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Old 05-02-2007, 01:04 PM   #1
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Cooking multiple things at once in oven

ok, I always wondering about this and on Friday I would like to cook multiple things in the oven at once. Let's just assume at this point that it's ok to cook them at the same temperature and everything will take about the same amount of time. Does everything still cook the same? Last night I cooked corn bread and chicken at the same time. Both needed 400 degrees and both only needed about 15/20 minutes. The chicken was done, but not the corn bread. I also get nervous in situations like this when company is coming.

On Friday I want to cook meatloaf and in addition 2 baked potatoes and a very small amount of carrots. I could cook the carrots on the stove though.

It gets even more confusing when your talking different degrees and/or different times. I usually try to plan all my meals to only cook one thing in the oven if I have to and everything else gets cooked ontop of the stove.

Is this something I don't need to worry about?

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Old 05-02-2007, 01:12 PM   #2
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Some items, such as meats and veggies are more flexible when it comes to temperatures. Other items such as breads and cakes are not so flexible. It's OK to cook the flexible stuff at a higher or lower temperature.

For example, if you wanted to do a cornbread at 400F and a meatloaf at 350F, you could do them both at 400F. The meatloaf would be done a little faster than usual.
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Old 05-02-2007, 01:42 PM   #3
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I have had the “shared oven” dilemma too many times. I have learned from trial and error but most often it is just paying close attention to the items as they approach their completed cooking time.

Each oven I have owned has had small variance when items are added. Your corn bread example is ideal because a corn bread in a pan will take longer than a pan of individual corn muffins. This is sort of what happens when the oven shares items. Temperature is varied and heat elements can also be obstructed when additional items are placed in the cavity which is something that is overcome in a convection oven.

I was always envious of the oven my Aunt owned. It had a regular oven beneath the range top and a glass door fronted oven on top. It was great for holiday meals with a large poultry and assorted side dishes.

We looked at a dual oven when we purchased our last oven a few years ago. The second oven was located almost on the floor and it was very small. I just didn’t feel like getting on my hands and knees to remove hot things from the oven.
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Old 05-02-2007, 02:10 PM   #4
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I err on the side of higher heat when doing multiple items, but then I don't bake bread, etc, which is a lot more delicate than braising or roasting. Remember that most meats can be taken out of the oven a half hour in advance, which will give you that time if you need to heat rolls or desert.
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Old 05-02-2007, 02:28 PM   #5
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If you have a microwave, you can nuke the spuds till they are almost done, then finish in the oven for 10 min or so.
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Old 05-02-2007, 03:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema
If you have a microwave, you can nuke the spuds till they are almost done, then finish in the oven for 10 min or so.
Hey, that was gonna be my answer. I love to do baked potatoes this way. I pretty much cook them in the microwave, wrap individually, place in oven for however long - the more done the better.
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Old 05-02-2007, 03:32 PM   #7
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I read somewhere that potatoes coked in the microwave aren't really baked. They're more like steamed.

That said, I never cook anything in the micorwave anyway because my microwave died unexpectedly about 6 months ago.
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Old 05-02-2007, 04:23 PM   #8
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I guess potatoes cooked in the microwave WOULD be considered steamed. I've always cooked mine that way. I put them in corning ware w/about 1/2" of water, cover it & then nuke for about 20 minutes -- same w/sweet pots. Comes out perfect every time.
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Old 05-02-2007, 05:03 PM   #9
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I use the microwave/oven combo as well. I like the dry crisp skin the oven gives you. I usually bake them for 30 minutes.

Microwaved potatoes are steamed and even after baking in the oven, they contain more water than fully baked potatoes. I learned that the hard way once when trying to make twice baked potatoes.
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Old 05-02-2007, 06:18 PM   #10
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Thanks for the suggestions guys
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Old 05-02-2007, 10:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caine
I read somewhere that potatoes coked in the microwave aren't really baked. They're more like steamed.

That said, I never cook anything in the micorwave anyway because my microwave died unexpectedly about 6 months ago.
But they still make a great "baked" potato. After they are fully done I will wrap in foil and bake for another hour or so while I do other things. When I take them out the flesh is a brownish/yellow color and it has the BEST flavor and they are very tender and moist.

Andy M - I will remember that when making twice baked potatoes. I won't take any shortcuts!!!!!!!!
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Old 05-03-2007, 11:21 AM   #12
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I remember how to do a baked potato but I had to look in my old text book for the particulars of the spud.

From “Professional Cooking” Second Edition, Wayne Gisslen: “Properly baked potatoes are white, fluffy, mealy, and steamy. Poorly baked potatoes, unfortunately very common, are grey and soggy.”

“Foil-Wrapped potatoes do not bake but rather steam in their own moisture. The texture of a steamed potato is entirely different from that of a baked potato.”

Doing a Nuke job on a potato is from inside out and cooking is possibly in a whole new category.

Does anyone else eat the potato skin on their baked potato? There is more nutrition available in the skin area and it makes eating the potato a whole lot easier than trying to scoop out.
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Old 05-03-2007, 11:50 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirandgl
...Doing a Nuke job on a potato is from inside out and cooking is possibly in a whole new category...

This is a common misconception. Microwaved foods do not cook from the inside out. Microwaves penetrate a maximum of an inch into the surface of the food. Just as with roasting, the outer surface of the food is heated and the heat penetrates towards the center. The center is the last part of the food to be cooked.

Microwave cooking works by agitating molecules of water in the food and thereby generating heat that spreads to the surrounding food. This is steaming and not a new way of cooking at all.
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Old 05-03-2007, 01:31 PM   #14
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Andy M. I did kind of forget about the molecular agitation depth with a microwave. I guess what I really intended to say was that I didn’t know how to explain microwave cooking in a traditional way.

I don’t use the microwave for much more than heating some vegetables, soups or hot water for tea. It has not evolved into a culinary appliance, at least that I have observed.
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Old 05-03-2007, 01:36 PM   #15
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You can pack your oven if you have convection. But if not, any dish lower down blocks heat transfer upwards to pans above. Convection fans move the hot air around.

My Wolf 36" has a huge oven and very even and reliable temp, but if I want to make use of that great space for multiple dishes the instructions clearly say use convection mode.
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Old 05-03-2007, 01:47 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirandgl
Andy M. I did kind of forget about the molecular agitation depth with a microwave. I guess what I really intended to say was that I didn’t know how to explain microwave cooking in a traditional way.

I don’t use the microwave for much more than heating some vegetables, soups or hot water for tea. It has not evolved into a culinary appliance, at least that I have observed.
I agree. Its primary use at our home is reheating, boiling water and steaming veggies. I do sometimes start baked potatoes in the microwave (5 minutes for two russets) then toss them into the oven for 30 minutes along with whatever meat is in there. I usually cook smaller items for the two of us so I don't need the oven going for an hour to do a baked potato.
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Old 05-03-2007, 03:32 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
I agree. Its primary use at our home is reheating, boiling water and steaming veggies.
It's primary use in my home is holding up the vent hood!
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Old 05-03-2007, 04:29 PM   #18
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There are not many things that I have not cooked in my microwave oven. Of course deep frying would obviously be one of them.

I bake cakes and muffins in the microwave. All of the boneless chicken breast are cooked in the microwave. I am not particularly fond of making sauces in the microwave but it happens.

Where ribs are called to be boiled before grilling or baking, I microwave them.

I think everyone melts their butter and chocolate in the microwave rather than the double boiler.

Precooked bacon takes approx 4-10 seconds in the microwave so you can serve it while the eggs are still hot. Or heat strips for a blt.

I store my hotdog & hamburger buns in the refrigerator along with sliced bread. It is easier to separate buns if they have been warmed for 10 or 20 seconds. Same with pita pockets.

Au gratin potatoes are better from the microwave.

As for baking numerous things in the oven, I bake my breads on the top rack at the highest rack level. Casseroles in the middle. And meat/poultry on the bottom rack. I put the dishes that need to be checked more often to the front of the rack. With the rack at the top being close to the oven top and the food at the bottom being close to the oven floor, the temperature does not vary that much when I have to open and close the door checking on other things.
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