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Tovala Smart Oven


Shalmanese

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  I knew I was pushing it with the “Italian” entrees. I live in an area with a large amount of Italian restaurants and have an Italian mother, etc. and as @blue_dolphin said, pasta is also my go to, easy quick meal— so I made poor choices. I’m sure if I pushed back about the quality of the meals I would likely get a discount, however, the proteins are really shining. Every protein has been cooked well and I have used a digital thermometer to see how the proteins are cooked to temp. It’s important to not let anything linger in the oven, and I was pleasantly surprised that a marinated chicken breast that was delivered vacuumed packed was very flavorful and juicy. At the thickest point it read 166 degrees F as a high. 

 

the prep was opening the sealed, marinated chicken breast and put it in a provided tin pan, use the small packet of mayo to coat the chicken and put the bread crumbs over the chicken. 
 

i have a pork cutlet I’ve yet to try. That should be interesting. 
 

 The oven really uses the steam feature a lot. I haven’t gotten any type of notice that the water reservoir has been low, but I keep a 6oz water bottle next to the machine and add water after every use. The oven makes a sound when it’s full. It has also has a wide water spout so I haven’t been worried about potentially getting water on the buttons. Also, if in the off chance I did, I can control the oven directly from my phone. 
 

 The oven appeals to me as a child of the 80s. It’s fun watching the various cooking methods that cycle and watching proteins cook. It’s like an adult version of my “easy bake oven”. Along that line I wish they offered more dessert, breakfast and side options. 

Edited by MetsFan5 (log)
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I made this meal the other day and it was good. I’ve learned by now to use about half the amount of water they recommend when cooking any type of noodles and that has been working. I enjoyed it and am still impressed with how flavorful and juicy the chicken was. I also didn’t cook the veggies because I like the contrast of textures with fresh crunch of raw vegetables better than I do when they are cooked. 

 

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Edited by MetsFan5 (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

I’ve made a few other meals recently. Overall the variation of flavors tend to lack. There may be because I lean towards non Italian entrees, however all “marinated chicken breasts” receive the same “marinade” despite being used for different types of meals. 
 

 Overall I’m not dissatisfied nor am I satisfied with the meals. I am happy to have this oven and its steam function and feel a lot more confident about using it outside of the meals to cook proteins. I can cook a protein in it quickly to slightly under temp then sear it in a pan. 
 

The Asian themed meals aren’t bad but they need some help with seasoning. I am offended that their version of “fried rice” and “risotto” always means brown rice. I find it inedible. 
 

I have yet to try a commercial product in the oven (aka TJs or Whole 365 etc) nor have I tried the air fryer setting yet. 
 

 The jury is still out. 

Edited by MetsFan5 (log)
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Posted (edited)

To be fair, I ordered more of a variety of meals that were delivered for this week. I have skipped future deliveries with the option to change my mind but by now I think the oven has paid for itself/ I have ordered enough meals. 
 

 In all transparency, despite Tovala’s partnership with Omaha Steaks (which I generally am not impressed with) I won’t order steak entrees. I just cannot imagine they would benefit from being cooked in any type of oven, despite the settings. I also don’t like salmon or trout and those are the only non shrimp seafood offerings. 
 

 

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Edited by MetsFan5 (log)
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The proteins are killing these meals. The meatballs (which aren’t raw when delivered) and the chicken breasts all taste the same. The “sauces” do little to help with variation.  However the oven cooks the proteins well, so I’m going to cook my own preferred proteins in line with the instructions. But I’m not a fan of how the proteins come and how they’re precooked and or marinated. Shrimp is the only exception. 
 

 I do like their taco style entrees. I also find meals mostly to be a bit too much and also very much one note in terms of flavors. 

That said, the recipes and meals have given me a bit of inspiration. I am still enjoying the oven— I’ve since “toasted” English muffins and they came out very well. So the original toast experiment seems to be a one off. 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

After reading what I could find on Reddit and other various sites, I was not surprised today when, after cooking a meal, I discovered my oven is malfunctioning. 
 

  I have been adding water— more than would seem needed for days now. Zero leaks, it seemed weird. After tonight’s meal I knew it had to be low as the steam function was being used and I could see the steam being released. 
 

so, I kept slowly adding water, and then the moment I took my eyes off the bottom of the oven to peer into the top, where I dispense the water, I had a flood on my counter. 
 

I’m not surprised as I said. The scanner doesn’t read, or at least my own doesn’t read, any of the cooking times for products that are supposed to be “Tovala friendly”.  It quickly reads the code on the meals but it hasn’t successfully read a code on any other product. 
 

I view it as a  somewhat higher end toaster oven. The meals are great to have on hand when I just eat because I need to and most meals are tasty enough. I have one more meal delivery I already paid for and then I’ll quit. I’m not about to haul this 30lb oven to be shipped in return for a new one. I’ll use it as a toaster oven. The meals create (as well as the oven did) a LOT of packaging to breakdown and that is a real pain in the ass for me as I have to walk everything out to various recycling and garbage receptacles and that involves stairs and lifting everything over my shoulder (I’m 5’7) to throw into the receptacles. I get enough online deliveries, I don’t like the huge box the meals come in with heavy insulation— one box is all I can carry with both hands and even with everything meal wise removed, it weighs a solid 10lbs. If the box was smaller and I could see where I’m stepping while taking it to the trash, it wouldn’t be so awkward. 
 

I’ll contact support tomorrow regarding this issue, they aren’t live right now and last time I emailed with an issue it took them two days to respond and by then I had figured it out. 
 

I’m pretty pissed about this water leak mess but, as stated, not surprised. 
 

 Overall I would not recommend it. I’m glad I tried it, as I am the type the market to, and the meals were mostly good but I’m not the type of customer to send a product back and get a replacement when it comes to products like this. 
 

 

Also the “air frying” feature, which the oven should scan  for products like Ore Ida  fries, might work if the oven scanned the barcode, but since my won’t, it’s just crap. It burns everything, even when following the “airfry” instruction and using the “airfrying” tray. 

Edited by MetsFan5 (log)
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10 hours ago, palo said:

Should have bought an APO 😁

 

p

Well, I dunno.  I'm on my third, having had the original and two replacements under warranty.  It seems the APO's are still having the same problems they've always had which tells me they aren't fixing the problems.  If I didn't have one, I wouldn't buy one.  

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