So lately, everyone has been ranting and raving about crockpots and how easy they are to use. Trust me, I have done the same, I especially love this recipe for simple shredded taco chicken that I found on Pinterest and now I constantly have a jar of salsa and a packet of taco seasoning on hand!
However, this post is not about all the wonderful recipes and things you can do with a crockpot, but rather its less popular cousin, the toaster oven! I have always been a big advocate of toaster ovens for your typical breakfast foods: bagels, toast, biscuits, etc. But toaster ovens can do so much more, and fast! If you’re like me and need to make small portions (for one or two people) a toaster oven is so much more efficient than using a full size oven. It takes less than 5 minutes to preheat and sometimes can cut cooking times in half as well.
Recently I began making baked chicken in the toaster oven, it’s so easy and quick and just like a crockpot, it’s a hands off process. If you’re like me and using a pan to caramelize, mix and cook products doesn’t always end up all that gourmet, just stick to this. I usually take two chicken breasts (or four chicken tenderloins) and marinate them for however long I’m at work for the day (or the marinade I use, Lawry’s, says 30 minutes will do the trick) then just plop them in a baking dish and throw it into a preheated toaster oven at 325 degrees for 20 minutes or so. Take your chicken out and it should be done! Of course for safety purposes always double check and make sure there is no pink in the center.
Try this chef’s recipe for something new (below) or for super easy just use this Caribbean Jerk marinade from Lawry’s for full flavor chicken, no other seasoning required. I have also tried the Lemon Pepper flavor and it was pretty much what you’d expect from lemon pepper, a traditional choice.
Another great thing to bake in a toaster oven- potatoes. I baked my first sweet potatoes in the toaster oven the other day and they were amazing. It’s so easy, you preheat the oven to 400 degrees (takes about 3 minutes on mine), wrap a rimmed pan in aluminum foil, stab a couple sweet potatoes and then place them on the sheet. Set a timer for 45 minutes and begin baking!
Go ahead, try to cook whatever you want in the toaster oven: fish, bacon, sausage links, maybe even steaks- I don’t know Youtube it!
Regardless of what you like to eat most, a toaster oven will cut down your cook time and the time you wait for the stupid oven to preheat- not to mention your saving money on energy costs! It’s basically a win/win/win situation, unless you are a family of 10 and cook everything in Sam’s-sized portions. But if you’re like me and just want to eat healthy without eating the same meal five days in a row- go for the good ol’ toaster oven.