What Small Kitchen Appliances Do You Really Need?
This is the second last post in my series on kitchen cookware. To date I’ve written about,
- The bare minimum cookware you’ll need to make cooking easy;
- Recommended kitchen knives;
- Mixing and measuring utensils, and;
- Pots, Pans and Oven Cookware.
Big Things Come in Small Packages
You will need only a few small kitchen appliances as part of your kitchen setup to blend, chop quickly and in quantity, and to mix thoroughly. Here are my kitchen appliance recommendations based on what I’ve worked with for years.
I own an Oster 12-speed blender that I bought for less than $50. I like it because the motor connects with the blender blade via a metal-to-metal connection. It resembles an Allen key going into an IKEA-type screw.
In the past I had a Braun blender that connected via a hard plastic/latex-type material that broke too easily when you chopped ice or other frozen fruit. After replacing two blades I could have bought a new blender!
There are extremely high-end blenders, like the Vitamix, which are perfect if you need to blend a large volume like vegetable smoothies, thick soups, or to make nut butters. Be prepared to spend $500 or more.
I have a full size Cuisinart food chopper and a 2-cup size Moulinex chopper. I rarely use the full-size machine and when I do it’s to make humus or a cabbage salad. I find I can do things faster by hand with a knife and the cleanup for that Cuisinart is excessive because there are so many parts.
More often I use the smaller 2-cup chopper to grind a small batch of spices, or nuts, or to make a small amount of sauce. I would recommend the smaller chopper over the larger device, but I’m glad I have both options.
There are also manual choppers for chopping and dicing vegetables, but again I’d recommend the smaller electric chopper since it’s more versatile and you can do more with it.
Buy a “Smart” Slow-Cooker
I have the Hamilton Beach IntelliTime™ 6 Quart Slow Cooker. It the guesswork out of slow cooking by automatically setting the proper cooking temperature. You decide when you want the slow cooker to finish based on when you plan to turn it on.
For example, if the recipe calls for cooking on high for six hours and you want to start the slow cooker at 7:30 a.m. before you go to work, that means the meal will be cooked at 1:30 p.m. However, if you won’t be home until 5 or 6 p.m. earliest what do you do?
If you know you’re going to be home by 6 p.m. you can set the IntelliTime slow cooker for 10.5 hours (start at 7:30 a.m. and end at 6 p.m.). This slow cooker automatically lowers the temperature based on the total cooking time.
In this way your meal isn’t over-cooked or dried out. It will also keep the food warm at a very low temperature once the cooking-time is completed. This is perfect for those days when you’re running late.
The result? If you get home later than expected your dinner is perfectly cooked and still warm. Remove the lid, serve, sit down and enjoy your meal.
For more information on slow cookers, read my post, Why I’m in Love with my Slow Cooker.
OK! All your preparing, chopping, mixing, and cooking is done and now you have to store those healthy, delicious meals in your fridge and freezer. In the next and final post in my kitchenware series I’ll talk about the best food storage containers to keep your meals fresh.
Eat well to be well!