The Best Kitchen Gadgets
I'm all about convenience, I admit it. I've got too much going on to be spending more time in the kitchen than necessary, so I stock it with the best kitchen gadgets that will speed things up a little or make life easier. The other reason I'll buy a new kitchen gadget is if it helps me to cook healthier. I'm running out of room, though, so it's got to be good in order to justify taking up more space in our storage room.
When I'm shopping for a new gadget I really shop. I look online and research all the various options to decide which features I need. Then I hunt down the one that has all those features at the best price. This takes a lot of time, so to save you from some of that, I thought I'd show you what and where I've found a few of my favorite things.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE BEST KITCHEN GADGETS: (click on pictures OR the link to find where to buy)
- My favorite stainless steel electric pan – We needed the 16″ for our family (it's huge and fits so much food!), but you can get the 12″ for less $.
- Electric Deep Fryer – I decided to get two of these, and now I can fry in my delicious and healthy beef tallow without worrying about free radicals/cancer from the oil getting too hot and screaming up over the smoke point. (By the way, this doesn't have a temperature control knob, but all the reviews on it were great and they said that it gets to 350* quickly and maintains that temp well, which is the temp I fry at. (I called the company to be sure, and they said that it varies between 375*-400*, but tallow has a smoke point of 420* so I'm still good.) Models with a temp control were MUCH more expensive, and since I was buying two, I had to give up that feature. I'd have been even happier if I could find these without a non-stick surface, but I had no luck with that.) Update: crappy carumba. After I bought TWO of those, I read about this fryer with a glass bowl: 1500-Watt 2-Quart Glass-Bowl Deep Fryer. But I see they're out of stock, so then I found this bigger fryer with a stainless steel interior! It also has a nice temperature control and a handy basket — whatever you do, don't get one with Teflon! (Read about when I ditched my Teflon electric frying pan too.)
- Here's my new love that outshines ALL of the below gadgets put together (and replaces many of them in my kitchen), read more about the Bosch here. Or here's where to get a Bosch.
- Food Processor – I use my food processor all the time! For grinding bread crumbs or chopping veggies or making my pesto, I love it!
- Toaster Oven – I LOVE my toaster oven! It has made not using my microwave no big deal at all. This one had all the options for toasting/baking/convection baking/broiling /defrosting. I use it to defrost meals I've made ahead and had in the freezer, then after it's defrosted, I keep it right in there to bake it. The convection bake feature is nice, it can bake things quicker than in a regular oven and truly it doesn't take THAT much longer to warm up leftovers in there instead of in the microwave – I go do one thing and come back and it's hot. I also like that I can toast a lot of bread in there at once. Soon our microwave is coming out and we're putting a shelf above the stove for our toaster oven to set on instead!
- Zojirushi BBCCX20 Home Bakery Supreme Bread Machine – I've had this bread machine for a few years and it's still going strong. The part I love about this one is that it has 3 custom settings so I can set it to knead, rise, bake, etc., for as long as I want for each. This is great when I am experimenting with 2-stage process breads or “soaked” grain recipes. Bread machine recipes are so easy, you just throw a few ingredients in, and then it does the rest for you.
- Grain mill – I use mine often and love knowing how much more nutritious our recipes and meals are when I'm using fresh flour I've ground myself. (Flour loses a lot of its nutritional value the longer it sets.) I chose this one because it got the best reviews, it can grind more grain at once than others; they say it's quieter than others, too, and it also has more options for course or fine flour, for different types of grain, etc. Click here for NutriMill Grain Mill.
- Sauce Master food strainer – I use this to make the best applesauce EVER from the recipe in Nourishing Traditions. (I think it tastes better than the best apple pie I've ever eaten! It calls for maple syrup, a natural sugar, instead of regular sugar, and in case you don't know, there are different “grades” of maple syrup – use the stronger grade in this recipe for the best flavor.) I make a lot at once and it freezes well in Ball freezer jars. (Update: I have a new applesauce recipe similar to the one above, only easier and even more nutritious.)
- Back to Basics SALPHA500 Smoothie Signature Smoothie Maker – my kids love it when we make smoothies and think it's fun to put their glass under the spout and press the lever to pour their smoothies themselves. This one has a 700-watt motor; I wanted one that blended ice without burning up. (Next time I might even get a stronger motor, though. Update: see the note about my new Bosch above.) I'll have to ask Kent for his PB & J Smoothies recipe, those were a hit with the kids! (I asked him; he said he got the idea from Disney World, when he saw them literally throw a whole peanut butter & jelly sandwich into the blender with vanilla ice cream! He used our 100% whole wheat bread, and for ice cream we always get Breyers plain chocolate or vanilla – those each have nice short ingredient lists. Breyers also now has organic – we don't buy ice cream often though, so I probably wouldn't pay the extra money for that.)
- Hand blender / Stick blender – I use this a lot since I got it for Christmas. It's much easier pulling this out than my regular mixer (for certain recipes), and it reaches right inside soup pots or other places that you couldn't use a regular mixer for. It grinds up veggies small so the kids don't notice them in soups or sauces. This would also be good for making your own healthy baby food. It washes up easily in the dishwasher, too. My favorite use is for mashing potatoes – you can do it right in the pan you boiled them in – just drain, then mash with butter, cream cheese, garlic, sea salt & pepper – yum! (Click on picture for link.)
- Crock-pot – Here's one like I have. Or here's a newer looking stainless steel crock pot. Oooooh, here's an even bigger 8 quart size! I use my 7 quart one a LOT. Here's another “what we had for dinner” post with recipes for a quick meal I made with my crock pots recently. It was a day we were all going in different directions at dinnertime and I wanted everyone to still get a hot meal. There are many many good and easy recipes to make in your crock-pot. If you haven't gotten into the habit of using these, you'll want to, especially if you have a busy family and are running kids around many evenings. ***Read the comments below about the issue of lead in the glaze on crock pots. Short story: Hamilton Beach seems to be the best option.
Someday I'd like to get the following new gadgets (as soon as I can convince Kent I've found a new spot to cram more “stuff” into!), if anyone has advice on these (what brand you suggest, features to look for, prices/where to buy, what you use it for, etc.), please leave a comment!
- Here is the Dehydrator I'm getting as soon as I'm ready to spend the money. It's the biggest one they make, as far as I know, and I've heard from MANY people how much they love it. Below in the comments, Julie tells us about hers that is much less expensive, if you want a smaller one.
- Rice cooker
- Here are two top rated pressure cookers – and find out if we should even be using them?
What are YOUR favorite kitchen gadgets? Or if you have any questions, please send a comment below!