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Toaster oven

l
lilmomma Mar 22, 2010 07:02 PM

What do you make in your toaster oven? I finish off fritatta's in there and make some fish fillets. I need some ideas. Thanks.

  1. epabella May 18, 2010 08:07 PM

    pork belly with crispy crackling
    eggplant parmigiana

    1. j
      juliewong Mar 24, 2010 02:40 PM

      I make quite a few things in the TO - yorkshire puddings, french onion soup, pork ribs - whatever I am making that turning on the large oven wouldn't be practical for. I do however miss my previous TO- it was like a cross between a regular toaster and a toaster oven as it had slots in the roof that you could open and shut and put bread in to toast. sniff

      5 Replies
      1. re: juliewong
        g
        Gourmand2go May 14, 2010 09:20 PM

        This is something I've been thinking about after getting a couple scary electricity bills. I've been trying to find out whether my toaster oven is more economical to use for small items. I use a large conventional oven for bread--with baking stones--but my inexpensive toaster oven seems to heat up more quickly and heat up the kitchen less for small items.

        I recently tried chicken strips in the TO and they came out evenly browned in about the same amount of time, less the preheating time, that they would in the regular oven. I then tried a Dutch Baby Pancake and had some trouble with the butter burning, but thought that might have happened because I'd omitted the pan under the rack, which may help to distribute the heat more evenly.

        The other night I was preparing a cheesecake and could not get my regular oven to heat up properly. I really had no choice but to try it in the TO, and it turned out beautifully! So last night I decided to try carmelizing glazed ribs, which I normally wouldn't bother to do unless I had company to impress. But I will do it in the toaster oven from now on because it was great.

        My TO is fairly basic but seems well insulated and fairly accurate temperature wise. I plan to continue trying things that might work and wait for my next electric bill. ;)

        1. re: Gourmand2go
          bushwickgirl May 15, 2010 01:31 AM

          And your brand is? I'm still looking, after deciding where I can put it in my little kitchen. I'm just amazed at the number of toaster ovens available.

          1. re: bushwickgirl
            g
            Gourmand2go May 15, 2010 08:20 AM

            Right, it's Proctor-Silex. The model I have has been discontinued but it was replaced by a new one with more features. Very popular so you can find it almost anywhere. MIne came from AirMiles.

            When I find a place to live that has a bigger kitchen I plan to buy the Breville.

            1. re: bushwickgirl
              greygarious May 15, 2010 10:25 AM

              My Black&Decker was cheap and small, with an interior of about 7x10. The burners are very close to the rack so caution must be used in baking and broiling. It has a thermostat and timer (its predecessor was a hi-med-lo job so this was a step up), and settings for bake, broil, and toast. As others have said, the thing toaster ovens do the worst at is toast. I'd have preferred a larger one but have very limited counter space. For under $40, I consider it a useful, if limited, appliance. I used to have a convection microwave, which I used a lot for baking. When it died, I got a plain microwave because the combo models were too big and heavy for me to wrestle up the stairs now that I have some chronic ailments. If I had to choose between appliances, I'd go with the microwave, although I don't know how the electricity usages compare.

              1. re: greygarious
                g
                Gourmand2go May 18, 2010 07:18 PM

                I think the microwave is lighter on electricity. Although it does heat up the kitchen a bit, the toaster oven is more noticeable that way. However, if you have a basic conventional oven with little insulation, it will heat up the kitchen big time--meaning it wastes a lot of energy. I've come to the conclusion that my old well-insulated self-cleaning oven is more energy efficient than a new non-self-cleaning model, though these appliances aren't rated by EnergyStar.

        2. k
          Kooper Mar 24, 2010 06:24 AM

          There is a book called "Toasted" that was put out about 7 or 8 years ago. I lived on it during college when I only had a small toaster oven and a double element. I made roast beef, chicken, break, cakes, everything. It was great.

          1. bushwickgirl Mar 24, 2010 05:25 AM

            Thank you both, TorontoJo and BobB, I will use the consumersearch link, and probably for other purchases, as well.
            That Breville is one handsome toaster oven, and the wattage! Not your mother's toaster oven, fer sure.

            Speaking of moms, my Mom won an oven in a company picnic raffle, when I was 8. I think they had just come onto the market. We had that oven forever, until long after I went to off to college. I don't remember the brand, GE I think, but growing up, we (the kids) used it all the time.

            Now i just have to figure out where I'm going to put it, in my little city kitchen...

            1. bushwickgirl Mar 24, 2010 04:44 AM

              OK, what brands of toaster ovens do you all have? I did some online reseach yesterday and there are many, many brands and styles to choose from, in a wide variety of price ranges, all with pros and cons. To pick a good one seems overwhelming.
              What are some toaster oven capabilities do you have/do you like/find useful? I'm looking for something beyond toasting, obviously, maybe one with a convection function.

              5 Replies
              1. re: bushwickgirl
                TorontoJo Mar 24, 2010 05:06 AM

                have a Cuisinart convection oven/toaster/broiler (that's what is says right on the glass) that I love and use for pretty much everything my big oven can do. Roasting meats, veggies, fish, heating up leftover pizza (one of the best uses, IMO!), baking small quantities of cookies, baking off par-baked breads, etc. I love, love, love it.

                My favorite review site is consumersearch.com -- it's a meta review site. They review the reviews and consolidate the findings in one place. Here's the link to the toaster oven report:

                http://www.consumersearch.com/toaster...

                1. re: bushwickgirl
                  BobB Mar 24, 2010 05:12 AM

                  I have the Breville Smart Oven and like it a lot. It's expensive ($250 list, not discounted much) but from what I've read out here it's the only brand that comes with real usable accessories, not toys - a 12" x 12" square baking/broiling pan that's as well made as a standard oven broiler pan, and a 13" round pizza pan.

                  Obviously it has the capacity to hold these pans, which most others don't. And it has convection, nice for even baking and roasting. The "smart" aspect is a whole array of programmable settings for different types of cooking (it has multiple top and bottom heating elements, and uses different combinations of them for different purposes). But it simplifies these by "remembering" your favorite settings for each use - for example, if you set the toaster function to toast four slices to medium dark (level 5 on a scale of 1 to 7) it will automatically use that setting each time you set it to toast, unless you manually change it.

                  And speaking of toast, it even solves an age-old toaster problem - if you need to toast a lot of bread all at once, it will toast the first batch for X amount of time, and the next batch for less because it takes the internal starting temperature into account when setting the timing. Result - they all come out the same!

                  I did a LOT of on line research before I bought it, expecting to end up with one of the well-known high-end brands like Krups or Cuisinart. I'd never heard of Breville (an Australian company) when I started, but the more I looked, the better it looked - it's the only brand/model out there with virtually no negative reviews.

                  http://www.brevilleusa.com/cooking/th...

                  1. re: BobB
                    TorontoJo Mar 24, 2010 07:12 AM

                    I have a Breville juicer that I love. The thing is solidly built, so I'm not surprised their toaster oven is great.

                    I should mention that the one thing most toaster ovens (including my Cuisinart) don't do well is... well, toast. My tends to brown on only one side, despite all the fancy settings. But eh, toasting is the least used of all the functions for me anyway. :)

                    1. re: TorontoJo
                      BobB Mar 24, 2010 01:09 PM

                      I am happy to report that the Breville actually does toast quite well - something that my old Black & Decker never did. I was SO happy when it finally died, giving me an excuse to look for a new one!

                    2. re: BobB
                      m
                      mandycat Sep 29, 2010 04:27 PM

                      I also did my research and decided on the Breville Smart oven just this week. You're right; it's $250 apparently every place on Planet Earth. I was lucky enough to find it at a Bed Bath and Beyond location and used one of the 20% off store-purchase-only coupons that BB&B sends me regularly. One of the features that I thought made the extra money worthwhile is that at the end of the programmed cooking time the Smart Oven actually shuts itself off. There were a number of less expensive TO's that buzz to tell you it's YOUR job to come push the OFF button. If you don't show up, I assume they merrily cook on till the nice fire fighters show up.

                  2. BamiaWruz Mar 24, 2010 12:52 AM

                    My hamilton beach has a rotisserie and I make almost everything it. Cake doesn't do too well, but oven fries are great on convection laid on the bottom rack, both sides brown evenly and at the same time in 20 mins!

                    I've only done toast in it once, but I love my oven, just like a real oven, good for baking and heating up.

                    1. t
                      tastesgoodwhatisit Mar 24, 2010 12:43 AM

                      I have a fancy toaster oven (about the size of a microwave, with upper and lower elements and temperature control) and no regular oven, so I use it a lot.

                      Whole fish can work very well - I can do two average sized whole tilapia in mine. Baked chicken wings work well, and small terrines. I've done roast goose, but you need to steam it first to render out some of the fat. Steamed fish in foil, individual beef or chicken pot pies.

                      Banana bread, baked custards, cookies, muffins, apple crumble, crackers, scones, baking powder biscuits; very delicate or large baking doesn't work well, but small items do. Bread isn't great, but foccacia and small pizzas work well.

                      Cheese toast, garlic bread, roasted vegetables of various sorts (in the pan, or wrapped in foil).

                      Baked eggs are good; put tomatoes/ham/cheese/herbs etc in a greased ramekin, crack a couple of eggs in it, and bake until set.

                      1. p
                        pamelapar Mar 23, 2010 03:23 PM

                        I have a decent-sized one that has a convection setting, and I've done everything from make mini-cornbread muffins, to cookies, to casseroles, to a full roast chicken. I use it for any baking application that will fit, actually, including making frozen dinners that say "do not make in toaster oven."

                        1. BobB Mar 23, 2010 01:45 PM

                          Frozen pizza, roasted veggies, racks of lamb, pot pies, chicken (roasted and broiled), kebabs (when it's too wet to use the outdoor grill), open-faced toasted sandwiches...

                          Bottom line - pretty much anything that'll fit and doesn't require a super-hot oven, like pizza from scratch. And given that we're empty nesters cooking just for the two of us most nights, and we have what's possibly the largest-capacity toaster oven on the market (the Breville, which can accommodate a 12" square pan) that means most anything we would have made in the full-sized oven short of a turkey.

                          1. b
                            bear Mar 23, 2010 06:48 AM

                            Eric Ripert has a fun series of videos called "Get Toasted." Some great ideas!

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

                            1. bushwickgirl Mar 23, 2010 04:13 AM

                              Don't have a toaster oven and don't even have room for one in my little kitchen, but with all the options posted here, I kinda wish I did.
                              Seems like a great option for a small family (2 in mine) and no heating up the oven!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: bushwickgirl
                                s
                                sholli Mar 23, 2010 10:17 AM

                                We've often had a toaster but no microwave and find that it is hugely useful for two of us. The gas went out in our building for 4 mos. and all we had was the toaster + a two burner electric hot plate. We still managed all kinds of (scaled down) baking. I also like the way that many things reheat in it better than the microwave, especially things that have a crispy exterior like mac and cheese, potatoes, etc.

                              2. a
                                armagnac Mar 23, 2010 03:35 AM

                                I have a big toaster oven and since I cook mainly for one (me), use it instead of the full-sized gas oven next to it for just about everything but baking bread or pastries. Works like a charm.

                                I'm not much impressed with the toaster oven cookbooks, except for Lois DeWitt's "Pop It in the Toaster Oven" which is very helpful about ways to use the equipment, though the recipes are a very mixed bunch. So I just downsize recipes from "real" cookbooks like "How to Cook Everything."

                                1. corneygirl Mar 22, 2010 11:46 PM

                                  I reheat leftovers, roast garlic, make toasted melty sandwiches and thaw frozen bits.

                                  1. ipsedixit Mar 22, 2010 09:50 PM

                                    Eggs in a ramekin

                                    Baked potatoes or yams

                                    Cornbread and muffins

                                    Pizza

                                    Fish

                                    Chicken

                                    1. Jen76 Mar 22, 2010 07:37 PM

                                      I make lots of stuff in the toaster oven, especially in summer when 100+ temps prevent me from wanting to turn on the big oven. Like todao said, almost anything you can make in the oven can be made in a toaster oven if it's on the larger side and has some advanced settings. Tuna pita melts, pita pizzas, quesadillas or cheese crisps, stuffed mushrooms, broiled meats (sausages, pork chops, chicken legs), and oven fries are the most common items I use it for. I also do the cookie thing greygarious mentioned. It's so good to be able to toss in a few balls of cookie dough and have a few fresh cookies.

                                      1. todao Mar 22, 2010 07:18 PM

                                        Depending on the size and features, I've known cooks who bake bread in them. My FIL (who is 93) cooks everything from steak to potatoes in his. Unless it's just a little horizontal toaster that doesn't have any level of sophistication in its controls, anything you can bake or broil (OK, you ain't gonna get a 25 pound turkey in there ;>}) should work out just fine.

                                        1. greygarious Mar 22, 2010 07:16 PM

                                          A couple of years ago there was a thread about soft-cooking eggs in the T.O. I tried it and discovered that a couple of runs on the toast cycle did the job with my particular T.O.
                                          I placed the eggs at the rear so I could do the English muffin at the same time.

                                          People often freeze cookie dough in logs or balls so they can make a few fresh-baked cookies on short notice. I do fruit crisps in mine.

                                          Reheating pizza, of course, and other fast foods like burritos, quesadillas, leftover french fries. My mother never took to the microwave very well, but liked her prepared food frozen entrees done in the T.O. It saves energy to do the fish sticks and the shake n' bake in the T.O rather than the full-size oven, if you're only doing a couple of portions.

                                          Lots of ideas here: http://www.toaster-oven.net/

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: greygarious
                                            w
                                            wonderwoman Mar 23, 2010 04:28 PM

                                            tell me more about this. you just put the eggs in the TO? no pan, no water?

                                            1. re: wonderwoman
                                              greygarious Mar 23, 2010 05:41 PM

                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/596358

                                              1. re: greygarious
                                                w
                                                wonderwoman Mar 23, 2010 07:53 PM

                                                thanks. can't wait to try it. i also do bacon in my toaster oven. i have a pan from a previous TO that has a rack. about 20 minutes at 350, a little windex and a paper towel to wipe the grease off the window and good to go.

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