The majority of consumers regularly use their roaster oven for preparing whole turkeys or other poultry for meals around the holidays. However, this useful kitchen appliance has so much more potential to prepare a wide range of dishes and entrees. One of the best things about having a high quality roaster oven in your home is that it saves room in your regular oven for preparing side dishes and other courses of the meal. That doesn’t have to be the end of its utility. A roaster oven can be so much more if you are willing to think outside the box a bit.
Your roaster oven doesn’t need to be limited to just main course preparation. Many of top roaster ovens can be used for baking, cooking, steaming, slow cooking, and even keeping foods warm while you finish preparing the remainder of your meals. Let’s take a look at all the ways you can use a roaster oven not just to save oven rack space, but also to simplify your meal prep and offer friends and family perfectly delicious fare at every meal or gathering.
Cooking in Your Roaster Oven
Roasting cuts of meat is extremely simple using a roaster oven. You just need to make sure you place your roast on the included rack to keep it from absorbing its own fat drippings and making your finished product a little too greasy for most people’s taste. Placing roasts, pork loin, ribs, and other non-poultry cuts of meat on the rack also helps them retain their moisture throughout the roasting process, helping you avoid a finished product that is dry or bland as well.
Now, just because this oven was designed for roasting doesn’t mean it can’t also help you prepare some delicious root vegetables for a savory starch. If you lay out a bed of aluminum foil and drizzle your potatoes, rutabaga, or turnips with some oil, garlic, and savory spice blends, you can make up a batch of roasted veggies. All you need to do is quarter your root veggies, drizzle some grapeseed oil over them, toss in some fresh rosemary, sage, a bit of fresh thyme, a handful or so of ground sea salt (smoked sea salt is my favorite), and set the roaster to 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. You will know your veggies are properly roasted when they are fork tender.
You can roast other popular green vegetables using much the same method, including one of my favorites: bacon-wrapped brussel sprouts. It may not be the healthiest method of eating one’s greens. However, it is certainly a delicious addition to any meal, and very popular at parties as an appetizer. You can also roast whole heads of cabbage with herbs and spices, as well as artichokes and other dense leafy greens provided you apply an oil base so your herbs and spices can permeate the greens during the cooking process.
Baking in Your Roaster Oven
Our first thought upon buying a roaster oven is that it’s not designed for baking delicious breads, sweets, cakes, and casseroles, but that’s a common misperception I am now going to dispel. Do you have a craving for fresh baked cookies, but don’t want to heat up the kitchen during the warmer summer months? No problem. Preheat your roaster to your cookies’ required baking temp, plop your scoops of cookie dough on some parchment paper on the roasting rack, and bake for the recommended amount of time. Less heat, less electricity, more cookies. It’s a win-win no matter how you look at it. Oster CKSTROSMK18 Smoker Roaster Oven can do good jobs in baking cookies, muffins and cakes.
Got a favorite cake to bake? Pour your batter in a cake pan, preheat that roaster, and bake on the roasting rack at the required temp for the required amount of time. Your cake will come out moist, delicious, and ready to serve.
Bread fans also don’t have to miss out on fresh loaves whenever they want, either. To enjoy your own baked bread all week, or to set on the table with a delicious meal, just mix up your batch of dough, plop it into a loaf pan, and bake your bread as you would in the oven. Voila! Delicious fresh bread without turning the whole house into an oven.
Last but not least, who doesn’t love a good casserole or a homemade lasagna? Prep your casserole as usual in your favorite casserole dish, set it on the rack in the roaster, and bake it like usual at the required temperature. No more juggling space on your oven rack to get everything prepared for dinner.
Steaming Dishes in Your Roaster Oven
Steamed green vegetables make a delicious and healthy addition to any menu, and preparing them in a steamer tray using your roaster is even easier than using your crockpot or rice cooker. Just add water to the bottom of the roaster, put the steamer tray on the rack, and steam away until your vegetables are tender.
Steaming rice is also a simple matter in a roaster, but make sure you don’t use instant rice or it will not cooke properly. Add rice and water in a 1:2 ratio with a tablespoon of oil or butter, and cook it up at 375 degrees for about 1.5 hours. Or, if you prefer savory rice, add 2 cups rice to 2 cups of broth with a tablespoon of oil or butter, salt and spices to taste, and then cook it up for 1.5 hours at 375 degrees as well. The finished product is delightfully soft, delicious rice that cooks up perfectly every time.
Nesco 481825PR 18 Qt Stainless Steel Roaster Oven is recommended if you want a roaster oven that can steam perfectly.
Slow Cooking With a Roaster Oven
Love oatmeal, but don’t have time to make it the way you like it every day? Fire up your roaster on the weekend and make a big batch of delicious cinnamon and brown sugar oatmeal to see you through the week. Mix up your water, oats (I prefer steel cut, but to each their own), seasoning, and sugar in a greased loaf pan, then bake it in the roaster for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees. Load the leftovers into portions for every day of the week and enjoy your delicious, perfectly prepares oatmeal every day.
Of course, the ultimate slow cooking experience is still preparing soups and stews in your roaster oven. Clam chowder, vegetable soup, and savory beef stew can all be easily prepared and left to slow cook while you busy yourself with other things return to check on your stew when it’s done. For a really good beef stew, cube your beef cuts, quarter your veggies, add savory veggies like onions, leeks, and chives, then salt and other spices to taste. Pour beef stock over the whole mixture, and then cook at 250 degrees for 3 hours, or until the beef is tender.
Chili is also possible to prepare in a roaster oven, and using your roaster actually makes the most sense when you have limited time but still want to enjoy your delicious spicy stew with less cook time than a crockpot.
Warming Food in Your Roaster Oven
Preparing a delicious meal with multiple dishes takes time, and making sure that everything comes out of the oven hot and ready simultaneously is a difficult and complex task that takes a great deal of practice. Until you master the art of managing prep, cooking, and serving times, you can easily take advantage of your roaster oven warmer settings to keep your food piping hot and ready to serve no matter when it will be brought to the table.
Many roaster ovens have additional settings on them that allow you to use the roaster as a chafing dish for buffet style service. Making up a quick batch of frozen meatballs in marinara sauce for a spaghetti dinner at a social or school event? Pop the roaster on warm and let those meatballs stew in the sauce after cooking.
Let’s also say, for example, that you have a casserole that was prepared in the oven but needs to be kept warm until the other sides are done. All you really have to do is set the casserole dish in the roaster oven and set it to keep warm until you are ready to cut up your casserole and serve it. It’s also a great way to be able to offer your guests warm fruit pie that has been sitting in your roaster oven all through dinner, making any dinner party or family meal memorable and delicious
Rival RO180 18-Quart Roaster Oven cooks your food up to 450 degrees and as low as 150 degrees for keeping your food perfectly warm
By now, you more than likely have a vast number of inspirations and experiments to try in your roaster oven the next time you are preparing dinner for your immediate family or a large gathering of friends and family. Finding the right roaster oven in the first place is important. Always remember that your roaster oven is not a replacement for your regular oven. It complements your existing kitchen setup with an extra place to bake, stew, roast, slow cook, and keep your dishes warm while you finish prepping your meals. Don’t forget to keep thinking outside the box, and in no time you will wonder how you ever got by without your roaster oven in the first place.