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Miniature pizzas in a toaster oven

If your family size is getting smaller or if you often prepare meals for just one person, consider the advantages of a toaster oven. If space is a problem, it may serve as your main oven. It takes up less space and uses less energy than a large oven, and it doesn't heat up the kitchen.

Before buying, compare different brands. They vary considerably in the features and the amount of food that the oven will hold at one time.

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Most toaster ovens have heating elements close enough together to toast bread yet far enough apart to accept some foods for broiling and baking. They can be used as an auxiliary oven for heating muffins, rolls, and other baked goods, and for baking potatoes. Many will hold and bake a cake in an 8-inch cake pan. The larger ones will hold a 2-quart casserole.

For convenience when making toast, a color control switch with a chime or click signals when the toast is done. Usually 4 or 6 slices can be toasted at once.

A toaster oven can also be used to keep already-prepared foods warm, and the top of the oven can be used to warm plates.

The ovens reach temperatures from 200 degrees F. to 475 degrees F. and have a thermostat marked in degrees F. Some will clean themselves at normal cooking temperatures.

Other features you might like and should look for are a clear, tempered-glass window, removable crumb tray, baking tray, a 2-position grill rack, broiler pans , and removable doors.

Here is a recipe designed for the toaster oven. Miniature Pizzas 1 (10 count) can refrigerated biscuits 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce 1 pound ground beef, cooked 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1/2 cup onion, chopped 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat toaster oven to 475 degrees F. Roll biscuits out to 1/4-inch thickness. Spread 1/2 of the tomato sauce over top of each biscuit. Cover with a layer of beef; sprinkle seasoning, onion, and cheese over beef. Top with remaining tomato sauce. Place foil on rack and pizzas on top of foil. Bake in toaster oven 20 to 35 minutes or until brown.

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