How to Bake in a Convection Oven?

As many homes are equipped with conventional ovens, this has become the traditional tool in which to prepare meals. However, as times are changing and many families spend little or no quality time together, the use of convention ovens seem to be feasible. As convection ovens prepare food in less time than traditional ovens, this allows more quality time to be spent among family members. Learning how to cook in a convection oven is quite easy once you gain an understanding of how convection ovens work and familiarize yourself with its features.

What is a Convection Oven?

A convection oven, like a conventional oven, is a tool that is used to cook food. This oven has the ability to prepare food similar to a traditional oven, in that the same foods can be cooked with equal quality and taste. Convection ovens, however, do cook differently. Unlike traditional ovens, convection ovens use hot, forced air as a form of energy required to cook food. This forced air, which enters the convection oven by way of internal vents, has the ability to circulate throughout the oven, while evenly distributing heat. This evenly distributed air will allow uncooked food to cook evenly and thoroughly. Therefore, the use of this oven does not require food to be turned to the other side in order to cook to completion. The turning of food, in order to cook to completion, is a characteristic associated with conventional ovens.

Getting to Know Your Convection Oven

As convection ovens differ in style, it is important to know how your particular oven works. Although the features on a convection oven may differ slightly, the general use of these features are similar to those on a conventional oven. The basic features of a convectional oven consists of a start and end button in addition to a temperature setting feature and timer. Since convection ovens may differ among manufacturers, take time to familiarize yourself with the features of your particular oven; this will result in quality, tasty food you desire and expect.

How to Prepare Food in Your Convection Oven

Although convection ovens may slightly differ according to manufacturers, the cooking techniques remain the same. While using a convection oven, it is important to use pans with low sides. Such pans will allow hot, flowing air to be evenly distributed among the food. The use of pans with high sides result in poorly cooked food. As such, these foods do not receive a complete circulation of hot, flowing air in order to cook thoroughly. Another important cooking technique is to leave food uncovered, as covered food will not cook thoroughly. Any form of covered food will not be exposed to the proper amount of hot, circulating air. Keep in mind, that this is the sole use of energy used by a convection oven.

Things to Remember While Cooking with Your Convection Oven

While preparing some of your favorite dishes, it is important to use a food thermometer. This is especially true if your meal involves any type of whole poultry. Since the cooking time of a convection oven is shorter than that of a conventional oven, it is important to do a routine food check in order to ensure that your food is not insufficiently cooked or overcooked. Since the cooking time of a convection oven is approximately 20 to 25 percent shorter than that of a conventional oven, it may be desirable to check the readiness of your food at regular intervals, possibly every 30 minutes. As your food gets closer to being fully cooked, however, it is advisable to check the readiness of your food at shorter intervals.

Once you become familiar with your convection oven by reading the instruction manual and cooking various dishes, you will find how easy and feasible it is to use a convection oven. Simply keeping in mind the little things to remember, while using your convection oven, will result in the quality, tasty food you desire and expect. In no time, you will be on the road to cooking fabulous dishes your family will absolutely love. Additionally, as the time spent cooking will be less, you will gain quality time to spend with those you love. If you would like to receive additional tips on how to cook with a convection oven, watch the video below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?=tz61mwywf5g

How Long Does it Take to Bake Asparagus?

Asparagus
Asparagus

Delicious wholesome asparagus is a great addition to any meal. The trick to creating a table full of happy eaters is preparing the asparagus in just the right way to enhance its natural flavors and texture. If you are feeling a little green when it comes to properly baking asparagus, some simple tips will help you.

While you’re waiting for the time to go off as you bake your asparagus, here are some facts to get you excited about your upcoming meal! Asparagus is a good source of fiber, folate, and Vitamins A,C,E, and K. Asparagus is also good news for those concerned about insulin issues since this wonder vegetable contains chromium, a mineral known to enhance the ability of insulin to transport glucose into cells from the bloodstream.

Hot From the Oven is Best

There are quite a few methods to preparing asparagus for a meal. From boiling to steaming, it is a very versatile vegetable. However, in order to activate the full flavor of asparagus and create a juicy, tender culinary experience, nothing pleases diners quite like baked asparagus. The process of boiling asparagus, while it is effective at making the vegetable tender and easy to eat, actually robs the asparagus of its vital nutrients and flavor which give it its unique taste and health benefits. In addition, boiled asparagus will taste watery and bland. Steaming asparagus is great for maintaining the nutrients within the vegetable, but it does little to draw out the natural flavorings contained within. The best method for truly allowing the flavor of asparagus to burst out is to slowly bake and simmer the vegetable to a hot and tender state.

Moisture Means Flavor

The way in which you bake asparagus is almost as important as how long you bake asparagus for. Eliminating the naturally dry and course texture by adding some moisture and marinating juices can transform the way your asparagus dish cooks up. Once the asparagus has been washed and the course ends have been cut off, be sure to drizzle some olive oil over the stems. You can substitute a pad of butter or other spread as well. Finish off with a dash of salt and rosemary, or a fragrant herb of your choice, to enhance the flavor. The asparagus stems can be placed directly in a glass pan or can be laid over a layer of tin foil on a broiling pan. Cover the pan with an additional layer of tin foil before placing it in the oven in order to create a steam effect. Ina Garten, the maven of fresh meals, recommends kosher salt and fresh black pepper as a “dressing” for her asparagus recipe.

Bake Time

Since asparagus is an often overlooked vegetable, many people who embark on the process of preparing it find themselves asking, how long does it take to bake asparagus? The answer is, quicker than you think! Even though raw asparagus is a dense vegetable, its bake time is surprisingly quick. A one pound bundle, which is typically the weight packaged for sale in grocery stores, should sufficiently serve four adults. Bake times can be adjusted slightly to amend for a larger or smaller portion when you are embark on your own preparation. With an oven pre-heated to 400F degrees, asparagus should be ready in about fifteen minutes. The ends should have a slight brown crisp to them, while the main stem will darken without blackening. To test that the asparagus is fully baked, insert a fork into the vegetable’s flesh. The flesh should be tender enough to break the skin and “smoosh” down without resistance. Remove the asparagus from the oven before it becomes mushy.

How to Bake without Using an Oven?

There are many reasons why someone would want to learn how to bake without using an oven. For example, biscuits baked fresh over a campfire can be a wonderful treat and a great way to start a day in the wilderness. Other times people might be living in a travel trailer without an oven or perhaps you simply want to keep the heat out of your kitchen and find an alternative way to bake some of your favorite foods. Regardless of the reason, baking many foods is certainly possible and an oven is not necessarily an essential component.

Baking in a Cast Iron Dutch Oven

The cast iron Dutch oven has been a favorite vessel for cooking all types of foods and has been in use for generations. This simple pot can be used to boil water, cook soup and bake biscuits, beans and a variety of breads. A favorite treat is corn bread baked in the Dutch oven over a campfire.

When you are cooking over a campfire, you want to be sure to get your cooking area organized. Grease the inside of your Dutch oven and pour the batter into the pan and place the cover on the pot. The trick with baking in this type of vessel is that you need to surround it with heat, as much as possible. You should have a layer of coals to set the pan on, make sure it is fairly level. Then place more coals on the top of the Dutch oven. This will create an oven environment for your food to bake in.

Bake in Your Crockpot

The crockpot makes an excellent environment for baking. You can either bake directly in the crock that comes with your crockpot or you can use a clean coffee can to hold bread dough and other foods. Simply place your food inside the crockpot and let it bake. This is an excellent way to bake meat, breads and desserts. In fact, you can adapt almost any recipe to be used with your crockpot.

Baking with the Sun

The process of baking involves placing food in some type of environment where it will be surrounded by heat. The modern oven makes it extremely easy to regulate the temperature and turn out perfect baked goods; however, you can even construct a simple solar oven that utilizes nothing more than the power of the sun to bake your food. This type of oven will certainly take longer than your traditional oven, but it is easy, fun and good for the environment. A solar oven is also something that can be extremely helpful when the electricity is out or you find yourself looking for a way to cook at a cabin or other remote location.

Other Sources of Baking without Using an Oven

Of course, you can use your Dutch oven or other covered pot to create a baking environment either by using the coals from a campfire or some other type of heat source. For example, the same principles that applied for the campfire can also be applied to baking on your stove top. The only problem with this method is that you do not have hot coals to place on top of your pot, so be sure you thoroughly preheat the pan, then place your food inside and cover tightly. Make sure there are no areas where the hot air can escape. A strip of foil around the gap between the pot and lid is a great way to seal your improvised oven. Watch the temperature carefully so that your food does not burn.

Another good heat source that can be used for baking is an electric fry pan. Depending on the type of food you are baking, you might want to put a little water in the bottom to more evenly distribute the heat. This is much like a water bath that is used for baking custards and other delicate foods. Any pan that fits inside the electric fry pan can be used to bake bread, beans, biscuits and cakes.

With a little ingenuity and creativity you will begin to see the baking possibilities in a whole new way. Simply create an environment where you can both contain your food, while also providing a consistent heat source to surround it. From your electric fry pan to a campfire or crockpot, there are numerous possibilities. Of course, you can even purchase an electric roaster that is large enough to bake an entire Thanksgiving turkey and you will never even have to turn on your oven.

How to Bake Beans in the Oven?

Baked beans are a standard side dish that come out in the summer time at barbecues and picnics. Stop in any restaurant that serves barbecue and expect to find baked beans on the menu. They’re great for large gatherings and pot luck suppers because they are easy and flavorful. While one can simply open a canned brand and heat it on the stove, making baked beans in the oven improves the flavor.

Using Canned Baked Beans as a Base

For the cook who is in a hurry, looking for something convenient, or simply doesn’t feel comfortable in the kitchen, canned baked beans can be used in the oven. A casserole dish or glass pan can be used. The beans of any variety can be placed in a bowl and then it is time to add more ingredients to spice them up. Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans are an excellent option. They are thick and hearty with a wonderful consistency. They also have no extra flavorings added; this will allow the cook to add other ingredients that will create a unique taste. Onions, dry mustard, molasses, brown sugar, and bacon are typical additions to any baked bean recipe. Maple syrup can also be added for a really nice, sweet flavor. For those who love barbecue of any variety, a barbecue sauce of choice can be added instead of brown sugar, molasses, and maple syrup. Tomato sauce or paste can be used as well. Everything can be blended in the mixing bowl and then spread in the pan. Next, brown sugar is sprinkled on top and slices of raw bacon are layered across the top. The pan is then set in the oven. Baked beans that are cooked in the oven will come out best when baked on a low heat for a long period of time until the beans really start to bubble and the bacon is completely cooked. Baking at 300 degrees for about two hours should be sufficient. Recipes.com provides Sandy’s Baked Beans recipe that uses canned baked beans and a simple recipe. If using baked beans that already have sauce, it would be wise to add fewer ingredients so that there isn’t an overkill in flavoring. They will not need to bake for as long of a period either and may be preferred for those times when in a hurry.

Oven Baked Beans from Scratch

When choosing to make baked beans from scratch in the oven, many of the ingredients will be the same. The main difference is the beans that are used. Dried navy beans are the most popular choice and they need to be prepared ahead of time before they are baked. The first step is to soak them overnight to soften the beans. They will then be boiled for an hour to an hour and a half. The next step is to start adding the ingredients to the beans in a mixing bowl in the same manner that the recipes are prepared with canned baked beans. Cooks.com has a baked bean recipe that uses navy or white beans. Garlic, worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper and black pepper are some new additions that give this particular recipe a kick. This particular version of baked beans has to bake at 400 degrees for an hour and fifteen minutes. It goes well with sausage or kielbasa. Regardless of which recipe is chosen, baked beans in the oven make for a hearty dish that will bring back memories from childhood and are a great comfort food. This is a definite must for anyone who wants something that will stick to the ribs. One of the best parts about baked beans that are made in the oven is the ability to personalize the recipe. The cook can toss in anything he or she prefers. It can be an Italian variety with a tomato base and sliced pepperoni or ground beef with barbecue sauce can transform baked beans into something similar to chili. See the following video on youtube for a Boston Baked bean recipe in the oven. This can use canned beans or raw beans that have been prepared the previous night. Give it a try and enjoy this flavorful dish.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fz0QsvEOoJM

How to Bake Asparagus with Parmesan?

Baked asparagus is an ideal side dish to add to any casual or sophisticated meal. Adding Parmesan cheese to asparagus during the baking process will give the vegetable a smoother and more succulent taste. It is important to use fresh asparagus when it is in season, or to use frozen asparagus when it is not in season. Canned asparagus contains more salt and is better served steamed. People who enjoy this particular vegetable may consider stocking up on it when it is in season during the summer and freezing it so it can be enjoyed throughout the colder months of the year.

Ingredients Needed for Baked Asparagus with Parmesan

When fresh asparagus is purchased at farmer’s market or at a supermarket, it typically is sold in a small bundle as shown on Exfoi website. These small bundles typically contain twelve to fifteen individual stalks. This amount of asparagus will adequately serve six people when used as a side dish to complement a main entrée.

Fresh asparagus may be prepared for baking by thoroughly rinsing the stalks with water. If the larger ends of the stalks are very thick and brittle, cut off ¼ inch of the stalk at the end. There is no need to peel the asparagus before cooking.

Ingredients:

One medium bundle of asparagus

¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons of cracked peppercorn

1 ½ teaspoons of sea salt

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

½ cup of shaved Parmesan cheese

Preparation and Cooking Directions for Baked Asparagus with Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large glass bowl, combine the extra virgin olive oil and all other seasonings. The cheese should be placed to the side and not used in the mixture. Stir the mixture together with a spoon and toss in the asparagus stalks. Using your hands, move the asparagus around in the bowl until the stalks are thoroughly coated with the olive oil and seasoning mixture.

Once the asparagus has been coated, place the asparagus in a non-stick baking pan as displayed on the video:

It is important that none of the stalks are overlapping one another. A thirteen by nine inch pan is the ideal size of a baking pan to use for a medium bundle of asparagus.After the asparagus is arranged in the pan, put in the preheated oven. The asparagus will cook for approximately thirty-five minutes. After they have cooked for twenty minutes, sprinkle the shaved Parmesan cheese on the stalks and continue to bake for the remainder of the baking time (approximately fifteen minutes). Adding the Parmesan cheese half way through the baking time will help to ensure the cheese is not overly-cooked.

When you remove the asparagus from the oven, gently stick a fork into the thicker end of one of the stalks. The stalk should be a combination of tender and slightly firm. If it feels a little too firm and you have a problem pushing the fork into the end of the stalk, simply the pan back into the oven for five more minutes.

The finished product should resemble the asparagus in this photo from the Betty Crocker website.

Additional Dressing Options for Baked Asparagus

In addition to the Parmesan cheese, there are other options you can add to baked asparagus to get a beautiful color and nice flavor. Diced red bell peppers and shaved almonds will add a nice crunch and a vibrant color to any baked asparagus dish. You can also replace the olive oil with a compound butter. Compound butter is simply a mixture of butter with another seasoning. These seasonings may include fresh basil, thyme, nuts or cilantro.