Since my Hubby is a Pastor, Sunday’s are very busy for us and when we finally get home from an exciting day of church, we are all STARVING!!! Quite often, we have a few families & stray souls follow us home for some fellowship and food and I have had to learn to plan ahead and find ways to have lunch ready a few minutes after walking in the door.
I have had quite a few disasters along this learning experience. Food completely burnt, or cold, or I forgot to even put it in the oven or turn on the crockpot….etc… (Those are the days I am thankful for an understanding husband who quickly comes to my aid and we figure out a solution…like hotdogs and mac & cheese! HA!)
Through this journey I have learned that one of my greatest tools in my kitchen is my oven! It’s one thing to have a lasagna ready to cook, but you can’t very well put in the oven for 3 hours!!! Most newer ovens, (even the ones without a lot of bells and whistles) come with a Delay and Cook & Hold feature. Once I figured out how to set my oven, the possibilities of feeding a crowd and having it pretty much ready to put on the table when I walk in the door have become ENDLESS!
Most oven manufactures include these types of settings. My oven is a simple Maytag gas four burner. Dig out your owners manual to find the settings on your oven. This is how I set mine.
Push the delay button. Determine when you need your oven to turn on.
In this case, I knew I needed the oven to come on at 12:00. It was 11:00 at the time I was setting my oven.
Next push the Cook & Hold button.
Enter the temperature needed to cook your food.
After you set the temperature, wait a moment and the 00:00 will begin flashing.
Enter the cooking time.
And that’s it! Your oven is set! It will come on automatically in an hour. The temperature will set to 350˚. It will cook at 350˚ for one hour. And then automatically lower the temperature of the oven to warm. (for my oven 170˚)
The oven will stay on warm until for several hours (It will turn itself off after a certain amount of time). Of course, I hope I am not several hours late to lunch! But if we happen to have a longer sermon (which, thankfully, my husband doesn’t make a habit of…hehehe) or talk and fellowship a little longer at the door, I am not worried about my food burning. Rather, I am confident that my food will be nice and hot and perfectly cooked!
Let me encourage you to find out what all those extra buttons on your stove are for. Do a little practice run on a weeknight or Saturday dinner. (I wouldn’t suggest tempting fate with a large company of people coming to your house!) The point is to make yourself feel at ease about a wonderful, home cooked meal waiting for you at home. No need to spend a lot of money and endure long wait times at restaurants after church (or any similar situation).
Check out my Lasagna Recipe Tutorial for a great Sunday afternoon meal! Set it in the oven before you go. And come home to an amazing meal, nice and hot and ready to enjoy!