Part of slaying the processed food dragon, is getting prepared to cook more. I have a lot of work to do. But, we did just cross one thing off the list. I bought my very first…toaster oven!
OK, so maybe that isn’t exciting to everyone, but I’ve actually never had a toaster oven. I’ve always had a toaster, but since I don’t use my actual wall oven that much, I didn’t really think I needed a toaster oven. In fact, I have double wall ovens that I don’t use all that often. I do use the two microwaves, but not the “real” ovens.
But, as I’ve been cooking more real food, I’ve found more and more opportunities where I could use the oven, but it is to cook something really small and it just seems a waste to heat up the oven and too much trouble to deal with it. (Yes, I’m the lazy woman’s chef).
I’ve been making salads for my lunch or dinner quite often. I bought pine nuts (umm…pine nuts), but every time I thought about making them I just couldn’t quite bring myself to toast them in one of the large ovens. So, I would just skip it. Or, red bell peppers. I love, love, love roasted red bell peppers, but it just seemed like too little to go through heating up the large oven.
But, then, I noticed that some of the recipes I was reading talked about putting things in the toaster oven. Light bulb over head time! I started researching and thought this would solve my problem. I read a lot of reviews and ended up with the Cuisinart TOB-260 Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven. (This is not an affiliate link, just linking to where I bought it).
We’ve placed it on the counter right across from the island where I usually assemble my salads. Tonight, I decided to make a salad for my dinner and it was so nice to just easily be able to put the pine nuts in the toaster oven and have it quickly toast them while I was working on the salad. I didn’t have to heat up a large oven and it was very easy to move between the toaster oven and the island.
I have other things I want to buy as well. We bought some OXO POP storage containers since we will be storing more whole foods in the pantry. Right now we haven’t set them up at all. The other day I went in the pantry and found that we had somehow gotten pantry moths. We cleaned out the pantry and threw out a ton of stuff (basically everything that wasn’t in cans). Once we get the pantry entirely cleaned, we’ll replenish the pantry and set up the OXO containers.
I need to also look through our kitchen utensils and see what I need since I’m cooking more. I have some things, but definitely need others. What I don’t understand is what happens to all of our measuring tablespoons. I know we have bought a ton of measuring spoon sets. I know this because I have tons of teaspoons and 1/4 teaspoons, etc. However, we have only a couple of tablespoons. No clue what happened to the others. I am constantly looking for more of them.
I also need to actually sit down and learn how to use the mandolin I bought last year. I bought it, but didn’t really learn how to use it so I never use it. I just end up individually cutting everything which takes forever.
And, I’m thinking about buying a new food processor. Years ago, when I used to cook I always had a Cuisinart food processor. But, I haven’t had a large food processor in years. I did buy a small food processor soon after we moved into this house and it is fine for small stuff. But, it won’t handle anything major. So, I’m thinking about getting another large one.
I totally understand that a lot of this stuff is really not necessary. But, remember, I’m lazy when it comes to cooking. Today I made a quesadilla for lunch and it really pushed my limit on how much time I want to spend cooking something. I had bought some organic chicken breasts at the grocery store, but they were frozen. So first I had to thaw the breast. Then I cooked it (overcooked it actually) in the George Foreman grill. I don’t like working with raw chicken (I’m compulsive about constantly washing everything down with hot soapy water and washing my hands constantly). But I had to thaw the chicken, then I pounded it with a mallet to make it thinner, then I cooked it and shredded it. While I was getting cheese and Sriracha sauce out of the refrigerator, one of the cats made off with a bite of the chicken. I finally assembled the quesadilla and then cooked it in the George Foreman grill. It was great, but it took 45 minutes to get everything done and it took about 3 minutes to inhale the quesadilla.
I also need to organize everything in the kitchen better. And, I should have planned this meal in advance and thawed the breast in the refrigerator overnight. (Actually the real killer was that when I put the leftover chicken in the refrigerator, I found that my daughter had cooked a chicken breast the day before and she had leftover chicken that I could have used for the quesadilla. Oh, well.)
I need to reorganize the drawers in the kitchen. When I was using the grill I needed a spatula and had none in the drawer close to the grill, but found some in the drawer on the other side of the kitchen nowhere near a cooking surface.
So much to do….