Monday, November 15, 2010

Ask the Internet: Toaster Oven Recipes?

We interrupt this regularly scheduled Monday Recipe to instead bring you Ask the Internet, a feature that usually appears on Tuesday. You could say it was kismet, or you could say that over the last seven days, I attempted four new recipes that failed worse than this poor squirrel. They ran the gamut from bland (corn pudding) to a dish that might actually qualify as a WMD (Thai-inspired rutabaga puree).

From Amazon
So, instead, please give a warm round of applause for Alex, who has a most excellent question:

Q: I have a microwave, toaster oven, slow cooker, rice cooker, and hot plate. I've found a number of ways to use all of these to make meals, except the toaster oven.

Do you have any resources for fun/creative/healthy ways to employ my toaster oven? I love the Crockpot 365 blog and it basically taught me how to use my slow cooker when I bought it, and I was kind of hoping there would be a similar website doing justice for the toaster oven.

A: Readers, this one is 100% you, since my toaster oven experience is limited to college pizza bagels. Do you know any good toaster oven blogs, cookbooks, and/or recipes? Do tell.

Want to ask the interweb a question? Post one in the comment section, or write to Cheaphealthygood@gmail.com. Then, tune in next Tuesday for an answer/several answers from the good people of the World Wide Net.

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28 comments:

shris said...

We use our toaster oven for:
Corn bread (muffins or loaf)
garlic bread
reheating pizza slices
zucchini brunch bread (allrecipes.com)
roasted okra (olive oil, salt, smoked paprika, onion powder)
smallish frozen pizzas (ours is good for 12" pizzas)

The biggest trick is having baking pans the right size to fit. Our smaller muffin tin had to be bent to fit inside (the handles on either end bent down) and ours won't fit a quarter sheet pan so we're stuck using the pan that came with it.

So it's necessarily limited by the size of pan, but if you can find small pans you can bake, broil, or toast anything that will fit. Ours has a little fan on the side but it still browns a little unevenly--so rotation is a must. But it works great.

ChipotleGloria said...

Check out Eric Ripert's web page. He has a some recipes for toaster ovens on his site.

http://aveceric.com/

http://blog.aveceric.com/category/gettoasted

Evelyn said...

I use it for anything that I would normally cook in the oven but that fits in the toaster oven. I don't change the recipes at all, although it's always a good idea to check things as they cook because oven cooking times vary. Luckily it's really easy to see into most toaster ovens and monitor the progress. It's great at cooking potatoes/sweet potatoes, roasting peppers, and the like. Mine came with a metal pan that I use for stuff that could fall through the cracks.

Melis said...

We use our toaster oven in the same way we use a regular oven with the exception of baked goods. As an avid baker, I know the toaster oven just doesn't produce the same high quality results I demand.

Since there are two of us, it's easier to cook most things in a toaster oven too...want to bake chicken for two, use the toaster oven, but if you're having guests over, use the regular oven. Basically you can substitute the chicken above with anything else you would put in a regular oven, baked or roasted potatoes, roasted veggies, fish...the possibilities go on and on.

The other great thing about a toaster oven is it heats up faster and uses less energy then a regular oven. Just be cautious as things tend to cook much faster in the toaster oven.

Sassy Molassy said...

I have made everything from meat loaf to pork chops to chicken in the toaster oven, to avoid heating up my Memphis kitchen in the summer. If you can make it in the oven, you can probably make it in a toaster oven. Especially if yours came with a broiler pan.

Anna N said...

I use the toaster oven for toasting nuts, roasting halved acorn squash (or any other winter squash that fits), making baked apples, or baking/roasting any other vegetable that fits.

Also, check this NY Times article about cooking with a toaster oven for recipes for roasted peaches, zucchini with feta & mint, cherry tomato confit, and veal somethingorother.

Becca said...

I would add to Shris' comment to make sure you use a pan small enough that some air can still circulate around it!

I was given a set of 3 knock off Pyrex glass baking dishes. The smallest fits in the toaster oven and is great for cooking a couple chicken breast halves without heating up the entire oven.

Edward Antrobus said...

My mother broils fish fillets in the toaster oven.

Eyebrows McGee said...

I use mine tons for chicken breasts and steaks for two -- why bother heating up the whole oven? Chicken parmesan, for example. Flatiron steak. My toaster oven came with a broiler pan, but you can also get broiler pans and other properly-sized toaster oven pans at Target or Bed, Bath, & Beyond.

I've also used it to bake individual tarts or the end of a batch of mini-muffins or things like that. Anything small enough to fit that you would normally make in the big oven can be made in the toaster oven. (Except baked potatoes, in mine, anyway. Those just don't work.)

carrie murphy said...

try tortilla pizzas and baked eggs (if you've got some ramekins, or even just small bowls).

carrie
masteroffineats.blogspot.com

CarenNH said...

I roast all kinds of veggies in my toaster oven. We have a fancy Krups model, so it has a larger pan (about 10x10 or so). I use the same recipe for carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, asparagus:

Cut into chunks (florets, etc. as approp for given veggie).

Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, stir well. (For cauli, I sometimes use seasoned salt for the fun color.) You could add garlic powder, etc, but garlic can burn so experiment with times and ingredients.

Bake at 400-425 10-15 minutes until lightly browned and caramelized. Stir halfway. Times vary depending on which veggies and size of pieces.

YUM!

Juno said...

Toaster ovens are great for reheating fried chicken as the breading crisps up (and let us not forget the awesome cheese on toast).

Anonymous said...

Casseroles, or just about any other dish for 1 or 2.

Warming day-old pastries, muffins, or slices of home-made quick bread.

Toast a few nuts to chop and put on something else.

Toast with something on it (cheese, or refried beans with cheese on top).

The best example of which is this, which tastes 10 times better than it sounds. I mean it sounds good, but it is a Gestalt recipe (where the whole is surprisingly better than the sum of the ingredients).

Spread a piece of bread (preferably whole grain) very thinly with mayonnaise or a creamy salad dressing. Top with one paper-thin slice of onion, the rings separated and scattered more or less evenly over the bread. You can leave out either or both of these if you want, but it's better if you include them.

Slice a tomato and arrange the pieces on the bread to cover most of it. Top with sliced cheese.

Broil until the cheese is well melted.

Delilah said...

I like to make mini-loaves of bread in there. They sell great mini-loaf pans at Michael's for $.99, usually seasonally decorated. Because even the healthiest version of banana bread is STILL a sugary, dessert bread, I really like being able to make a teeny tiny one and not spend a week trying to eat it without eating too much in a day, lol. Just take any bread recipe and cut it by 1/3.

Also--it makes BOMB sandwiches. Anything with cheese, it gets all melty and wonderful. I use the little pan that comes with it and do it open face--with the cheese on top of other toppings... take it out and smush them together. Perfection.

Oh and it's good for baking beets too. I get mine from my garden so some are tiny, and it's really not worth using the big oven. I bake them like potatoes, slice 'em up, and use however. I read it's healthier than boiling because when you boil a lot of your vitamins get out into the water.

Anonymous said...

Quesadillas!

Pita bread pizza!

Panini

Reheating just about any frozen food

Twice-baked potatoes (yummm)

I think you can also use toaster ovens as dehydrators (mmmm, sun dried tomatoes) but I am not sure if all of them have this versatility.

Laura said...

Toaster ovens are great. I once had one and- not realizing its potential- I gave it away. I now use one regularly at work and really really want one for my kitchen. Toaster ovens are good for:

1. Sandwiches- especially with cheese. Toast them open and everything will be hot, slightly crunchy, and completely delicious when you put the two halves together and (carefully, it's hot) shove the sandwich into your mouth.

2. Leftover pizza- the crust will be crispy, the cheese will be bubbly and beautifully browned, you will be very very happy you tried this.

3. Breaded things- fried chicken, chicken nuggets, mozzarella sticks, whatever tasty (and probably unhealthily indulgent) snack you can think of, they will be hot, crispy, and perfect.

4. Steamed fish, chicken, or veggies- tuck the desired items into a foil packet with some olive oil and seasonings. Simple and healthy.

5. Tons of other things I haven't tried yet.

They heat up fast, cook fast, and produce tasty results. Just check whatever you are cooking frequently or you risk going from "nicely browned" to "flammable".

Dejtingsajter said...

Sliced apples with a bit of brown sugar, then you have a caramelized dessert, or it can also used for garnishing salads.

nourishingmatters said...

I agree that the toaster oven can be a great substitute for the real over. Here are some other quick ideas as well:

We don't have a microwave so often use the toaster over for leftover reheats (last night's buffalo bolognese is today's baked pasta)

we also use it for small batch baking- cast iron muffin tins from lodge fit perfectly and make great corn and millet bread muffins.

It is also a good small scale food dehydrator if your toaster over turns down that low (ours does)

Elizabeth said...

My oven is crummy and burns everything on the bottom before cooking it through in the middle (gotta love living in an apartment building that hasn't updated their appliances since electricity was invented....) so I use my toaster oven for anything I'd usually put in the regular oven, just in smaller amounts. It's perfect for roasting veggies or one piece of chicken. Not as great for baking because you end up having to make 100 batches of like 4 cookies each.

CJ said...

Don't forget about baking a small batch of cookies too!

Anonymous said...

I'm the Alex who asked the question :) You guys have such awesome suggestions! I knew I took my query to the right place.

I plan on finding some small pans this week and toasting/baking/roasting EVERYTHING in sight!!!

Also, fun fact: The word verification for this comment? "warms" I thought that was too funny not to share.

Dee Seiffer said...

Like everyone else, I use my toaster oven just like a full-size. I bought a set of toaster oven pans so they fit and let air circulate.

I buy break and bake cookies from a friend's kid's school fundraiser. I can bake just a couple of cookies at a time and not be haunted by 4 dozen cookies lurking around the kitchen.

One of my favorite cookbooks with portions just the right size for a toaster oven is America's Test Kitchen Cooking for Two.

Dee Seiffer said...

And, oh yeah, one of my cast iron skillets fits in my toaster oven - potatoes roasted in a little duck fat.

Ellie said...

I bought a mini-pizza stone from pampered chef that fits in my toaster oven. I use it for salmon (I can fit 2 3oz pieces on it), mini-pizza, and a number of other single or double serving portions. I can also bake a loaf of bread in my toaster oven, a two-person mac & cheese dish, and a number of other items.

Lori said...

There are some great suggestions on here! To add to the list...

Broiled Oranges/Grapefruit (cut in half)
roasted garlic
stuffed tomatoes/peppers
plate warmer, even if you have to crack the door to fit 'em

Half-dozen muffin pans fit easily in toaster ovens.

Oh, and I use the little rack as a cooling rack when I pull things from the big oven.

I love my toaster oven.

Diane said...

I got rid of mine 7 years ago and have never looked back. A waste of space for my kitchen.

plumbing said...

If you are considering a purchase of a toaster oven, you obviously want to be sure that you are making a worthwhile purchase and don't buy something that will perform poorly or you will later regret. To help make the buying process easier and lessen the chances of your experiencing buyer's remorse

Veronica El Rosey said...

The biggest trick is having baking pans the right size to fit. Our smaller muffin tin had to be bent to fit inside (the handles on either end bent down) and ours won't fit a quarter sheet pan so we're stuck using the pan that came with it.
Toaster Oven Chicken Recipes