My Week of Easy Meals That Gets a 6-Year-Old’s Seal of Approval
Since my husband and I received a little countertop toaster oven for a wedding gift 14 years ago, our family has relied on it almost every day. With our toaster oven on its last legs, a picky six-year-old, and a serious case of pandemic cooking fatigue, I was ready for a countertop oven that worked a little harder—maybe with a built-in air fryer, microwave, toaster, or all three. So, I jumped at the chance to try out the Galanz ToastWave™ with TotalFry 360™. After a week of easy grilled cheese, homemade pizza, reheated stir-fries, and quick cozy oatmeal, I’ll never go back to a basic toaster oven again.
Day 1: Grilled Cheese
On day one, our pandemic pod came by for a playdate and I had to make lunch for three boys. I was able to fit three grilled cheese sandwiches into the ToastWave, which saved a lot of time. I melted a little butter on the stovetop, brushed the bread with butter on both sides, sliced up some cheddar cheese, and set the sandwiches on the nonstick turntable. Using the “toast” setting, I punched in the number of bread slices (six) and it automatically set the timer. After one run, I flipped the sandwiches to toast the other side, for a total cook time of about 10 minutes. The sandwiches came out crispy (but not burned) and perfectly gooey on the inside. My son’s review: “Best grilled cheese ever.”
Day 2: Chicken Thighs & Waffle Fries
Full disclosure: My husband does a lot of the cooking in our house, especially when it comes to meat. On day two, we collaborated on dinner—he brushed four chicken thighs with olive oil and seasoned them with za’atar while we figured out how to cook them in the ToastWave. We set the air fryer at 400 degrees and cooked the chicken, checking it with the meat thermometer until it reached 165 degrees, which took a little over 30 minutes and resulted in juicy, flavorful chicken thighs. To make a batch of frozen Alexia waffle fries, I spread a half-bag (10 ounces) on the Air Fry Kit and used the ToastWave‘s automatic settings—it took 25 minutes to cook the fries, which came out hot and crispy. If we hadn’t been testing a new appliance, we would have probably used the ToastWave for the waffle fries and the oven for the chicken (or vice-versa) to save time.
Day 3: Homemade Pizza
My son loves to help cook, and pizza is an easy project we can make together. We use pre-made pizza dough to create the crust and make our own pizza sauce from tomato purée, garlic, salt, pepper, and a little red wine vinegar. The ToastWave Air Fry Kit is the perfect size for a personal pizza, so we used it to shape the dough, which we brushed with olive oil. We spooned the tomato sauce on top, and my son sprinkled on lots of mozzarella. I set the ToastWave on the Air Fryer function at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, and the pizza came out with a crunchy outer crust and an airy inner crust—just like a pizza oven! The nonstick Air Fry Kit also made cleanup super easy. Next time, I’m going to try these air fryer mini calzones.
[Editor’s note: While Sarah chose to experiment with her oven’s Air Fryer function, the ToastWave comes programmed with several predetermined cooking programs, including one just for pizza!]
Day 4: Healthy Baked Oatmeal
The shorter, cooler days have us all in need of some extra coziness, so I baked a big breakfast of oatmeal using a modified version of The Kitchn’s Healthy Baked Oatmeal Recipe. The night before, I combined two cups of old-fashioned rolled oats with three cups of oat milk, two teaspoons of vanilla extract, two teaspoons of cinnamon (my son loves cinnamon so we use a lot but you could just do one teaspoon), a tablespoon of peanut butter, and a pinch of salt. Refrigerating it overnight helped the oats soak up all the flavors. Instead of baking the oatmeal for 45 minutes in the morning (as you’d do if you were making it in the oven) I popped it into the ToastWave and used the Sensor Cook Oatmeal setting for a piping hot bowl of breakfast in under 10 minutes. For a delicious last touch, I added a pat of butter and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Day 5: Leftover Beef & Broccoli
As a family with two working parents and a son in a hybrid online-and-in-person version of first grade, we’ve relied on one-bowl meals to get us through this year. Beef and broccoli with rice has been a go-to since my son loves broccoli. (I know, weird for a six-year-old but he’s still got a long list of dealbreakers…including strawberries?!) The ToastWave has turned out to be great for reheating leftovers—it works just like a fancy microwave. Using the Sensor Reheat function, you choose an auto-program from a menu cleverly hidden behind the oven door. For a rice bowl, for example, just choose Sensor Reheat Option 8, and it automatically times your cooking. It’s made leftovers even easier for us.
After using it for a week, I was impressed with the versatility of the Galanz ToastWave with TotalFry 360. It definitely made this week’s meals faster and easier, with less cleanup. Next up, I’m going to try Kitchn’s recipes for Air Fryer Bacon and Microwave Popcorn. Cozy breakfasts and movie nights await!