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Old 05-11-2011, 11:45 PM   #1
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Default On TV Dinners and Toaster Ovens, generally.

So, I'm a bachelor.

One of the ramifications of this is that most of my meals come out of a frozen box. You know, wholesomeish-looking things made from mysterious ingredients in a plastic tray.

I do possess a microwave oven, and for many of these confections, it is an adequate means of preparation. Other meals, however, benefit greatly from preparation in a conventional oven, as it imparts a pleasing texture to objects such as breaded, boneless, chicken-like pieces.

And herein lies my dilemna.

I have a conventional oven. It is of average size, electrically-powered, and does a perfectly acceptable job of cooking meals. It seems, however, quite ludicrous top operate such a voluminous appliance for 35-40 minutes merely to prepare a single tray of food which is quite smallish in comparison.

I also have a toaster oven. It is quite the versatile appliance. Unfortunately, every prepackaged meal which I find in my freezer bears a dire warning that it shall not be prepared in a toaster oven. And yes, it seems to me that it would be much more efficient in terms of energy consumption to use the appliance which, from a dimensional standpoint, best fits the dish under preparation.

And I must admit, I'm a bit conformist when it comes to matters of the kitchen. If it says to use 1.75 cups of water, I use 1.75 cups of water. If it says not to place in the dishwasher, I don't place it in the dishwasher. I simply lack the base of experience required to discriminate between those directions which are merely suggestive in nature versus those which are likely to result in some actual harm coming to my major appliances.


Can anybody lend some actual experience in this regard?
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Old 05-11-2011, 11:48 PM   #2
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So, I'm a bachelor.

Some stuff.

Can anybody lend some actual experience in this regard?
Get a girlfriend or learn to cook.
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Old 05-12-2011, 12:11 AM   #3
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The radiated heat from the heat element might melt the plastic in the close quarters of the toaster oven.
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Old 05-12-2011, 12:13 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by wayne_curr View Post
Get a girlfriend or learn to cook.
Beat me to it. Cooking isn't hard or time consuming.
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Old 05-12-2011, 12:16 AM   #5
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Solution:

Get a convection oven.

Also, unless you set oil on fire, experimenting is cheap. Just buy another cup, meal, plate etc. I am a good cook but I've fucked up so many meals because of experiments. I don't measure or use recipes but I can cook all sorts of stuff freestyle now.
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Old 05-12-2011, 12:26 AM   #6
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Two pieces of advice here.

1. It says "DONT DO THIS" for much the same reason McDonalds coffee is required to carry a "coffee is hot" label on it. Because some ******* idiot didn't have the common sense to pay attention. At some point in human history, someone (probably drunk) put a microwaveable dinner into the toaster oven and became the humble posthumous recipient of a Darwin Award after dieing a horrible fiery death.
-If it is in a plastic container, don't do it. Those meals which come in a paper/cardstock container will probably be fine, just keep a close eye on them.

2. Being both a bachelor and electronics genius, I'm wondering why an induction coil hasn't come to mind. Epic amounts of awesome would be had from mounting a large induction coil sideways and pushing in/pulling out food.
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Old 05-12-2011, 12:30 AM   #7
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Remove frozen meal from plastic packaging, place on/in toaster oven safe dishware (maybe some of those disposable tin trays?) and place in aforementioned toaster oven. Now you have a safe container for the food for the method of cooking.



Or buy a countertop covection oven...

http://www.google.com/search?um=1&hl...w=1579&bih=755



Or even get a little fancy and ditch the heating coils and for infrared..

http://www.google.com/products/catal...=1579&bih=755#

Last edited by Doppelgänger; 05-12-2011 at 12:46 AM.
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Old 05-12-2011, 12:46 AM   #8
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I have this little device:
http://www.amazon.com/Emerson-MWG911.../dp/B00283OTY0

Yeah, the reviews are pretty bad. However I haven't had any such problems with mine.

Typically, I use the grill function to make a sub sandwich, much like the subway or quiznos toasted subs. It works really well for that, haven't really experimented with cooking other stuff in it though.

The only thing I don't like about it are the stupid buttons. It's like performing heart surgery after drinking 3 bottles of Mad Dog 20/20 trying to set the ******* time on it.

Also, may I introduce you to this handy little gadget:
http://www.digitalkitchenstore.com/tem500.html

Don't feel like cooking breakfast? Let your toaster do it for you!

Being a bachelor myself, these two appliances have been pretty good for me.
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Old 05-12-2011, 07:23 AM   #9
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One word: Pyrex. It goes in the micro, the toaster oven and the regular sized oven. If you insist on eating that packaged crap, get some Pyrex bakeware, and dump contents of package into one. Cook in appliance of choice. But you should really learn to cook. It impresses the hell out of wimin, it's easy, and actually cheaper. Plus, you get to eat healthier and with more variety.

+1 on countertop convection oven. All the benefits of a full size oven and a toaster in one package.
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Old 05-12-2011, 07:35 AM   #10
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Ugh, Joe you disappoint me.

Learn to cook, it's not hard and you can cook uber tasty 3 course meals in 30 minutes. That frozen stuff is horrible bland mushy crap.

There's 3 recipes in this website you can follow without having to buy his book

http://www.jamieoliver.com/jamies-30-minutes-meals/

The Piri Piri chicken is beautiful. He also does a chicken pie in the book which is just awesome.

yum
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Old 05-12-2011, 07:58 AM   #11
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I've found that a combination of microwaving and heating/drying in the toaster oven works excellent on many frozen dishes, as well as leftovers.

Use the microwave to actually heat the food most of the way through. Nearly everything comes out of the microwave limp and damp (kinda like everything that comes out of your mom)...and almost anything you heat all the way through loses some of it's taste and a lot of texture...due to the actual mechanics of using the friction of vibrating water particles to derive heat.

When the food is say a :30 to 1:00 away from being done in the microwave slap it in the toaster oven at 350-400* on foil, an oven-safe plate, or sometimes even just the rack (works with corn dogs). You'll find what works best. Basically just don't burn the outside. No worries about actual cooking time because you know the bitch is hot on the inside.

This method works great with nearly everything...and surely reduces energy consumption (not for the sake of the environment or anything stupid like that...just for the sake of efficiency and my personal financial conservation). Some take out will be hard to do, usually things that contain both baked/fried goods and fresh vegetables, like mexican food. Surprisingly french fries turn out great, and fast, as does fried chicken. Now I'll actually put the fries in the take-out box knowing they're not just going to end up a soggy inpallatable mess.


Oh...and frakkin' learn to cook something.
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:14 AM   #12
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Of topic, I guess, since it won’t actually solve the actual issue posted, but still so very relevant: Let me give you 3 lightning quick (10-15min) and good alternatives in one post. No prior skills required and (for that extra bachelor friendliness) with an absolute minimum of tools, dishes and effort required. Seriously, cooking is a lot easier then adding a turbo to your Miata. Give it a stab.

Pasta Carbonara:
- Start by placing some bacon (shopped up or in length, whatever you prefer) inside some folded kitchen paper on a plate. Run it in the microwave until crispy.
- Boil pasta, pour of the water
- Add 2 egg yolks, some salt and plenty of black pepper and a splash of cream or milk to pasta. Stir a lot.
- Remove paper from bacon plate
- Pour pasta onto plate
- Add cheese on top (parmesan if you have it) and nuts if you like it.

Pasta with pesto (It just doesn’t get easier)
- Boil pasta. Pour of the water.
- Add pesto to pasta
- Add mozzarella into pasta or parmesan on top.
- Nuts or some rocket salad works well with this.

Fake omelet
- Fry pieces of sausage, peppers and / or whatever you might have at home (ham, bacon, mushrooms?) quickly in a hot pan
- Add stuff you like, such as baby tomatoes, feta cheese and / or olives
- Add 3 eggs.
- Stir as if your life depended on it
- Serve with bread and (if you feel like it) a salad.

On topic: I have earlier worked in the kitchen appliance industry for 7 years and I second Jeff: there is a LOT of “don’t do this”-stuff that is completely uncalled for. Just try it. The worst that could happen is most often that your meal will end up tasting like crap.
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:23 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redrider706 View Post
The radiated heat from the heat element might melt the plastic in the close quarters of the toaster oven.

this, and it can burn food. transfering it to a better dish and covering with a loose layer of tin foil would probably work.


I really hate living without a microwave.
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:55 AM   #14
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I have to pile on with the learning to cook comments. It's really not hard, and much healthier, cheaper and tastier!

This might be up your alley - http://www.cookingforengineers.com/
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:15 AM   #15
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Ditto on doing some more cooking with fresh foods. I ate a few of those frozen meals when I was a bachelor but after looking at the nutrients labels I was pretty disgusted...
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:16 AM   #16
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1. Take cooking class
2. Meet chicks there
3. Let them practice cooking for you
4. ??????
5. Profit!!!

Rinse and repeat as necessary.
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:39 AM   #17
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I found more girls cooking for me when I was single then I do now having a girlfriend.

That being said...
1. Make sure your toaster oven is warmed up PRIOR to inserting food.
2. Place a sheet of aluminum foil underneath and over top of your tv dinner to dissapate heat when the elements turn back on.
3. Find a ******* woman who can cook your **** for you in hopes of settling down only to be sadly dissapointed when you trade her in.
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:57 AM   #18
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I find this to be a rare instance where Joe has started a thread and not had any followup or input within the first 15 posts. You OK Joe?
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Old 05-12-2011, 12:19 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppelgänger View Post
I find this to be a rare instance where Joe has started a thread and not had any followup or input within the first 15 posts. You OK Joe?
Obviously he doesn't like the advice he's being given.
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Old 05-12-2011, 12:24 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppelgänger View Post
I find this to be a rare instance where Joe has started a thread and not had any followup or input within the first 15 posts. You OK Joe?
Or maybe he burned himself up trying to warm his TV dinner in the toaster oven...
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