In the Pantry: Alternative Uses for the Waffle Iron

Tired of those single-purpose kitchen appliances collecting dust, or taking up valuable counter space? Some of your kitchen gadgets can actually act as secret double agents, serving multiple, creative purposes. You no longer have to wait until Saturday morning to pull out the waffle iron. Here are three alternative ways to reinvent the waffle iron.

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Sandwiches - For a classic grilled cheese, you don't have to buy a Panini press; just set the waffle iron temperature to medium and spray with non-stick spray. Build your favorite grilled cheese, placing the bread, cheese, tomatoes, and your favorite condiments in the waffle iron for three to four minutes.

Desserts - Waffle irons are good for more than waffle batters. For a single serving of something sweet, bake your favorite boxed brownie or muffin mix in a waffle iron! Set it to medium-high heat for a crispy brownie that is perfectly served with ice cream.

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Sides - You can also use a waffle iron for side dishes. Place cooled polenta in the waffle iron, and after it's cooked, top with tomato sauce, cheese, or maybe an egg. To make a chili hash brown, place finely shredded potatoes, ground chili, cilantro, and few onions in the waffle maker for a couple of minutes until it's deliciously crispy.

For more cooking tips and tricks, check out host Aida Mollenkamp's book, "Keys to the Kitchen."

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