Stories & Features

Small appliances can serve up a big holiday meal with a side of savings

Photo of a microwave and an Instant Pot
If a big turkey dinner is part of your holiday tradition, we have some tips to help you cut back on energy costs of cooking.

No need to drive up your electricity use to get the turkey on the table

Posted by Kiera Schwegler

At BC Hydro, we're pretty open about our love for small appliances. These little beauties create tasty treats while saving energy.

But it can seem intimidating to employ a small appliance for a big deal meal, like a turkey dinner. That's why we set out to prove the impossible is possible, and rounded up recipes to make your entire holiday meal using only small appliances.

I can speak from firsthand experience that your small appliances can yield tasty results that will delight you and any holiday guests that you're hosting.

So with that in mind, here are my top picks for a winning holiday meal.

Mash those potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a popular side with endless options for how to cook them. My favourite way to cook this comfort food is in my Instant Pot (or other electric pressure cooker). The beauty of this approach is that it cooks them much more quickly than the traditional boiling method, and it helps keep the moisture in. An added bonus is the power of the pressure cooker means you don't even have to dice the potatoes before you cook them – nothing like saving time when you're saving energy.

Savings sweeter than a sweet potato

Up-close photo of a dish of sweet potato and marshmallow casserole

Whether or not you put marshmallows on your sweet potato casserole may be up for debate, but this popular side is a crowd pleaser at every holiday meal. That's why we recommend you take it out of the oven and into the toaster oven with this recipe from delish. Not only does roasting your potatoes pre-mashing give them some awesome added flavour, but if you switch to the broil setting for browning the top before the oven cools down, you'll save energy by not having to reheat it again.

Veg-etable out

Cooking vegetables with small appliances gives you endless options, depending on your family's favourites. You can do air fryer brussels sprouts, microwave (yes, microwave) green beans (that are Martha Stewart-approved!), or Instant Pot glazed carrots – the options are endless. So turn off the stove and turn on the delicious.

Get stuffed

Photo of homemade traditional turkey stuffing

For those traditionalists out there, it may be hard to let go of the traditional stuffing cooked inside a turkey. If you're up for a change that will save you energy, stuffing in a slow cooker is an easy alternative. By cooking your turkey sans stuffing, you reduce the overall cooking time, for an energy savings win. Stuffing can divide families – wet or dry? Sweet or savoury? So whatever your favourite, most recipes can easily be converted to the slow cooker. Just make sure to grease your slow cooker with cooking spray, and cook your stuffing on low for three to four hours. Or, if you're ready to try something new, follow a recipe made just for your slow cooker, like this one from delish.com.

The main event

Turkey can be a tough one to do without an oven if you're serving a crowd, but if you're hosting a smaller group, you've got a few more options.

My personal favourite: the airfryer. This countertop hero not only creates deliciously crisp skin with juicy meat, it also minimizes the amount of extra fat or oil you need to use, making it a healthier option. You can cook turkey breasts (a 4-pound breast should fit depending on the size of your airfryer, and feed about 4 people,) and end up with delicious turkey without ever turning on your oven.

Savings with sugar on top

A big dinner isn't complete without a sweet finale, which is why we found you this – a delicious, no bake gingerbread cheesecake that requires almost zero power. Aside from melting a little butter in the microwave, the only energy this recipe needs is a little forearm strength in the form of mixing ingredients. Once you've tried this simple sweet treat, you'll want to forget dinner altogether and skip straight to dessert.

So there you go. Whether you're trying to save energy or just don't have an oven, it's not just possible, but even easy, to make a small appliance turkey dinner, with all the fixings. The best part is, no more fighting to fit everything in the oven. If you're over turkey already, be sure to check out some of our other small appliances tips, like our favourite Instant Pot recipe.

Kiera Schwegler is a writer with BC Hydro's digital content team.