Did you pick up an electric roaster oven to make your Thanksgiving turkey? If not, now’s the time to grab one on sale!
I have collected a whole family of them–one manufacturer, Nesco, makes roaster ovens in sizes ranging from 4-qt all the way up to 18-qt! They are certainly workhorses in my kitchen, especially in the summertime.
Why are they so great in the summer? Because on a hot day, I can make a casserole without heating up my kitchen! I can take a roaster oven out to the back porch and cook out there if I want to. I can make a batch of spaghetti sauce or chili and let it simmer all afternoon. I can roast a chicken, using the convection feature to get it nice and brown on the outside and juicy on the inside.
Since we have an enclosed back porch, I leave my largest roaster oven there, on a table, year-round. It’s protected from the elements, is out of the way, and gets plenty of use as my summer oven.
My 12-qt. roaster does double duty as a breadbox. I keep a flat basket inside it with any bread we have. When I want to use this roaster for cooking, I simply remove the bread basket, wipe out the interior, and I’m ready to cook.
When we have parties or large family dinners, I use the roasters to keep the food at a safe temperature without drying it out. They’re great in a buffet line. When I hosted the Blue & Gold Dinners for the Cub Scouts, I used several of the roaster ovens that our parish center keeps on hand for special events.
Just a few of the things I’ve cooked in a roaster oven:
- boiled ham with cabbage
- filet mignon roast (every Christmas!)
- sausage and peppers
- vodka pasta
- baked ziti
- baked beans
- spaghetti sauce and meatballs (no splattering all over the stove!)
- roast beef
- pot roast
- pork roast
- Chicken Swiss Melt
If you can make it in a slow cooker, Dutch oven or casserole dish, you can make it in a roaster!
One member of a Yahoo email group dedicated to sharing recipes and tips for use with roaster ovens taught me a great trick: I line the sides of the roaster oven with raw lasagna noodles as I fill it with the ingredients for baked pasta dishes or other casseroles. The noodles will dry out and scorch a bit, but the edges of the casserole will not!
This is the time of year when you can get a roaster oven for a great price! I’ve seen them advertised for under $30. Nesco roasters are pricier than other brands, but you can still find them on sale right now.