bcmom's kitchen

bcmom's kitchen

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How to Cook Your Holiday Dinner without an Oven

Two days before Thanksgiving my oven quit.  Definitely not good timing - as if any time is a good time for the oven to quit.

I had plans for Wednesday, plans that involved lots of baking.  I was going to cook the turkey in my roaster oven while I used the oven to bake pies and rolls.  Without a working oven, those plans changed.  Thankfully I had already baked a pie on Tuesday afternoon, before the oven quit, so I only had two more to bake.  And the rolls, and - well, the oven plays a very important part in fixing any big family dinner.  How do you cook everything without an oven?

Use the roaster oven!  Yep, that's right, those pies and rolls can be baked in the roaster oven.  It's not just for turkeys and big pots of chili.  Preheat the roaster with the rack, then place the unbaked pie on the rack and bake.  Do not remove the lid to check it, because that will let the heat out - at least until the designated baking time is up.  I found that my pies needed more time in the roaster than in the regular oven, so next time I will just bake them longer before I check on them. 

German Chocolate Pie
You may also need to adjust your baking times, but try the regular recipe time first.  An advantage to knowing you can bake in your roaster oven?  You can use it in the summer time when you want to bake, and you don't want to heat up your whole kitchen!

I baked my pies and my turkey in the roaster oven.  It took longer because I couldn't do it all at the same time - one pie at a time and then the turkey - but I did get it done.  Instead of baking the rolls on Wednesday like I'd planned, I mixed them up and formed them into rolls after letting them raise the first time, and then I covered them and refrigerated them overnight.  The next day I pulled them out of the fridge and let them warm up and raise (about 1-1/2 hours), and then I baked them in the roaster oven.

Use crock pots!  Another option for cooking that holiday dinner without an oven is to use crock pots - in addition to the roaster oven.  I bought a triple crock pot last year, and that thing really came in handy.  I mixed up my dressing, and instead of baking it in the oven like I would normally have done, I greased a crock pot (actually I needed 2 of them), spooned the uncooked dressing in, and cooked it on high for about 4 hours.  It turned out great.  Same thing with my sweet potatoes.  I boiled them first, then peeled and sliced them, and layered them into another greased crock with a butter and brown sugar syrup.  Again, normally I would have put the sweet potatoes into a casserole dish and baked them, but they turned out just fine in the crock pot.  Yummy!

The mashed potatoes were, of course, boiled on top of the stove, and I made the gravy on the stove, too - as usual.  I warmed the turkey in the roaster oven the same way I would have done it in the oven - put some of the sliced turkey in a 13x9 cake pan, add some broth to keep it moist, cover with foil.  The hardest part was getting the pan of turkey out of the roaster oven without burning myself when it was time to eat, but I managed.

Yes, it would have been easier to cook Thanksgiving dinner if I'd had the use of my oven, but everything still turned out great.  It just took a little extra planning and time.
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