Turning on the oven? Use it to its full potential with our easy ideas that will use every part of the heat it generates. Cook once, eat – at least – twice!
Latest research* shows that the oven typically draws more energy than the hob or microwave, but that doesn’t mean we have to avoid it entirely. If you do choose to turn on the oven, make the most of it by filling it up with not just one, but two dishes! Cook a couple of dinners at once to get ahead of the game – think speedy traybakes and one-pot wonders, so you’ve got midweek meals ready to reheat in the microwave, saving you energy and time. Or, the next time you roast a chicken for Sunday lunch, pop a crumble in for dessert – that’s sure to put a smile on everyone’s face.
So, if you’re looking to optimise your energy use in the kitchen, you’ve come to the right place. Here are our top 2-for-1 oven bakes – winner winner, double dinner!
Head to our budget-friendly hub for more tips to help you shop smart, cook clever and waste less.
Caramelised veg, fluffy rice and perfectly cooked chicken, this is a proper one-pot wonder. By cooking the rice in the same tray, there’s no need to turn on the hob (and you’ll end up with all those epic chicken juices). Plus, it couldn’t be simpler to make this vegetarian – simply replace the chicken with nice big chunks of butternut squash, cooked in exactly the same way.
With rustic layers of soft pasta, an oozy cheese sauce and the most outrageous crunchy topping, this veggie lasagne makes a cracking midweek meal. Plus, you’ll only need one pan, meaning minimal washing up! Cook alongside the Cajun chicken traybake, so it’s ready to reheat in the microwave the following day.
FOR FRIDAY NIGHT
Ditch the takeaway and rustle up this giant traybake of gnarly, starchy gorgeousness. It’s properly comforting and great for using up what you’ve already got knocking about in the fridge – check out the Easy Swaps section for inspiration. Cook this on the middle shelf of the oven, so you’ve got room for a batch of beautiful buns…
Ridiculously soft, sweet and sticky, these cinnamon buns are a total joy. We’re keeping costs down here by bigging up store-cupboard ingredients (feel free to swap the vanilla bean paste for vanilla extract, if you like). What’s more, you’ll only need one pan, meaning less hot water for less washing up – music to our ears.
Sweet onions, honeyed parsnips and golden, juicy sausages – this one-pan wonder is sure to go down a treat. And if you’re feeling flexible, check out the Easy Swaps for more epic ingredient combos. Plus – the best bit – you’ll only need to dedicate 10 minutes to prep time, meaning the oven does all the hard work! Bang it in on the top shelf, so there’s space below for a fish pie with a twist.
Celebrating freezer staples, this thrifty little number is a great way to make your fish go further. With a lovely pea-spiked mash, luxurious Cheddar sauce and flavour for days, what’s not to love? Reheat until piping hot and tuck in the following day, or batch up and pop in the freezer for future meals – it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
FOR SUNDAY LUNCH
This fail-safe roast dinner is a proper crowd-pleaser. After just a little bit of prep, you’ll end up with crispy chicken skin, juicy meat, caramelised carrots and perfect roasties. Plus, you’ll only need one tray, meaning much less washing up than your average roast dinner, and plenty of oven space to bake a lovely dessert, too.
If you’re turning the oven on for a roast dinner, why not whip up a pud at the same time? This one makes the most of frozen fruit, which is nutritious, often way cheaper and just as delicious as fresh fruit. Use whatever frozen berries you’d like here – raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries would all be delicious.
If you’re investing in lovely fresh fish, this simple traybake is a great way to celebrate it. Feel free to swap out the cherry tomatoes for any veg you already have – think torn-up red peppers, broccoli florets or kale. And if new potatoes aren’t in season, use whatever potatoes you can get hold of (just quarter any larger ones). Tuck in straightaway, knowing you’ve got another delicious fish dish to enjoy in the days to come!
Transform store-cupboard staples into something really special. This family classic makes the most of tinned tomatoes and tuna, and is great for using up dried herbs. Reheat until piping hot and enjoy the following day, or divide up into lunch boxes – it’s just as delicious served cold with a nice salad.
THE FREEZER IS YOUR FRIEND
Just remember, if you’re batch cooking, let food cool thoroughly before freezing – break it down into portions so it cools quicker – and get it into the freezer within 2 hours. And make sure everything is well wrapped, and labelled for future reference so you’re not playing freezer roulette! Simply thaw in the fridge before use, and use within 48 hours. If you’ve frozen cooked food, don’t freeze it again after reheating it.
If you’re after more ways to make the most of your oven, look no further.