Why You Need A Toaster Oven
Toaster ovens are an amazingly versatile small appliance with a number of great features and uses that often go overlooked in the world of microwaves. Here are 5 great features of toaster ovens and why every kitchen should have one.
1. They protect flavor
Microwaves work by selectively targeting the water molecules in food, causing them to vibrate and release heat quickly. The flavors in your food, however, generally come from herbs and spices, which started off as plants. Now picture a plant under a warm, spring or summer sun versus the relentless heat of the desert. That is the difference between heating food in a toaster, versus heating food in the microwave.
The extreme heat the microwaves cause kills the “plants” you use to season your food and when you kill the plant, you kill the flavor. When you purchase food specifically made to be heated up in a microwave it will often contain a load of artificial flavors that can’t be killed off by the extreme heat of the microwave. Toaster ovens warm food up slightly more slowly, but in return, they also protect natural flavors. What it comes down to is generally about 2 minutes in a microwave versus about 8-10 minutes in a toaster oven to accomplish the same task.
2. They save energy
Toaster ovens use about half the energy of a conventional oven – which is also why people don’t use conventional ovens to heat up food very often. Toaster ovens can be large enough, however, to accomplish many of the same tasks as conventional ovens, such as cooking pizzas, grilling steaks and even making casseroles or cookies. This is also great for people who live alone or don’t want to make large batches of things at once. Keep some cookie dough in the refrigerator or freezer and bake up a few when the urge strikes instead of baking up an entire large batch to sit on a counter and tempt you.
3. Pizza stays crisp
There is probably no better appliance for heating up pizza than a toaster oven. Not only does it consume less energy than a full size oven, but your dough remains soft on the inside with a crunchy exterior, the way pizza dough should be.
4. They can steam
A number of toaster ovens also offer steam features, which means you can steam chicken, fish and poultry and then finish it off under the broiler. This gives you moist, juicy meat on the inside with a perfect, slightly crispy outer layer. A hybrid steam/ broil will also cook even the thickest of steaks to perfection.
5. Toast large items
One of the problems with pop-up toasters is that the size of the slots limits what you can toast and often destroys more delicate breads in the process. While wider slots may allow you to toast bagels, you still can’t toast baguettes, hot dog, hamburger or cinnamon buns or warm up a croissant. With a toaster oven, you can do all of these things. In addition, you can whip up large batches of waffles or pancakes on the weekend and put them in the freezer to toast up during the week. You can even throw in some sausage or bacon on a broiler pan and even some eggs to cook an entire breakfast all at once!
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