Friday Favorites: Oven Toaster Meals

I've only ever used my oven toaster for grilling vegetables and, well, toasting bread. But as I've discovered the last couple of weeks, you can do so much more with it. Like, say, prepare an entire meal.

Not too shabby, right?

I do have a slightly bigger oven toaster than normal (it can accommodate a small pizza), but it has pretty standard controls - one timer, zero bells, zero whistles. It's more than sufficient, though.

I did get a square baking pan so I have a deeper container that can hold more stuff. This is probably as fuss-free as cooking can get: pre-heat the oven, line the tray with foil, plop in the ingredients, season, add a couple of glugs of olive oil, pop into the oven, and walk away.

It only takes twenty minutes or so. After that all that's left to do is eat. And the best part? Cleanup involves crumpling the foil and throwing it into the garbage chute. Any reprieve from washing the dishes, I'll take.

I've been cooking pretty much the same thing, with maybe a couple of minor variations here and there. For protein it's either chicken fillets (pounded flat) or white fish, seasoned with salt, pepper, cajun seasoning, cayenne, and whatever herbs I can get my hands on. Or if I'm not too lazy I make a marinade - grated ginger, lemon juice, dijon mustard, and honey make for a nice sweet glaze. Sometimes I sneak in a tiny cube of butter and a couple of cloves of garlic (roasted garlic is <3).

Because I can't cook rice in the oven toaster (or at least I haven't figured out how to do that yet) I substitute with a combination of the following: potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli. Sometimes (okay, always) I sneak in a bit of bacon. And then when it's cooked I squeeze half a lemon into it. Or drizzle a bit of balsamic vinegar, just to add a hint of acid to liven things up.

Admittedly it takes a while because I cook food my in two batches, but it's not like you have to stand in front of the toaster the entire time ("I just slaved over a hot toaster oven," said no one ever). In fact, it's so easy I've managed to bring packed lunch to work almost everyday for the last three weeks, and that's practically unheard of for someone as lazy as I am.

Next project: oven toaster desserts. Stay tuned ;)

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