Tovala Smart OvenGET IT
This countertop oven takes up more space than just about any toaster oven—but it also does more than just about any countertop appliance we’ve seen. On the basic end, it works like a traditional convection toaster oven to brown bread, reheat pizza, or roast a chicken. But on the other end of that is Tovala’s packaged meals that arrive at your door. Yank one out of the refrigerator, hold the package’s code up to the oven’s scanner, and the appliance takes over, cooking the meals at the right temperature and ideal amount of time.
The meal kits are very tasty and go into the oven with little fuss. The oven is large enough to cook a main protein and a side dish at the same time (enough for one person). Meals start at about $12, plus shipping, for things like vegetarian fajita bowls, flatbreads, crusted salmon, steak, and barbecue pork tacos. You can also use the scanner to cook about 750 different packaged and frozen foods from the grocery store.
Pizza bites? Scan it and press start. It can feel a little like working the self-checkout machine at the supermarket. If you’re already into using meal kits, the Tovala might be an easier way to save on prep time—which, in our experience, is never as quick as the meal kit companies say it is on the recipe card. If you’re a busy dad prone to tossing chicken nuggets into the oven a couple of times a week, the scanner will ensure they come out perfect every time. We found it intuitive to use, with a well-designed app, and a built-in water reservoir to help inject steam into whatever you’re cooking.—Sal Vaglica, contributing editor
[From $199; tovala.com]
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