Recipes with Julie Van Rosendaal: Reducing energy consumption in the kitchen

Recipes with Julie Van Rosendaal: Reducing energy consumption in the kitchen

With utility prices skyrocketing, we all seem to be paying more attention to our energy use.

For years, I’ve taken advantage of the heat from the oven while it’s on — stuffing potatoes, squash, beets, and other veggies into the empty space around my banana bread or lasagna — giving me another day’s head start for dinner.

To roast a whole winter squash, stab it a few times with a knife to let the steam escape, then roast it directly on the oven rack for about an hour. You can then easily slice it, scoop out the seeds and scoop out the pulp for use in soups, curries, purées and the like.

If you’re roasting a pumpkin, make sure to fill the oven with other goodies to make sure you get the most out of your cooking time. (Julie van Rosendaal)

You can even bake grains like rice, farro and quinoa in the oven; combine grains and water in the same ratio you would on the stovetop in a baking dish, cover with foil and bake with oven on.

And of course, if you’re roasting something like a chicken, it takes the same amount of time and energy to roast two, and roasted chicken is a perfect starting point for all kinds of meals, including many that start with chopping and sautéing chicken breasts or thighs. .

We talked about how to maximize the energy you’re already paying for this Tuesday Calgary Eye Opener – you can listen here.

According to Direct Energy, most electric ovens use between 2,000 and 5,000 watts, averaging about 3,000 watts.

Electric burners range from about 1,200 watts for the smallest to 3,000 watts for the largest. Induction burners are about 12 percent more efficient.

As for smaller appliances, a toaster oven uses about half the energy of a conventional electric oven, and slow cookers use much less energy — about 150 watts per hour. Sure, they tend to last much longer, but usually a slow-cooked meal only takes four to five hours instead of the eight hours that became standard in recipes, where you were assumed to turn it on and go to work for day.

For air fryers, the average power consumption is comparable to that of a toaster – about 1,500 watts per hour, but it varies depending on the size and model. You don’t have to use them for a long time, or preheat them before use.

Before preparing your next meal, think about how you can reduce your energy consumption while preparing it. (Julie van Rosendaal)

A few more energy-saving kitchen tips: If you have a lot of appliances on your counter, they can consume energy even when they’re off, especially if they have clocks or lamps. You can always unplug them when not in use, or place them on a power bar that you can turn off.

Make sure your fridge is not too cold. If it’s colder than it needs to be, you can get away with reducing the power consumption.

And be sure to keep an inventory of your fridge and eat those leftovers instead of tossing them in the compost bin and starting something new.

If you’re baking potatoes, why not throw in some grains like rice, farro, or quinoa to get the most out of your cooking session. (Julie van Rosendaal)

If you’re looking for the recipe for those curry potatoes that David Gray enjoyed on the show, here it is!

Curry Potatoes With Tomatoes

This is a great way to use up leftover potatoes, boiled or baked. I often toss a few right on the oven rack while something else is baking, so I have baked potatoes to get meals going in the days ahead.

Measurements are pretty flexible here, but I’ve provided some to use as a starting point. Feel free to add a handful of frozen peas and/or cubes of paneer or tofu at the end.

If you’re hoping to hold out the oven while eating, try this stovetop curry potato recipe. It uses your leftover potatoes from another day. (Julie van Rosendaal)


  • vegetable oil or ghee, for cooking
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • ¼ – ½ cup chopped cilantro stems (save some leaves for on top)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 cup (approximately) tomatoes, any shape – fresh sliced, frozen, canned, mashed or even a few large spoonfuls of tomato paste plus some water
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt, to taste
  • a few baked or boiled potatoes, cut into large chunks

Place a large skillet over medium heat.

Add a splash of oil or a spoonful of ghee. When it melts, add the mustard and cumin seeds and cook for a minute, until they start to pop and become fragrant.

Add the jalapeño, coriander and garlic. Season with salt and cook, stirring, for a minute or two.

Add the chili powder, turmeric and cumin and cook for a minute, then add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes become darker and more concentrated and the oil separates (I sometimes add a little more oil or ghee at this point).

Add the potatoes, stir and cook for a few minutes to heat through the potatoes.

If desired, stir in some frozen peas and/or cubed paneer or firm tofu and cook (or boil the peas) through.

Serve with extra coriander on top, if desired.

Serves 2-4.