Toaster ovens are extremely versatile appliances that unfortunately do not get taken full advantages of by a number of owners. They are extremely quick and efficient at many of the cooking jobs that most people use their full sized ovens for, yet they get seldom used as they were intended. If you love to spend time in the kitchen and prepare tasty treats for yourself or your family, then let’s give your countertop oven a workout and explore what it can truly accomplish for you.
This is where you can really get a lot of use out of a smaller oven, especially if you own a convection toaster oven. While some ovens do come with a few pans as accessories, it is a good idea to purchase some separate bakeware to truly take full advantage. Muffing pans, cooking pans and any other type of specialty pan should let you create some extraordinary baked goods in your oven. Convection ovens circulate the air inside while operating which especially good for baking. This will ensure that your food is evenly done on all sides without burning or soft spots.
Just about any type of recipe that calls for the use of an oven can be done in a toaster oven. Modern machines are able to roast, broil, bake, and cook just about any type of meal with exceptional results. Today’s higher end toaster ovens come with settings for each of these different functions so it is as easy as pushing a button. They can also automatically adjust the temperature and cooking time depending on the food that is being cooked. You do not have to limit yourself to preparing only toast in a toaster oven, so get cooking.
If you do not like how your food tastes after you try and reheat it in a microwave then you should pop in your countertop oven. Most machines have a reheating setting and they usually perform remarkably well. The smaller size of the oven requires less time to heat so it should be done in a snap. You can also reheat multiple items at once. Frozen pizza, leftovers, or even soup can all be brought up to a warm to hot temp without cooking it further. Toaster ovens are a great way to reheat items quickly.
The same thing that applies for reheating food also applies to defrosting frozen food. Microwaves can actually over heat certain spots while trying to defrost and you will end up cooking the outside in certain areas. This can be avoided with a toaster oven as modern models usually have a fully functional defrost setting that lets you thaw out frozen meat without cooking it.
Making Use Of The Convection Setting
If you have a convection toaster oven then you are truly in luck. These types of ovens can really help you speed up the cooking process without sacrificing taste. Not only will food get done faster, but you usually can use lower temps and less energy. The only downside of cooking with convection is that you will have to adjust your cooking times, generally by 20% to 25%. This will take some experimenting, but once you get it down, you will not want to cook your food any other way.
Cuisinart, Breville, and Kitchenaid all make fantastic ovens with convection features and these are the brands we would typically recommend for those who spend a lot of time in the kitchen. We purchased a Breville BOV845BSS after seeing that it was ranked as the best overall rated toaster oven that you can buy. Cuisinart and Kitchenaid make similarly featured ovens, but we have been extremely satisfied with our “Smart” oven and we really give the convection functionality a workout.
Some Practical Tips
Once you get a toaster oven there are some small things that you can keep an eye on to prevent some unwanted hassles.
Clean Your Oven
Most of today’s oven are made with non-stick materials with stainless steel bodies. It is important to wipe them down once they have cooled. Pay close attention to the crumb trays and make sure that you remove any grease that may have dripped down. Grease build up may be ignite in extreme cases and you will wind up burning your food. Simply remove it when you are done cooking and rinse it out over the sink. This routine will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
Don’t Over Stuff
The more centered your food is in the oven, typically the better results you will have. If you try to stuff to many items into the oven then some of the food on the out edges or corners may not get all the way done. This goes for anything from bread to cookies. Give your food some room.
Most folks are hesitant to try something new, but if you already own a toaster oven then by all means feel free to experiment with it. Once you discover everything that you can prepare in one of these small appliances the more you will kick yourself for not taking full advantage of it sooner. If you do not own one of these ovens yet then some of the newer ratings should help you find the best convection toaster oven for your situation.
Consider stepping up your game in the kitchen and get something that is going to save you time, energy, and money in your home while still delivering mouth watering results that your family will love.