Using Convection to Simplify Food Preparation
Updated: Jan 6
So often I read recipes that sound wonderful but are incredibly labor-intensive, so I always ask myself how can I use my Convection oven to streamline the cooking process. After all maybe when the recipe was written Convection ovens were not available, or the recipe writer only wrote the recipe for the thermal bake mode.
Let’s look at a couple of recipes that illustrate how Convection can simplify food preparation so I can get you into my way of thinking.
Turkey Lasagna with Zucchini Noodles
Lasagna has the perfect combination of flavors, texture, a great sauce, and cheese! The recipe can be varied to taste but because there are several components to the recipe it does require some preparation. I know there are no-cook lasagna noodles available but using zucchini for the noodles eliminates the carbohydrates from the recipe, adds some nutrient value, and the slices can all be pre-cooked at one time using Convection.
Because both ground turkey and zucchini are fairly bland I like to add pesto to this lasagna for added flavor.
A good way to approach this recipe would be as follows:
Begin by preparing the sauce which will need to simmer for at least 40 minutes.
Next preheat the oven and slice the zucchini, this will take approximately 10 minutes. You will need at least 3 rimmed baking pans unless you have a large oven that can accommodate ¾ sheet pans.
By choosing Convection Bake or Convection Roast you can bake all 3 trays of zucchini at one time without having to turn them or change the rack positions.
Bake the zucchini in Convection which will take about 30 - 35 minutes.
While the zucchini is cooking assemble the cheeses and pesto so you will be ready to assemble the lasagna.
Once the zucchini is cooked and cool enough to handle now you can assemble the lasagna but, you will still have another 30 minutes or so to wait until the lasagna has heated through. So, not that much effort for a really delicious meal.
Baked Eggplant Parmesan Casserole
This is another wonderful baked casserole that can seem daunting when reading the recipe especially if the recipe says to fry all those eggplant slices. That’s a lot of oil and a lot of frying.
A good way to approach this recipe is as follows:
Slice the eggplant, salt the slices, and set them aside on a rimmed baking sheet for an hour or so.
Now is a good time to make the sauce and to get the cheese organized then set up the dredging station for the eggplant.
Once the eggplant has been rinsed and patted dry, heat the oven and dredge the eggplant as directed in the recipe, first in flour, then egg, then finally in breadcrumbs.
Again you will need 2 - 3 rimmed baking sheets to bake the eggplant slices, but they can all be baked at one time using Convection or Convection Bake. No frying is necessary.
Once the eggplant slices are baked and cooled then it’s time to assemble the delicious casserole and back into the oven it goes.
Remember another nice aspect of cooking in Convection is that you can cook multiple foods at one time. So for example you can also bake a meatloaf or some chicken, roast some vegetables or fish, or bake a simple dessert such as a fruit cobbler while you have a casserole in the oven. That’s the beauty of convection cooking, all you have to do is the planning, shopping, and prep!
Stay tuned for my next post all about cooking complete meals in Convection.
In the meantime, visit the Convection Recipe page for more recipes that will help you get the most out of cooking with your Convection oven. Recipes are organized in categories and provide detailed instructions for success when cooking in Convection.
Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast