes and squash while cooking a meatloaf. As in the previous paragraph, you could bake multiple meals, as well. It takes no more energy to cook 3 meatloaves as it does to cook 1 loaf and you’ll have extra for later in the month. Simply cool and wrap in plastic wrap or place in large zipper freezer bag before freezing.
There are other simple tricks for energy savings while cooking. Thaw meat to almost room temperature before cooking. If you turn the burner or oven off 5 minutes early, residual heat will finish cooking the food. Only preheat the oven when baking breads or cakes. It’s unnecessary for other foods. Don’t peek into your pots or oven while cooking. Every time you do, you will lose 20-50% of your heat, therefore you’ll take longer to cook and use more energy. After all, you’re cooking more to save money, right? Use these tips to keep you energy cost to a minimum.