Break out the waffle iron! Here are six awesome ways you can get more use out of a kitchen appliance you haven’t paid enough attention to!
1. The Waffle Iron Baconator
What if I told you there’s an easier way to make bacon? What if I said you already have everything you need to make tasty, perfectly cooked bacon without getting grease on your clothes and countertops?
Yes, that’s right. You can make bacon in your waffle iron. Say goodbye to grease splatters and sloppy stovetops. Just slap on a few strips of your preferred bacon variety and press. (Thick cut bacon works heaps better than the see-through stringy stuff, though.) Now you can enjoy your two favorite breakfast treats with one gadget. If you really want to be clever, and you have one of those twin waffle makers, cook the bacon on one side of the iron and and the waffle on the other side, at the same time. Now you’re cookin’!
2. Waffled Panini
You really love paninis. If you only had a panini maker, you would start bringing your lunch to work everyday, and that would save huge bucks, right? You could probably save enough money to actually go on a real vacation next year, and not just dog sit in your brother’s condo for the weekend. Well, start packing, because you are about to find out how to make paninis in your waffle iron!
Turn on your waffle iron to medium high and let it warm up. Butter one side of two slices of bread (wheat, if you’re feeling healthy). Put one piece of bread butter side down on the bottom of the waffle iron. Put your filling of choice on top, then layer on the second slice of bread, butter side up. Close the iron and cook for about three minutes; longer if you like darker bread.
3. Buffalo Chicken Waffles
There’s really no reason why any occasion should not celebrated with a fine feast that includes Buffalo chicken in some form. Don’t let the lack of a deep fryer stop you from enjoying the taste of Buffalo chicken. Not you. Here’s what to do.
Give your waffle iron a healthy spritz of non-stick spray. Heat it up to medium-high. Lay down some strips of chicken tenders that have been marinating in Buffalo wing sauce overnight. Close the iron and cook for at approximately four minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with dipping sauce, such as Ranch dressing. (Note: While chicken tenders are thin enough to cook through on a waffle iron, other poultry cuts might not be thin enough. Wash iron thoroughly before cooking again with it.)
4. Mozzarella Waffle Sticks
If you have kids, you already know how popular mozzarella sticks are. This convenient snack makes them happy and you feel good because it’s protein-packed. The only problem is, those commercial mozzarella sticks may or may not have added ingredients in the breading that don’t spell healthy with a capital H.
Mozzarella waffle sticks are easy to make at home. Buy a block of mozzarella cheese and slice it into sticks. Substitute fontina or provolone if you want. Dip the sticks in milk and roll them sticks in breadcrumbs. Place in a pre-heated and greased waffle iron for just about one minute, or until the breading is golden brown. Great for your kid’s lunch box, or even your own bagged office lunch. Hey, it’s healthier than a vending machine candy bar, right?
5. Mexican Waffles
One of the best things about Mexican cuisine (in my humble opinion), is that cheese usually plays a big role in every dish. Luckily, waffle irons are perfect for melting cheese to that perfect warm and creamy consistency that we all know and love.
To make Mexican waffles (okay, quesadillas with a waffle iron pattern), just butter and pre-heat your iron to medium. Lay down a flour tortilla, and spread some shredded cheese on top of that. Get all fancy with it by adding chopped scallions or maybe even some pre-cooked shredded chicken. Place a second flour tortilla on top of the filling. Close the iron and cook for between 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Slice with a pizza cutter and serve with a dollop of sour cream.
6. Waffled Cookies
It’s late. You’re kicking back in the arms of your best friend and lover watching a movie that he let you pick out. The lights are off and you’re feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, wondering how you ever got this lucky. Suddenly, he says he has a craving. No prob, you think. I’ve got plenty of chips on hand. No, he says. It’s cookies he’s craving. Can you mix up a quick batch? (Queue needle scratching on vinyl.) How can you refuse, when your hunk has agreed to watch The English Patient—again? No worries, darling. Just slip into the kitchen and heat up the waffle iron….
Open up that tube of cookie dough you were saving. Slice off bits about ¼ inch wide. Cook in waffle iron for about 3 minutes. (Your waffle iron might cook them faster or longer, so keep checking them.) You’ll be back on the couch with a warm plate of cookies before the opening credits are over, trust me!
Now that you know that the waffle iron isn’t just for making waffles, you’ll want to keep it handy. A good place for it is in the kitchen. Or in the office kitchenette. Or on your nightstand. Or in the dorm. Or at your boyfriend’s house. Actually, it might make sense to pick up an extra waffle iron. You know, in case you ever just want to make waffles with one of them.