As the dark nights draw in, there’s nothing like having a group of friends around to catch up over dinner and a movie. But organizing takeout food for a big group can be expensive, complicated, and take a while to arrive.
And conversely, who wants to spend all evening cooking instead of socializing? Plus, having an oven on for hours isn’t energy efficient, overheats your home, and limits how many things you can cook.
Don’t worry, because it’s really easy to cook a variety of delicious appetizers and meals for big groups using small, energy-efficient appliances.
Let’s take a look at some of the options available.
All-in-one slow cookers
You’ll find a few references to Instant Pot on powersmart.ca - and with good reason. It can cook pretty much anything you can think of, from stews, soups and chili to eggs and cakes. Plus, it can sauté, steam and sterilize. And if that all sounds a bit too fancy, you can still make lots of hearty meals very easily in a regular slow cooker. Ready to give it a try? Check out the Food Network's Top 100 Slow Cooker Recipes for Every Meal and Craving.
The key thing is remembering to get it all set up the night - or morning - before. Then you can just forget about it until the doorbell rings and dinner is magically ready.
If a pot roast is more your style, you can rustle up juicy beef, pork, chicken or turkey plus veggies like potatoes, carrots and parsnips in just a couple of hours with a roaster oven. It does all the hard work for you, with many models even featuring a lid that automatically bastes the meat while it cooks. If you’re in the market for a roaster oven, here are the Top 10 Roaster Ovens of 2021.
Apart from requiring lots of energy to boil several litres of water on a stove, cooking rice in a saucepan is notoriously difficult to get right. But with an electric rice steamer, you’ll never look back. They heat just the right amount of water to cook perfect rice every single time. And depending on the model you get, you can also use it to steam meat, fish or veggies as well.
There are also multi-level electric steamers available that can steam everything from meat, fish and veggies to dim sum or eggs on different levels, making a super healthy meal in minutes.
And speaking of healthy meals, air fryers don’t use oil like regular frying - and they use a lot less energy, too. But when you taste a few air-fried goodies, you’ll find it hard to tell the difference. Just ask anyone who’s got one.
There’s more to small appliances than you might think. You can make big meals really easily with no ovens, no stoves - and a lot less electricity. Plus, you’ll even save money on hot water as there’s also a lot less washing up afterwards!