Practical Cooking for Kids and Adults
Updated: Jan 6
Convection and Steam ovens are great tools for preparing simple family meals, especially if you are catering to a variety of food preferences from different family members. The key is being able to cook on multiple racks at one time with no transfer of flavor. So if you are cooking chicken and vegetables for the children but you prefer to have fish, the fish can be added into the oven towards the end of the cooking and everything will be ready to serve at the same time.
How to Prepare Two Similar Meals at the Same Time
Here are some examples of how you can prepare similar meals at the same time to appeal to different tastes.
Dinner for the Kids - Baked Chicken with Steamed Rice and Vegetables
Dinner for the Adults - Baked Spice Rubbed Chicken with Risotto and Roasted Vegetables
A simple meal of chicken and rice with some steamed vegetables may be appealing to children, but a flavorful version more suited to the adult palate can easily be cooked at the same time.
Chicken pieces baked in Convection are very juicy, they can be seasoned according to taste, and baked in the Convection oven for approximately 30 minutes.
While the chicken is baking, rice for the children and risotto for the adults can be steamed in the Steam oven. Vegetables can be roasted for the adults along with the chicken while vegetables for the children can be added to the Steam oven. Yes, it takes a little planning but placing food in an oven is easier than cooking in multiple pots on the cooktop.
Here are some more examples of using both ovens to prepare similar meals. Dinner for the Kids - Italian Meatloaf, Steamed Potatoes (for mashed potatoes), and Steamed Vegetables
Dinner for the Adults - Italian Meatloaf, Oven Polenta, and Roasted Vegetables.
Dinner for the Kids - Oven Baked Salmon, Steamed Ravioli, and Vegetables.
Dinner for the Adults - Oven Baked Salmon, Roasted Vegetables, and Steamed Quinoa.
Getting a Head Start on Your Next Meal!
Another way to make good use of your appliances is if you can do some simple prep for another meal while tonight’s dinner is cooking in the oven. Then when you sit down to eat the meal you prepped can go into the oven to cook. You can make a same version of the braise for the kids and add a bit of alcohol and spice to the adult version and both pans can cook in the oven at the same time.
Braises need approximately 2 hours to cook and the food should be cooled before being placed into the refrigerator. To speed up the cooling process remove the braise from the cooking pan and spread it into an oblong oven-safe casserole with a lid. All you will have to do is reheat the braise and steam some vegetables to complete the meal.
Warming casseroles are a little labor-intensive to prepare but they also make a great meal.
Again while adults may prefer more interesting flavors kids are often happy with just Mac N Cheese. If you cook enough pasta for two casseroles and make enough cheese sauce for two then you can customize the adult version with some steamed vegetables, some sauteed mushrooms, and bacon or some spicy sausage.
Can I Cook a Dessert at the Same Time?
I find it’s very easy to add in a simple dessert when baking a Convection meal. Brownies, fruit crisps, or cobblers are easy to put together and can be baked alongside meats and vegetables.
Some desserts such as bread pudding and rice pudding need to cook at a lower temperature and are best cooked in the combination Convection Steam mode in the Steam oven.
Planning is Everything
During the many years I was teaching people how to get the best from their new appliances, I heard the same comment at each class, “Larissa you make everything look so easy.” I would explain it was easy because I had done all the prep and set up the day before, so yes then it was easy for me to orchestrate cooking 3 oven meals plus cook on a gas and induction cooktop while teaching the class.
Planning is key and when you understand the capabilities of your appliances. You too will find it easier to orchestrate the preparation of multiple meals, just plan to make those appliances work for you.
Stay tuned for my next post, Convection Oven Soups, Casseroles, and Stews.
In the meantime please visit the Convection Recipe section of my website and check out the selection of Convection Meals for some inspiration so you can begin planning your meals to meet a variety of tastes.
Larissa, Your Convection and Steam Oven Enthusiast