So the consensus seems pretty evenly split. I am a firm believer in the convenience factor of the microwave. We have been using one ever since we were first married. But heating leftovers and heating rice bags are pretty much the only thing we've used the microwave for. I've never really used it to defrost meat. I prefer my veggies cooked in a steamer. I also have a stand alone rice cooker for rice. We aren't big popcorn eaters since only half of us really like it. I don't use it for casseroles since I don't really cook a lot of casseroles. And I'm intrigued by one of these immersion heaters for coffee and tea. Ever used one?
I was thinking that I would go the summer microwave free and see how much we miss it. Yesterday was our first lunch time without it and I thought it went well. We heated up turkey burgers and couscous in the toaster oven. For those of you who use your toaster oven to heat leftovers, what settings do you use? Mine has a convection bake setting and a degree knob. I'm thinking a standard 350 would be fine. Most everything was warm after about 5 minutes. Also, I'm only using metal pans in there because I'm afraid of using the wrong kind of glass or ceramic plate. Do you know how to tell if your plates are oven safe? If they say, "oven safe" like most Pyrex pans does that include toaster ovens?
But after talking with the kids, there was some concern expressed over burns. We have already had two pretty bad burns happen because of the toaster oven. The kids enjoy making their own lunches and they admitted very candidly that they prefer the microwave and feel safer using it. They also expressed a preference for their regular pop-up toaster for making toast. We have gone through a lot of burned toast trying to figure out the timing on the toaster oven. So, now I'm thinking that a microwave would work better for them but I'm not still not sure if we need one.
I am pretty determined not to get another over the range microwave at this point. If we do make the decision to get one, I would probably purchase a small one and put it on the counter in place of the toaster oven. I just don't have the counter space for both appliances. I really like having the space above my oven more open. I'd show you a picture, but it's just bare wall behind there right now. If we tile it soon, I'll let you see it!
Oh, and you people who don't have a dishwasher... you must be made of sturdier stock than I! I stand in complete awe! : )