Wednesday, January 23, 2008

#164 - All Warm and Toasty

Using My Toaster Oven Instead of My Big Oven

I am in love - In love, I tell you. And I'm not talking about my imaginary butcher boyfriend. I'm referring to my new favorite appliance.

Get your minds out of the gutter, kids -- it's not that kind of appliance.

It's my Oster Toaster Oven that I got for Christmas! This thing is da bomb, folks and it has been chefing up toasty, tasty meals for almost a month now! It heats up in a jiffy and the temperature control seems to be pretty accurate. I've been cooking hot nuggets and fries for the kids' lunches, mini-meatloafs for dinner and single-serving apple crisps for hubby. I've even been whipping up cookies for dessert -- four at a time, of course! There is nothing this little toaster oven can't cook.

With the exception of toast, oddly enough. It does kind of suck at making toast.

But other than that, it ROCKS! I have only used my big, energy sucking oven twice this month. Once, because the pizza delivery guy came early and I needed to store the pie someplace warm. And again, when I was making bacon and waffles for dinner (nice diet food, eh?) and I wanted to keep the first batch hot while I made more. Basically, my GE Profile Drop-In Range has been demoted to a warming drawer.

This change from daily use of my oven to the toaster oven is pretty similar to my "using the crockpot" post. It's really no extra work, but should pay off in a sizable reduction in my electric consumption.


Let's assume that my average dinner takes about a half an hour to cook. That leaves me with a nightly difference of:

Oven - 8700 watts x .001 x .5 hours = 4.35 kWh
Toaster - 1250 watts x .001 x .5 hours = .625 kWh

I was already crockin' dinner once a week, and once a week we're eating salads, so I'm down to five nights per week that I'll need to use the oven. That makes my weekly oven usage roughly 21.75 kWh while my toaster oven would be drawing 3.125 kWh for the same time period. A weekly difference of 18.625.

In one year, that adds up to 968.5 kWh saved! At my current wind-generated electrical rate of $0.10 kWh, that's a dollar savings of $96.85 - greater than the cost of the oven. SCORE!

Difficulty Level: 1 out of 5

It's actually easier to cook in the toaster oven. Because it's such a tiny space, I don't have to wait for the darn thing to preheat. And like I said, I've been making cookies in it and even they bake up nice and evenly, delivering a really nice chocolate cookie fix each night. Of course, eating the dough right out of the tub would save even MORE electricity. Hmmmmm. Food for thought.


Mary Elizabeth said...

Some random commenter gave me toaster oven grief!!

Down towards the bottom he told me that my toaster Oven eats more juice than a regular toaster and blah!! But I'm standing firm, I'm not running out to buy a toaster and pitching my toaster oven. No way!

Green Bean said...

Mmmm, sounds tempting. I still haven't given in to the lure of the toaster over but it looks like I should. That's a big energy savings!

BTW, sounds like your diet is going as well as mine.

leslie said...

Again, this is an opportunity for the cheap thrill of running outside in the cold to see how fast the electric meter goes around when the appliance is on.
mmmm... grilled cheese sandwiches.... with tomato...and some of that bacon you were talking about...

SustainableStyle said...

We used ONLY our toaster oven for over three years. I managed to cook everything in it; pies, cupcakes, quiche, pizza (cut in fourths!). It really makes a huge difference in your energy bill.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that toaster ovens cannot make toast?!?! It is ridiculous...everytime I try to make toast in mine I is either not toasted or burnt. I do cook in mine frequently as well - hubby works a different schedule than I do so we eat seperately.

Melinda said...

Wow, that's incentive! I've been trying to do more in the toaster oven, but I'll admit it has not been regular enough. Thanks for the facts & figures.

Chile said...

I picked up a toaster oven for 5 bucks last year at a thrift store. It makes great toast and I've just started using it for small batch baking. My dilemma has been that none of my pans fit in it (and its pan was missing). Solved that this past week by using one of my pieces of silicone KitchenAid baking sheets cut to fit my 8x8" pan. It fit perfectly widthwise. Would be nice to have one wider, but let's not be too picky now, ok?

Anonymous said...

chile, I have a suggestion for you. Pampered Chef makes a small baking stone that fits PERFECT in your toaster oven and they work awesome and can used over and over again and all you have to do to clean them is using water and a scrapper.

Anonymous said...

chile, I have a suggestion for you. Pampered Chef makes a small baking stone that fits PERFECT in your toaster oven and they work awesome and can used over and over again and all you have to do to clean them is using water and a scrapper.

Chile said...

Thanks, Angie. I didn't know they made small baking stones. I'll have to take measurements and check it out.

Sadly, I do own 2 large pizza stones, neither of which fit in the small 1950s gas oven in our rental house. I refuse to get rid of the stones, though, as we won't live here forever. (And I keep trying to talk my sweetie into building me a solar oven big enough for the stones...)

Thanks for the good idea!