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Croutons are only the beginning.
Croutons are only the beginning. / Feng Yu / Getty Images

Toaster ovens are enjoying renewed popularity. Turns out, this utilitarian device can do more than just toast. “People would be surprised to learn that you can do anything with it,” says Lynn Alley, author of The Gourmet Toaster Oven. “It’s a really great tool with a lot of potential.” These ideas will take you through a full meal.

Salad course. Instead of using store-bought croutons in your salad, try baking your own in the toaster oven, suggests Donna Kelly, author of 101 Things to Do With a Toaster Oven. “One of my favorite things to make is croutons,” she says. “They always turn out beautiful.” Cut day-old French bread into cubes, sprinkle with garlic powder, olive oil and parmesan cheese, and bake at 400 degrees until the croutons are golden brown.

Entree. Before you fire up the barbecue for steak, Alley recommends this technique: Cook on the broil setting for 10 minutes on each side. “You’ll get a beautiful brown crust.”

Dessert. Apple dumplings are an easy-to-prepare alternative to apple pie. Peel and core an apple, stuff with brown sugar, nuts and cinnamon. After cutting store-bought puff pastry dough into a square, place the apple on top of the dough and fold the dough around the apple. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, or until the dumplings are golden brown.

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