Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Kitchen Gadget # 6: Convection Oven

In most of the US Fall has arrived. And, although, technically it has here as well it's still quite warm during the day. Here in the Southwest temperatures don't start to drop until closer to Halloween. I remember when I was a kid the weeks leading up to Halloween were warm and delightful, so I seemed to always choose my costume accordingly. But, without fail, each year, that evening would turn cold and I'd have to cover my carefully thought out costume with a coat. I should have learned. :)

Halloween Time!
With the warm weather still holding on like a squirrel with his last acorn I decided to bring out my convection oven.

This small oven is wonderful on a hot day! My kitchen doesn't heat up and foods cook just a tad quicker. It's small which makes it great for cooking for a small bunch. Cooking for a crowd? You may need to stick with the regular oven.

What have I cooked in this tiny marvel?

Tater tots (my vice!)
Sweet potato fries
Small casserole
Small lasagna
"Meat" ball subs
Roasted peppers (it has a broiler too!)
Brussel sprouts

I've used it so much (you can tell by how dirty it is) for so many things! I don't know what I ever did without one. It also doubles as a toaster oven. Toasting bread, garlic toast, pita bread. It's all done in a snap without heating up the house.

Basically, anything you cook in your large oven you can cook in a convection oven. Of course, this would depend on the size of the food item.

Tonight I roasted some brussel sprouts. These are my newest favorite vegetable. I hated them until I roasted fresh brussels. Wow! What a difference fresh and roasted makes!  If you are like me and have sworn these puppies off, please just give them one more look.

So Much Better Than I Ever Thought Brussel Sprouts:

1-2 lbs brussel sprouts, brown ends discarded
1-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste (I like mine salty)
1/4 -1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Toss all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Preheat oven 400ยบ. Line your baking sheet with foil and spray, lightly, with olive oil spray.  Place the brussel sprouts on the lined baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, for 30-40 minutes. They should be brown and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Even preheating takes no time at all. Trust me, if you don't have a convection oven, they are so very worth the purchase!

Do you have a convection oven? If so, what do you love to cook in it? Do you bring it out during the warmer months?

Cheers and happy eating!

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