A toaster oven is a countertop cooking appliance that allows you to cook a variety of foods without a full stove or oven. A toaster oven in a dorm room can save you money by allowing you to prepare your own meals instead of getting an expensive dining plan. Many colleges ban cooking appliances, including toaster ovens, in the dorms, so check your school's policies before bringing one into your dorm room.
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Frozen breakfast foods like waffles or full frozen breakfast meals get a crispy texture that is more appealing than the soft finish from microwaving. A toaster oven makes those breakfast foods taste more like they were cooked from scratch on a stove. You can also cook fresh eggs in a toaster oven in ramekins. Add the cheese, meats and vegetables you want along with the eggs. The eggs cook through in about 15 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit in the toaster oven.
A toaster oven allows you to make toasted sandwiches without a skillet and stove. Grilled cheese is a simple option, but you can also use meat, vegetables and cheeses inside any type of bread or bun. Quesadillas also work in the toaster oven. To make the quesadilla, sprinkle cheese on a tortilla and toast it. Meats and vegetables also go well in the quesadilla. A frozen pizza or a homemade pizza on an English muffin is a toaster-oven option for lunch or dinner. Other frozen foods, including chicken strips, lasagna and burgers, can also go into the toaster oven.
Hot side dishes and appetizers are an option in a toaster oven. For a healthy side dish in your dorm room, roast diced vegetables tossed with a teaspoon of oil. Pita triangles brushed lightly with olive oil turn out out crispy in the toaster oven. The resulting pita chips work well for dips, which you can also make in the toaster oven. Bean dip, artichoke dip and other hot dips warm quickly in the toaster oven and develop a browned crust on the top like they would in a regular oven. You also have the option of heating up frozen snacks and appetizers like fries, cheese sticks and garlic bread.
Many of the desserts you would bake in a regular oven also work in a toaster oven. Cookies are a simple option. Instead of trying to find room for all of the cookie ingredients in your dorm, use premade refrigerated cookie dough. Refrigerator biscuits also work well in the toaster oven. Top the biscuits with cinnamon and sugar before baking for a lightly sweet treat, or flatten a biscuit and put a scoop of apple pie filling in the middle. Fold over the dough to seal in the apples before cooking the dessert in the toaster oven. Another dessert option is an indoor s'more. Place a piece of chocolate on a graham cracker and top it with a marshmallow. When the marshmallow is toasty, take it out of the toaster oven and top with another graham cracker.