Toaster ovens used to be a staple in every kitchen because they could cook a variety of items without the added cost or energy use of a full size stove. However, as ovens have gotten more efficient and toasters have gotten more elaborate, the toaster oven has slowly been squeezed out of many kitchens. Since your counter is already loaded with plenty of kitchen appliances, you may be thinking that you can live without your toaster oven. In fact, this appliance is a perfectly useful, functional and essential part of any cooking routine. Wipe off the dust and rediscover all the wonderful features that made your toaster oven a great buy in the first place. And if you don't already own one, keep reading to find out why a toaster oven is a sensible addition to any kitchen.
First, your toaster oven uses far less energy than just about any of the other cooking options in your kitchen, especially if you are making small batches of food. Instead of firing up the oven to cook a small casserole, consider using a toaster oven, which will save you money on your energy bill over time. Plus, you get the added benefit of keeping your kitchen cooler in the summer; even the most energy efficient ovens are still pretty good at turning your kitchen into a sauna.
Your food tastes better when it's cooked in a toaster oven rather than the alternative. While microwaves can zap food in a hurry, they often cause your meals to lack in texture and flavor. For example, crispy dishes may feel a little soggy or rubbery after a turn in the microwave, but the toaster over keeps them light and crunchy, as the recipe intended. Likewise, cheese melts perfectly and turns golden brown in a toaster oven, much like a conventional oven, but without the wasted energy. In fact, if you invest in a nice convection-style toaster oven, you may find that you use it far more than your microwave on the sheer basis of flavor alone!
Toaster ovens are also the perfect size for heating up all the small things; cooking a small batch of cookies for the family or heating up leftovers fresh out of the fridge. Instead of rubberizing your lasagna, you can heat it up gently and enjoy the rich flavors of the meal all over again. Alternatively, you can thaw and crisp frozen waffles for one on a quiet weekend morning. Snacks and meals for one taste better in a toaster oven and keep your main oven free for the bigger meals and bigger messes.