I thought about titling this post, 'The Unexpected Benefits of Using Toaster Ovens: Why This Surprisingly Dynamic Appliance Will Change Your Approach to Cooking,' because I found, to my surprise, at least one person who hadn't thought about all the creative ways this handy-dandy little tool can assist in the kitchen. However. Just in case you have one and haven't thoroughly exploited all its many uses, this post is for you.
We have a small oven-style toaster that I keep on the counter at all times because I'm always using it. There are two settings: Toast, and Bake, which comes with oven temperatures, all the way up to Broil. It's a real oven, all right.
* It toasts, obviously. Also it's good for re-heating stuff - especially one serving at a time - that needs to be crisped up: I pop the bowl in the microwave to get it heated through, and then put it in the toaster to crisp it up (recently for this purpose: crumble topping on leftover peach cobbler; crunchy onion topping on green bean casserole).
* It bakes. I can fit (just barely) a standard bread pan in my toaster oven, so I can use it for banana bread when I don't want to turn on the whole oven for 55 minutes. It also comes with a tray that can double as a very small cookie sheet, for small batches of cookies or, I suppose, biscuits.
* It cooks. Especially now when there are only two of us, I can easily fit a casserole into a bread pan. I've made spaghetti pies, chicken pot pies, breaded chicken dishes, and meatloaf in the toaster oven. This is wonderful for me because if I turn the whole oven on, I usually have to make something else to put in or else I feel wasteful.
It's a convenient and practical shortcut when I'm in a hurry and don't want to turn on the whole oven. Highly recommended!