Reader question: What do you do during the summer months when it’s too hot to use the oven?
One of my favorite summertime cooking solutions is to use a toaster oven!
Seriously, I have a large toaster oven that fits a 2-quart Dutch oven easily, holds my 3-quart round oven beautifully, and even squeezes in my 3 1/2-quart oval-shaped Dutch oven without hitting any sides.
On warm evenings when I would rather not heat up my house, I simply plug the toaster oven into the outdoor socket on my back deck and let the heat stay outside. On rainy days I move it to my covered front porch. 🙂
Although I originally purchased this particular toaster oven so that I could prepare Glorious One-Pot Meals when I held cooking classes in locations other than a kitchen, I soon realized that a toaster oven has a number of advantages over a regular oven.
First, as I mentioned, you can pick it up and move it outside so that you don’t have to heat up your house in order to enjoy a meal. In the summer I use my outdoor toaster oven to bake pizzas, home fries, fish,… you name it. As well as Glorious One-Pot Meals, of course!
Second, it takes less energy to heat a smaller space like that inside a toaster oven than it does to heat and maintain the heat in the large space of a typical home oven. So I get to feel a little greener when I use it.
And, third, my toaster oven preheats much more quickly than my regular oven, probably for the same reason as #2 above.
When I picked out my toaster oven, I went to the largest selection of small kitchen appliances I knew of with my trusty 2-quart Dutch oven in hand. I proceeded to open each one and try to slide my pot inside. When I found the one that fit, I knew I had found a new tool for creating easy and delicious meals all year round.
Whenever I’m using the toaster oven to bake rather than toast, I always place an oven thermometer inside to validate the temperature just as I do with my gas oven inside. Just to be sure the temp is where I want it to be.