Flavorful Casserole Baked in a Toaster Oven

Hi ya all! It’s been a while I know.. my full-time work won’t let me be regular.. uhh..

Anyway, I want to share this awesome trick of using a toaster oven for baking. Yes, if you are like me – the idea of using gas oven intimidates you and you can’t accommodate another large appliance like electric oven at your home – then this one is for you!

It was one of those days when I was making red sauce pasta (my whole family LOVES that) when I got this sudden craving for having cheesy, crispy, slightly burnt Lasagna. Then I had this idea of trying out my toaster oven which I never tried for baking purpose before. I didn’t have the pasta sheets though that time but I knew I could make-do with things already available for pasta casserole and still have the wholesome-ness of Lasagna.

toaster casserole - groomandbloom.wordpress.com

So here are the following steps with which I made this toaster baked casserole:

I don’t usually go by the book, so I have no strict measurements. but I will still try my best to recall with proximity.

SAUCE

  • Fry until golden.. 5-6 garlic cloves (crushed) and the diced white part of green onion..  in 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Add 3 tomatoes chopped, fry until they turn into a smooth puree
  • Add a little water according to the consistency requirement, just don’t make it too runny
  • Sprinkle in some dried oregano, basil and salt
  • I also finished it off with ready-made pasta sauce with artichokes
  • Top it with green onion  in the end

 

PASTA

  • Until the desired tenderness has been obtained, boil some pasta ( I prefer different shapes) along with few spaghetti strands (optional)
  • Add some salt and butter while it’s boiling
  • Strain

 

CASSEROLE

  • In a small casserole dish, make a layering with the following steps: sauce, pasta, sauce, mozzarella cheese and repeat
  • I like the last layering of cheese to be very dense
  • In a preheated toaster oven, let the casserole bake for 15 mins, you will see the topping has got the nice toasted look
  • Dash a little more mozzarella and bake for another 5 mins… this will melt the cheese but won’t completely toast it – gives a little “creamy color” which goes well in contrast with all the reds and golden
  • Before serving, garnish with some more dried oregano, a dash of paprika and some fresh thyme leaves

TIP

  • You can even include in bechamel sauce for a more creamy taste.. I didn’t have time to make that so I skipped it but would surely do it next time

 

It was really scrumptious with all the flavors of herbs blended in. I just wished it was a bigger dish so that my family could have it heartily.

Okay, one important thing I learned through my online research is that it is better you use ceramic or aluminium bakeware because I read some cases of glassware or Pyrex shattering in toaster oven!
Also, not all dishes can fit into the small capacity of toaster oven, so if you have this appliance then a bakeware dish that can fit into this oven is a MUST! There are so many easy dishes you can make with this little guy, I’m still exploring.

Have you tried using toaster oven for baking purpose?