Toaster Oven Turkey Stuffed Peppers

On a cold, polar vortex kind of night there is nothing like a hot, steaming, hearty meal. I also love meals that reheat well for lunches and dinners. If you are cooking for 1 or 2, this stuffed pepper recipe will give you leftovers for a few days and is easy to take to work. This recipe was inspired by a recipe on the blog skinnytaste, which means that it’s also very healthy and low calorie! For this recipe you will need a deeper, square baking dish that fits into your toaster oven. It’s lovely when served with a nice, light green salad on the side.

TIP: If you want yours to have a little kick, add some diced jalepenos to the mixture.

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Toaster Oven Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Makes 6 servings (1/2 pepper is one serving)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey meat
  • 1 tbspn olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro (optional)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 3 large bell peppers (red, orange, or yellow all work)
  • 1 cup fat free, low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1.5 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar
  • 6 green onions, diced

Directions:

Preheat the toaster oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and then add onion, garlic, and cilantro (optional) to the pan. Saute about 4 minutes, and then add the ground turkey. Season the meat with garlic powder, cumin, pepper, and salt and brown meat for several minutes until it is completely cooked through. It should be cooked through but not overcooked. Add the tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of chicken broth. Stir all ingredients and simmer for about 5 minutes on low. Add the brown rice and stir all ingredients together.

Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise and remove all seeds. Cover the baking dish in aluminum foil. Place all bell peppers in the dish (you may have to squish them up against each other to get them all to fit). Spoon the meat mixture into each pepper half and fill as much as you can. Pour the remainder of the chicken broth on the bottom of the pan, evenly around the peppers. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove and make sure that the peppers are soft and tender by poking with a fork. If cooked through, sprinkle the peppers with the cheddar cheese, re-cover, and bake for another 3 minutes, until cheese melts. If not cooked through, return to toaster oven for another 5 minutes. Top with green onions.

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Posted in Dinners

Toaster Oven Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts have become my favorite vegetable in the last few years. I crave them in the winter, they are so hearty, filling, and delicious, especially when they have that toasted, caramelized flavor. This easy recipe can be made with dried herbs that you already have in your spice cabinet. I adapted a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis for the toaster oven. Her recipe calls for parsnips, carrots, and potatoes, which is also great. I really like these brussels sprouts salty, almost like french fries, so I use a generous amount of sea salt. If you would prefer to watch your sodium intake, a small sprinkle will still taste great.

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Toaster Oven Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups brussels sprouts, washed and halved, with the outer layer of leaves removed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat the toaster oven to 400 degrees.

Cover your toaster oven sized baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place brussels sprouts on the baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Evenly sprinkle the oregano, rosemary, basil, thyme, garlic powder, and pepper over the vegetables. Do not put any salt on them yet. Using your hands, toss the brussels sprouts in the mixture and make sure they are evenly coated in the oil.

Bake the brussels sprouts for 12 minutes. Remove them from the toaster, and using a spatula carefully turn them so that they get roasted on the other side. Return to the toaster oven for another 10-15 minutes, watching carefully to make sure they do not burn. They should be golden brown and a little crispy when they are finished. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes. Once cooled slightly, generously add the sea salt (add as much as you like, depending on how salty you like them) and serve.

Toaster Oven Tip: Every toaster oven will heat a little differently, so keep an eye on the brussels sprouts during the second 10 minutes to make sure they don’t burn.

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Posted in Side Dishes

Spicy Corn Chowder

In my last post, I shared a recipe for garlic crostini, and mentioned that I recently served it with a spicy corn chowder. We recently got a Vitamix blender as a wedding gift, and I have been spending the last few months experimenting with it. I customized this Vitamix recipe for corn chowder by adding my own twist. While it was written for the Vitamix, you can also make this soup using a regular blender, immersion blender or food processor.  Add a little extra cayenne if you like things extra spicy, but be careful because a little bit goes a long way!

Happy New Year!!!

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Spicy Corn Chowder with Crispy Turkey Bacon

Yields: About 7-8 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1.25 cups chopped white onions
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 27 ounces russet potatoes, skinned and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4.5 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (add a little more if you want it spicier, but use caution)
  • 6 slices turkey bacon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh chopped parsley

Directions:

  • Heat a medium stockpot over medium low heat. Saute onion and bell pepper in butter until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add potatoes, chicken stock, and 1.5 cups corn. Simmer with lid until potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  • Place mixture into Vitamix or other blender or food processor. Add the milk to the Vitamix. Start by blending on low and slowly increase to high (on vitamix, start with variable 1 and go to variable 7). 
  • Blend for about 15 seconds or until mixture is smooth. Time will vary depending on blender, but the soup should have a creamy, thick consistency.
  • Return mixture to saucepan over low heat. Stir in the remaining corn and the cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper to taste. Heat on low heat for about 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, place 6 slices of turkey bacon on a plate, lined with a sheet of paper towel. Cover bacon with another sheet of paper towel and place in microwave. Microwave on high for 1 minute 30 seconds. Continue to microwave in 30 second increments, checking the bacon each time, until it is crispy. When cooled, crumble the bacon into small pieces.
  • Ladel soup into a bowl and top with parsley and 1 slice crumbled turkey bacon. If you are saving some soup for leftovers and not serving right away, transfer remaining bacon to fridge and serve with reheated soup, as needed. This will ensure it stays crispy each time.

Optional: Serve with my garlic crostini recipe, found here.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Easy Toaster Oven Garlic Crostini

Crostini are super simple, versatile croutons that are perfect for your upcoming New Years party (or a quick appetizer for 2). You can top them with a sharp gouda cheese, smoked salmon, bruschetta…you name it. I love this list of crostini topping ideas from Real Simple, especially the sautéed mushrooms and herbs.

I recently made garlic crostini to accompany a hearty, spicy corn chowder (topped with crispy turkey bacon – so good!). They were the perfect item to dip in a hearty soup too. Here is a 15 minute toaster oven crostini recipe that will save you time and wow your New Years gusts. You can also double this recipe for a regular oven, and up the cook time by 2 minutes.

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Easy Toaster Oven Garlic Crostini

Ingredients:

  • 1 small baguette (whole wheat, multi-grain, or white)
  • 1 tablespoon dried mixed italian herbs
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Directions:

Preheat your convection toaster oven to 350 degrees. Slice the baguette into 1/2 inch thick slices on a slight diagonal. This should make about 12 slices. Lay the slices of bread out on your small baking sheet, which should be covered in aluminum foil.  Slowly drizzle the olive oil over the bread slices. Using your hands, roll the bread around in the excess oil and make sure both sides of the bread are lightly coated. Sprinkle garlic powder and mixed herbs over the crostini.

Bake for 8 minutes or until crostini are fully crisp and a light golden brown color. Let cool and serve or store in an airtight container. Makes 12 crostini.

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Posted in Appetizers

Toaster Oven Granola

Recently I’ve been making a lot of granola. My husband eats it every day for breakfast with greek yogurt and fresh fruit, so I decided to try and make it myself.  I found this recipe from This Woman Cooks! on pinterest, and after a few batches and some trial and error, I’ve adapted this recipe for the toaster oven. Each time I make it I switch up the flavor palette – cranberry and hazelnut, vanilla almond pecan, cherry almond, raisin almond…the list can be endless. You can even add dark chocolate chunks to the mix (just make sure baked granola is completely cooled before adding)!

I have found that this oh-so-easy recipe makes the perfect quantity for the toaster oven. Go ahead and double it for a large cookie sheet in a conventional oven. My favorite part is the lightly toasted nuts, added at the end.

This granola makes a perfect homemade (and inexpensive) holiday gift for coworkers, teachers, neighbors, or friends. I plan to make a bunch, put in a mason jar, tie with a festive bow and include a personalized note! Holiday tins from the dollar store would do the trick as well!

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Toaster Oven Fruit, Nut, and Flax Seed Granola

Source: Adapted from This Woman Cooks!

Makes 1 lb granola

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups organic rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3.5 tablespoons oil (whatever you have on hand – vegetable, canola, or sunflower oil)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup raw nuts (your choice of almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds – whatever you have on hand!)
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit (your choice of cranberries, cherries, blueberries, raisins, etc)

Preheat your convection toaster oven to 350. Line your toaster oven mini baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss the oats with cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and flax seeds.

In a medium bowl, stir together oil, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla. Whisk until completely combined. Pour the honey mixture over the oats and use your hands to combine ingredients.

Using your hands, grab fistfuls of the mixture, so you’ll have a couple of clumps for texture. Spread mixture over baking sheet and spread it out evenly, leaving a few clumps here and there.

Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from toaster oven to flip the granola over with a spatula. Bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip again with the spatula, and sprinkle the nuts evenly over the granola. Return the pan to the toaster oven and bake another 5 minutes. Remove from toaster oven and let cool for 3 minutes.

Sprinkle dried fruit while still warm, and let it melt into granola a bit. Let granola cool completely (at least 1 hour) and then break up into chunks with spatula and transfer to an airtight container.

Toaster Oven Tip: The corners of the pan tend to cook the quickest, so when you turn with the spatula make sure to scoop up the corners and move those oats to the middle of the pan.

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Posted in Breakfast, Uncategorized

Why Toaster Ovens?

For me, the answer to this question is simple…I have no other choice. My apartment, while equipped with a gas stove, has no oven. Like most NYC apartments, it’s a little quirky. I love to cook and bake, so I decided not to let this small misfortune stop me and purchased a fancy shmancy convection toaster oven, the KitchenAid 12″ Convection Bake Countertop Oven. Sadly, I worked that thing to death and a year and a half later it died (RIP). Thanks to a generous wedding gift from a family friend, I am now the proud owner of a Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven. I’ve set out to prove that I can still cook and bake whatever I please in my toaster oven…whether it’s roasted vegetables, a pie, bread, pizza, or even a roasted chicken! Ok ok…I’m not going to be preparing a 15 lb Thanksgiving turkey anytime soon, but let’s be honest, I can’t even fit my family into my small apartment anyways!

What about you? Why should you discover the art of toaster oven living? There are a number of other great benefits. You should try toaster oven living if you are:

Living in a crazy, ill-equipped apartment like mine.

Cooking for 1 or 2…if you don’t want to make a huge quantity, you can make yourself the perfect little portion!

Going green…toaster ovens are more energy efficient than regular ovens! This will save you a little green on your electrical bill too. $$$

On a diet…you can pop in one or two cookies at a time, instead of baking the whole batch. This is a nice form of portion control.

Into broiling…I have found that my convection toaster ovens roasts more evenly than a conventional oven. You don’t have to worry about putting the item on the correct rack, everything heats pretty evenly. And you can easily check on the status through the viewing window.

Annoyed by cleaning…the countertop oven is so easy to clean, just remove the crumb tray and clean, with the occasional wipe down.

I plan to post recipes, modified for toaster oven living, with tips, tricks, and recommendations. If you are a fellow toaster oven chef, please share your recipes and ideas!

Posted in Uncategorized

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