The average cost of a 10-serving Thanksgiving meal in 2012 was just under $50, according to USA Today. And that doesn't even include the added costs of energy used to heat your oven and cook the meal. Try these easy energy-saving tips this holiday and you might have plenty to give thanks for when you get your next energy bill.
- Cook things together
If you're making the traditional turkey this year, rest assured your oven will be working overtime. But you can minimize its energy consumption if you pop in your side dishes while the turkey's cooking. Waiting until the bird is done to cook the rest of your food will just keep your oven on longer than necessary.
- Close the oven door
Keep the door closed as much as possible to retain the heat in your oven. If you don't have room to cook more than one thing at a time, cook dishes one right after the other. Once you're ready to pull a pan out of the oven, make sure you have another dish ready to throw in while the door's open. And instead of opening the oven to see if your dish is ready, flip on the oven light.
- Keep a lid on it
Make sure you keep the lids on your pots and pans while you cook on the stovetop, unless a recipe specifically calls for no lid. A lid helps keep heat inside a pot and can cook a dish faster, so you can use the oven less and conserve energy.
- Open the windows
Having the oven on all day can really heat up your home. If you live in a colder climate, you may get away with keeping the heater off this Thanksgiving. Instead, take advantage of the heat radiating from your stove. If the weather's warm outside, consider opening some windows to let the cool air in and the hot air out.
- Use the microwave when you can
Your microwave uses less energy than an oven, and cooks things much faster. Utilize the microwave whenever you can to cut down on your energy consumption and give your oven a rest. Try starting a dish in the microwave and finishing it in the oven for a golden crust.
- Take advantage of residual heat
Done cooking? Turn off the oven but use the leftover heat to keep the food warm until you're ready to feast.
- Air dry dishes
After you've filled up on turkey and pie, the mountain of dishes from cooking and your meal must be washed. If you're using a dishwasher, skip the heat dry cycle. Once the machine has washed and rinsed your dishes, open it up and allow them to air dry.