Cooking

How A Toaster Oven Can Help You In The Kitchen

cooking with a new toaster oven

Both conventional ovens and microwave ovens can be frustrating at times. The former takes too long to cook one’s meals, while the latter does not always fully cook the food. It is no wonder, then, that boxes containing seafood, and other types of food as well–contain the warning that microwaving is not the recommended method. However, there is a third alternative: the toaster oven. It has many advantages. The purpose of this post, then, is to discuss a number of those benefits.

Healthier Meals That Are Cooked Evenly

Toaster ovens prepare food by heating the interior of the oven with heating elements. It will take longer to prepare meals with a toaster oven. However, it significantly reduces the risk of foodborne illness. Too often have we heard tragic stories of people who have been made very sick, or actually passed away, from salmonella, legionnaire’s disease, or e.coli. Thoroughly cooking the food kills all the bacteria that came with the frozen food. Aside for the potential for illness or loss of life, food simply tastes better when it has been completely cooked.

Browning and Cooking

Toaster ovens are better at browning and cooking than microwave ovens, for example. Microwaves are rather poor performers in this area. In fact, if one attempts to cook pizza or pizza rolls in a microwave oven, the result is often soggy and inconsistent. Countertop ovens are capable of crisping this type of food making it more savory.

Heating Up Bread

Toasters have a wonderful reputation for heating bread so that it is warm, crispy and brown. Doing this in a large oven or a microwave can result in bread tasting either very hard or too soft. However, a toaster can cook bread long enough to be crispy on the outside, yet softer internally. Or you can cook the bread in the toaster long enough to make it warm but not crispy, based on your personal preference.

Keeps Food Warmer Longer

In order to keep food that you are cooking warm, you simply place the food in the toaster, leave it there, and keep the cooking temperature relatively low. It is ideal if you do not want, or have the time, to eat the food right away. Should you choose the microwave method, you run the risk of the food cooling really quick, causing you to have to microwave it again. That, indeed, would be a waste of energy.

Convection Cooking and Baking

Many of today’s modern toasting ovens come with a convection cooking system. This kind of toaster comes with a fan to circulate the hot air evenly around the inside of the oven so that the dish cooks evenly. This, indeed, increases the chances that the food you prepare in the toaster will be fully cooked, and will be delicious to taste.

Energy Efficiency

In comparison to conventional ovens, the wattage used is much less than a conventional oven. A toaster uses 1200-1800 watts, while a conventional oven employs about twice the wattage. Consequently, if you rely on always using the conventional oven, your energy bill will be higher than you would prefer. Therefore, if you must use the large oven for the larger meals, consider cooking the smaller meals in a toaster.

Versatility

You can do a lot with these type of ovens as they are not just for toasting your favorite types of bread. Finding the best convection toaster oven that best serves your cooking needs is not as difficult as it might seem. Most of the top rated models possess a wide temperature range, and strong cooking capabilities that can handle the cooking of a variety of foods. Also, some come with an additional heating element on the top that allows you to cook and warm at the same time. Some of the modern models have touch screens and rotisserie hooks. This indeed represents a change from the toasters of the 1960s, 1970s or the 1980s. Also, these appliances can handle tasks such as defrosting, warming, broiling or baking.

Toaster Oven Technology

With quartz heating elements, smart ovens, convection features, and LCD displays, today’s toaster ovens provide those who love to cook an appliance that can handle a number of different tasks with less work. Your big oven uses a lot of energy so why not get something that is extremely convenient and can do just as good of a job preparing your favorite meals. From baking, roasting, broiling, reheating, and yes, even toasting, these small countertop ovens can really change the way you spend time in your kitchen. And with the holidays just around the corner, they also make fantastic Christmas gifts.

Cooking

Which Home Ice Cream Machines Make The Best Gifts

Even though we like to help others lead a more healthy lifestyle and we try to give tips to improve your diet and eating habits, we are not robots. We know it is important to treat yourself every once in a while to a well deserved treat. The key to staying healthy is to not over indulge and to exercise some moderation. With that said, we have a weakness for ice cream, and we do own our own machine to make it at home. Not only does it taste extremely wonderful, but it is something that the little one enjoys doing. There are a lot of advantages to using your own ice cream machine. We make it a family affair once a week and it is indeed a real treat for both adults and kids.

So for those who might be interested in getting your own ice cream maker we have compiled a short list of some of the better reviewed models to help you find the best option for your home. They all seem to be able to produce quality frozen dishes, and they cater to all budgets. So which are the top ice cream machines for the upcoming new year?

Cuisinart Ice Cream Machines

You really cannot go wrong with any model in their line of machines. Cuisinart produces some of the best kitchen appliances, and we have been using one of their models for the past year without any problems. It has been really easy to use and it produces an great tasting ice cream with a very nice consistency. We definitely recommend this brand and some of their best rated models include:

Cuisinart ICE-21

This is a fantastic option for those on a budget. This model usually can be bought for around $40 to $50 online. It can make 1.5 quarts of ice cream as well as gelato, frozen yogurt, and sorbets. This machine has a powerful motor that usually handles the ice cream making process is just a few minutes. It is a versatile, fast, and convenient machine.

Cuisinart ICE 30BC

This is the model that we currently use and we could not be happier with it. It has a capacity of 2 quarts which is perfect for us as we can make a lot of ice cream at once and enjoy it for days. This has more of a mid-range price point and it can be picked up for a little bit more than the ICE-21 machine mentioned above. After giving it a workout for the past year, we highly recommend this model.

Cuisinart ICE-100

This is a higher end model that has its own compressor so you do not have the need to freeze the bowl before using. This model is one that we wish that we could afford, but this model was over our budget. It has all the bells and whistles and it makes producing great tasting ice cream and other frozen desserts super fast and convenient.

Other Top Ice Cream Makers

While Cuisinart has a lot of top quality machines, there are other brands also worth considering if you are in the market for a new ice cream maker.

Breville BCI600XL

Breville is known for the modern and well built small kitchen appliances, and this ice cream machine is no exception. It comes with a LCD display and quick setting buttons to make the entire process as smooth as the ice cream that it produces. Expensive, but it might be well worth it.

Nostalgia Electrics

This company makes machines that resemble units that your grandmother might have used. They are designed to look like wooden barrels and they are a real head turner in any kitchen. They also make some nice ice cream and get pretty decent reviews from owners. For something a little bit different, this may be an nice option.

Healthy Ice Cream?

Yes, even though we think of ice cream as being decadent, indulgent, and relatively not good for our diet, there are ways to actually make it somewhat good for you to eat. You can take advantage of your new machine by using some healthy ice cream recipes. This way you won’t feel as guilty and you can also stick to your diet. Eating good does not always have to taste so bad.

Health & Nutrition

Which Juicers Are Best For Speed And Convenience?

If you have been looking to lose some weight or you just want to improve the quality of your overall diet, then juicing may be a viable option for you. It can be hard to eat healthy when we are constantly on the move, chasing the kids, or getting caught up with work. Getting your recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables can seem like an almost impossible task. This is why juicing has become so popular.

While there may be critics who say that juicing is somewhat silly, and that you should be eating all of your fresh produce, they don’t seem to take into account that a lot of folks don’t have the time or the desire to do so. When juicing is done right it can be a tremendous asset to your health, but juicing may also pose a risk to some if they over do it. Moderation is key, and as a way to supplement your diet, juicing can be rather rewarding.

If you fall into the category of those who just don’t have the time to treat yourself like you should, then getting a centrifugal juicer is going to be your best option. These are extremely fast machines that quickly extract juice from the pulp of a wide variety of fruits and veggies. They are simple to use, easy to clean, and they can provide you with a wonderful dose of the nutrients you need to thrive during the day. We gathered a few of the best centrifugal options that are worth using in your kitchen.

Breville Rules

If you were looking for a masticating juicer then the number of high quality brand names to choose from would be numerous. Omega, Kuvings, Tribest, and Champion all make superb masticating juice extractors that are well built and will give you a great juicing experience. However, for centrifugal machines, there is really only brand name to consider.

For years Breville has taken the lead when it comes to centrifugal juice extractors. They are extremely well designed machines that owners really love using on a daily basis. There really is not a close competitor when it comes to these types of juicing appliances. One look at the latest juicer reviews for 2018 and you will see why they continue to be so highly regarded. Below are just some of the Breville models that will give you a terrific experience in your kitchen.

Breville BJE200XL

This is their most basic model and it is a great juicer for a beginner who isn’t sure that juicing is for them and who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money to find out. It has one speed, which is super fast. It also has a built in pulp catcher to make things more convenient. This also helps take up less counter space. Some of its highlights include:

  • One speed to simplify the juicing process.
  • Low cost model that will set you back about $100. This makes it a perfect starter juicer for those who want to try it first without a big investment.
  • Super fast and easy to clean. Take out all of the hassle and time needed to get a great tasting glass of fresh juice.

Breville JE98XL

This model is a great step up from the BJE200XL. It has a slightly higher powered motor and it offers two speeds. You can use the slower speed for softer fruits and the higher speed for harder veggies. This will allow you to get the most juice as possible from various types of produce. This is a mid-range model that is also quite popular.

  • Excellent juicer for the money. This will typically cost around $150 and is a good option for those looking for a something a little more robust.
  • Plastic housing that is easy to keep clean with dishwasher safe parts.
  • Dual speed for greater customization and higher juice yield.

Breville 800JEXL

This is one of Brevilles top of the line models that is worth the investment if you can afford it. This thing is a beast that will handle anything that you can throw at it.

  • Stainless steel housing that really shines on your countertop. The extra strong materials and sturdy construction will ensure efficient juicing for years to come.
  • Easy to clean with dishwasher safe parts, all of Breville’s models are designed to be as hassle free as possible.
  • An even stronger motor that will breeze through even the toughest of foods. This provides an exceptionally fast juicing experience and is an optimal choice for hectic schedules.

A Few Drawbacks

While centrifugal juicers are extremely fast, there are a few trade offs for all of that speed. First, they are quite a bit louder than masticating juicers. The robust motors that spin the cutting discs at high speeds generate a fair amount of noise, similar to that of a blender. Secondly, they are not as efficient and produce slightly less juice when handling leafy vegetables. You might have to run your kale or spinach a few times through the machine to get as much juice as a masticating model.

If you just don’t have the time or the patience to methodically juice your produce, however, then these issues can be overlooked. You will still get a glass full of nutrient dense goodness, and you will get it in a shorter amount of time, and this is the reason why centrifugal juicing machines are so popular today. If your diet is suffering and you are looking for a way to improve it, then one of these juice extractors may be just what you need.