Toaster Oven Cuisine!

I have a terrible family reputation for killing toasters. Lets just say buttering the bread first was a bad idea as was spraying the toaster with bug spray when there was an ant in it. I was young. 🙂 So…I was banned from even having one in the house & was not allowed to use other peoples either. Enter the wonderfully versatile Toaster Oven. I haven’t killed one yet. 

What I didn’t realize is there are a lot of recipes out there for meals made in a toaster oven. You can even buy baking pans, muffin pans & cookie sheets in a small size to fit in them. Our NUT Elf, Suzi, sent me a great link to toaster oven cooking. This triggered my research mode & my sharing urge! Let’s look at cooking in that big thing on your counter.

There are many websites that compare using a microwave to using a toaster oven. Some favor the microwave & some favor the toaster oven. I have never liked using a microwave oven because to me the food tastes “funny”. I had one about 28 years ago & only used it to heat water. I replaced it after a few months with a toaster oven. I am not going to debate the research on the microwave oven. It is a personal choice. This post is just about the toaster ovens versatility.

You can pay as much as $600+ or as little as $30 for a toaster oven. Mine is a BLACK+DECKER TO1303SB 4-Slice Toaster Oven, Includes Bake Pan, Broil Rack & Toasting Rack, Stainless Steel/Black Toaster Oven.  I paid $35 for it 4 years ago. It is the perfect size for us & for our counter. I use it mostly for toasting bread, muffins or heating corn tortillas. My husband “toasts” slices of tofu or tempeh for his sandwich. He also makes nachos in it for a snack. 

Toaster Ovens come on sale frequently. Keep your eye out for a bargain. You can probably find a good one at a second hand store. The other reason I like them is because they are easy to clean. Takes me just a few minutes a week. Another positive is that you can use it instead of the oven when making a quick snack, saving on utility bills.

This is the link that started it all: KILLER TOASTER OVEN APPETIZERS THAT ARE SURPRISINGLY HEALTHY. As Suzi pointed out, these can be main meals when cooking for one or two people. 

  • SPICY CHICKPEA EDAMAME SALAD PITAS “These Spicy Chickpea Edamame Salad Pitas take less than 15 minutes to make with endless ways to customize them. Each pita is filled with a mashed chickpeas salad made with subtly sweet edamame, diced celery, green onions, sun-dried tomatoes, creamy yogurt and spicy Sriracha.” This recipe, as is, has 23 grams of protein per serving! What a great small meal or main meal this is. If you prefer not to use the edamame, then substitute peas or another legume. This is a recipe that you can customize easily…my favorite kind! It is served with pita bread warmed in the toaster oven.
  • Toaster Oven Veggie Nachos: Love this one! Black beans & cut up veggies, yum! Suzi told me that she added a little more cheese. She said, “they are surprisingly filling, easy to make & quick.” 
  • Balsamic Asparagus & Hummus Toast: I go crazy during Asparagus season. So much so, my husband has planted an asparagus garden just for me. Takes 3 years for the first one 🙂 Worth the wait.

Every single recipe is healthy & looks so tasty. Go to the site to see the others. Thank you Suzi!

Dinner Made Easy: 6 Dishes Cooked in a Toaster Oven to Try Tonight. This is the recipe that stood out for those of you who eat chicken.

Herb Roasted Chicken Tenders: “You’re never too old to enjoy chicken tenders for dinner! Celebrity chef Eric Ripert shares this quick and easy meal with Today. Herbes de Provence lend the dish its flavorful character. It’s savory and delicious — particularly when served alongside a sweet honey Dijon medley for dipping. This recipe takes 20 minutes to complete and yields 2 servings.”

7 ounces chicken tenders

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon herbes de Provence

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon honey

Directions: Preheat toaster oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Drizzle half of the olive oil onto the toaster oven tray. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and herbes de Provence.

Place the chicken in a single layer on the tray and drizzle the remaining olive oil over the chicken. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until cooked through. Stir together Dijon mustard and honey. Serve the chicken tenders with mustard on the side.

Another recipe that you can use to add to salads or serve as is. I think this would make a good “grab & go” source of protein when you need a snack or lunch on the fly.

10 Toaster Oven Meals Made in Minutes: This is a slide show plus recipes. The ones that begged to be shared are:  

  • Cinnamon Honey Bananas make a delicious breakfast as well as a great way to move those fast-ripening bananas. Kids will think it’s a dessert — it’s that tasty.” This is a good pick-me-up for the afternoon.
  • Tuna Melts are the ultimate comfort food — perfect on chilly winter afternoons or as a light dinner on a summer evening. Use the cheese of your choice and your melty meal will be ready in minutes.”
  • If you’re craving a Portabello Mushroom Burger but don’t feel like firing up the grill, you can make one indoors. This recipe includes a yummy pesto topping to make the most of your fresh basil. Yum! I make these when I can find Portabello mushrooms! 
  • For you salmon lovers: Heart-smart Pesto Salmon can be prepared in the toaster oven under the broiler in no time. Top it with pesto and your family will think they’re dining in a fancy restaurant. 

The more recipes I look at the more excited I get about trying them out. I love healthy, fast, meals. Gives me more time to relax, read a book or crochet!

60 Meals You Didn’t Know You Could Make in a Toaster Oven Yes, 60 meals! They are placed in categories: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks & Sides, & Desserts. This site is excellent for coming up with small meals. Some of the recipes like cookies & biscuits, make just 1 or 2 servings. Definitely worth exploring. Here are a few just to give you an example.

  • Single Peanut Butter Cookie You know that time after dinner, when you simply have to have something sweet? When you’d rather not bake up an entire batch, turn to this single-serve recipe flavored with maple syrup, apple sauce, peanut butter, and vanilla.” This recipe makes 1 or 2 cookies!
  • Almond Flour Biscuits These savory biscuits have more protein than their more average counterparts. The recipe makes just two biscuits—perfect for snacks or to accompany a dinner for two.” 
  •  Roasted Baby Potatoes While whole sweet potatoes may take close to an hour in the toaster oven, these little suckers only require about 25 minutes. All you need are potatoes, a little salt and pepper, some olive oil, and herbs of your liking (this recipe suggests rosemary and thyme).” You can cube tofu or tempeh & add it to the mix. They come out perfect & slightly crunchy. 
  •  Baked Sole and Asparagus This baked fish gets a healthy makeover by using fewer breadcrumbs, a little bit of Parmesan cheese, and reduced fat mayo. Asparagus (full of vitamin K!) can also bake in the toaster oven.”
  • Baked Tofu This is a super versatile lunch. Instead of battling a block of jiggly tofu in a skillet, toss it in the toaster. Press out some of the liquid first for firmer slices, and choose your favorite marinade. Cube the tofu and cook it a little longer for a bread-less crouton alternative for salads or serve it in a whole-wheat wrap with greens and julienned veggies.” I buy extra firm in a vacuum package. Cutting them up in cubes lends to many possible ways of using them.
  •  Hard “Boiled” Eggs Skip the boiling water and cracked shells and pop eggs directly onto the toaster oven (keep the shells on!) for hard baked eggs.  And go ahead, keep the yolk: Studies show whole eggs may not be as unhealthy as we once thought.” This sounds interesting! You can also break the egg into a ramekan, add veggies & cheese, and bake.

This is perfect for those of you who are experiencing a loss of appetite during & after treatment. Eating small meals, and grab & go snacks, frequently during the day will work better than the traditional 3 meals. By eating 6 to 8 snacks/meals a day you will take in more calories. The toaster oven is also wonderful for re-heating food: pizza, take outs, sandwiches, leftovers & more.

I enjoyed researching this post. Such fun & easy ways to make those small meals. Until next week….Mary 🙂