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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Frugal Friday: Saving Money with My Toaster Oven

I'll bet my in-laws thought I was nuts last year when I answered their "What do you want for Christmas" question with..... a toaster oven. Seriously, what woman ASKS for appliances for Christmas!?!? I may be the only one, but I'm quite glad that I did.

The toaster oven that they got me is actually a toaster/convection oven. It doesn't just toast... I can cook in it too. I can't fit a whole meal it in, but I can do either a main dish or a side dish. This is a nice money-saver for us, because it means not heating up the regular oven for just one part of our dinner. I don't mind turning on the oven if our main dish and potatoes are both being baked. I just can't bring myself to heat it up if it's just for 10 minutes of fish cooking. What a waste!

I've made three really delicious foods in my toaster oven recently. Here's a picture of the cornbread I baked just last night.

I followed my regular cornbread recipe, but I used this pan I bought specifically for baking in a toaster oven. It's sized to fit in the smaller ovens, but it works in my newer/larger one too. I think I bought my set of toaster oven pans from the company that made our first toaster oven, but I just checked on Amazon and found a similar set HERE.

Remember the Broiled Tilapia Parmesan I told you about HERE? Rather than heat up the oven, I placed the whole bag of tilapia fillets on a foil-lined toaster oven pan and broiled them in the toaster/convection oven. They were done in about 10 minutes, and the cheese on top was browned and bubbly. It was seriously delicious! I wish I had thought to take pictures of that one!

I also sliced homemade bread, buttered it, sprinkled it with Tastefully Simple's Garlic Garlic, and added some mozzarella cheese. It broiled in the toaster oven for a few minutes and was devoured by my family!

If you want to start cooking in a toaster oven, please be sure that yours was designed for cooking meats and/or for baking. Older/smaller toaster ovens are often just for toasting, meaning that they may not get hot enough to make it safe to cook meat. If you have an older/smaller oven, you might want to consider asking for a new one for Christmas. It's not a glamorous gift, but I can tell you that it makes cooking a lot easier!

This year, I'm pondering the possibility of asking for a bit larger food processor. Do you think they'll wonder if I'm seriously losing it???

For more great frugal living ideas, stop by Frugal Friday hosted by Life As MOM.


marybeth at said...

That's very inspiring! I had a toaster oven that I never used, so I recently donated it. Now I'm kicking myself!

Brooke said...

i got one during my bridal shower and love it. my favorite meals are cooked there, throwing some tilapia and rolls in the convection oven then heating some veggies in the microwave. :)

~Alison~ said...

We received a toaster oven for Christmas last year but I never got the hang of cooking in it. Anything I cooked in it, burned.
:( Glad yours is working for you!

Leslie said...

I just recently started following your blog as I am trying to learn how to save more money and saw your post on Works for Me Wednesday last week.

I too ask for appliances for Christmas. I LOVE Kitchen appliances. Last year I got a Kitchenaid mixer and a bread maker. This year I am hoping for a magic bullet or a small food processor. In past years I have received toasters, blenders, grills, and other wonderful time saving appliances! My husband doesn't like spending money on non-practical gifts so really this works for both of us!

Mom2fur said...

It's funny, when microwave ovens became popular, it seems a lot of homes sent their toaster ovens out to pasture. It actually took my daughter (who was about 18 at the time) to talk me into getting one. Great investment--and it sits on top of the microwave so it doesn't take up any extra room. I love that it doesn't heat up the kitchen so you can use it all year round!

Sara @ Super Saving Sense said...

That's great that you are able to do so much with your toaster oven!

I also love asking for appliances for Christmas. One year I got a stove, last year I got my crockpot that I use constantly and my vaccum :-)