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How to solve my oven problem

I recently moved into a new apartment, and the kitchen has a small stove with a conventional oven (Magic Chef, to be exact). Facing the oven, I measured the inside dimensions at approximately: 16" wide x 19" deep x 14" tall. I also measured the four rack settings: from the heat source (a coil at the bottom of the oven), they are at roughly 2", 5", 8" and 11". So far, I have primarily used the 8" setting.

At first, I noticed that this oven took a rather long time to preheat. Then I noticed certain foods taking longer to cook than I expected. I thought the oven's temperature might be off, so I bought a good thermometer to test it. As it turns out, the oven runs about 25 degrees hot. Since then, I have roasted various foods and adjusted the cooking temperature accordingly. But the results have been erratic. If I roast browned pork tenderloin with vegetables (uncovered at 375 in a non-stick roasting pan), the vegetables burn while the pork takes forever to reach 140. If I roast salmon (uncovered at 375 in a pyrex pan), it's perfect after about 10 minutes. If I roast vegetables -- green beans, Brussels sprouts, beets, garlic, etc. -- according to the times I've been used to, the results vary quite a bit.

Can someone please explain these inconsistencies? What's causing some foods to heat too quickly and others not quickly enough? I've noticed that, when the oven door is closed for a while, the internal temperature can run about 25 (sometimes even 50) degrees hot. But I don't imagine that such variation is too unusual.

So why are my foods either burning or taking an unusually long time? Are the small dimensions of the oven part of the problem? Should I roast everything on the top rack? If so, then what should I do when I use my dutch oven? Is the issue related to my cookware? Should I switch to stainless roasting pans? Should I plan to reduce heat for all recipes and extend anticipated cooking time? increase heat and reduce anticipated cooking time? I'd appreciate any thoughts and/or suggestions.

Mar 10, 2011
shaxberd in Cookware