Monique O'Grady: Clipping coupons is one way to cut your cooking cost, but you can also save in the kitchen by cutting down on your energy cost. Heating food in your kitchen can waste energy. But there are ways you can avoid paying more than you need to and still get that succulent, sear or crisp dish. First, when buying ovens, microwaves and fitting your stove tops remember the purchase price does not include the energy cost. The more energy efficient the appliance, the less pay the utility companies in the future.
A gas stove like this one cost less than half as much to operate, compared to an electric option. And if you have a gas stove top, you can save the most by using a moderate flame setting. And knowing that a blue flame means the stove is operating efficiently; if it's yellow, you need an adjustment. If you are choosing an electric model, halogen and induction options are more efficient. And when you use your stove top, make sure the pan matches the burner size. 40% of energy is lost if you use a 6 inch pan on an 8 inch burner according to the California Energy Commission. When cooking in the oven, here are some energy saving tips. Only preheat when it's necessary. Do not open the oven door often to check you food. Don't cover your racks with foil; the more freely the air can move in your oven, the more efficiently your oven can operate. Bake several items at the same time. And do not use a large oven for small or medium sized meals; use your microwave for that. And whether you are cooking in an oven or on a stove, defrost your food in the refrigerator, so it takes less time to cook, which uses less energy. So put on your apron and be smart about ways to save money and energy when you cook. Born appetite!