I confess: I’m a gadget girl. With hands that have been damaged by Rheumatoid Arthritis, I rely on my kitchen gadgets to help make cooking easier. So today I thought I would share with you my Top 8 Must Have Tools in the Kitchen. These are all gadgets I have in my kitchen that I could not do without.
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Big Must Have Gadgets
1. At the top of my list, my Hamilton Beach Set ‘ Forget Programmable Slow Cooker. I am a slow cooker fanatic and use this baby at twice a week in the fall/winter. It runs hot so for recipes that call for chicken breast, I normally put it in frozen and the chicken comes out fall apart tender, no more dry chicken! Most other meats, I cook it at the lower range of the time and it cooks perfectly. I love that when it’s done, it keeps food warm until ready to serve. Comes in handy when we’ve got a busy day running around or to have dinner ready when you come home from work. I’ve had a couple different slow cookers but this is my favorite.
2. I use my Black & Decker toaster oven daily. Whether it’s toasting leftover pancakes, waffles or toast for a quick breakfast or baking English Muffin Pizzas, frozen foods or reheating french fries, this little contraption takes care of it all. I find new ways to use it everyday. We even bake leftover steak in it so it doesn’t dry out in the microwave. I love that this one has push button settings instead of dials I have to turn (which are painful for my hands to do).
3. I’m a coffee addict and we need a reliable coffeemaker, the Mr. Coffee Programmable 12-cup coffemaker is what we have. It’s not fancy but we can set the timer to start brewing so coffee is ready when we wake up and I love it tells us when it needs to be cleaned (cause honestly otherwise I’d forget).
4. A good stand mixer. We have a white Kitchenaid stand mixer, the most basic we could find and a deal during Black Friday a couple years ago. My hands couldn’t handle squeezing the button to get the beaters in and out of our hand mixer and though the stand mixer is much more expensive, it is easier for me to use. Of course, it takes up valuable counter space but I do use it a lot, especially for mixing french toast batter, pancakes, pizza dough and meatballs. I love that it mixes meat and spices together so I don’t have to get my hands all grimy trying to hand mix meatballs. We have an ice cream maker attachment too but I haven’t used it yet.
5. Cuisinart Hand immersion blender. I like that I can put this blender right in my slow cooker or pot and smooth out soups and sauces. Less messy than my uncoordinated self trying to lift a heavy, hot pot to pour the contents into my blender. That is a disaster just waiting to happen. This hand blender is quite powerful even on the low setting. It’s my newest gadget but I can see myself using it a lot more during winter, aka “soup season.”
Small Must Have Gadgets
5. We went to a smoothie class for the kids and I loved that this cherry pitter was easy enough for them to use. We’ve used it several times and I love being able to eat fresh cherries and pop the whole thing in my mouth…less mess! We even take the cherry pitter and a couple paper bowls to the pool so we can have fresh cherries for a snack poolside in the summer.
6. A Nonstick Bundt Pan. While I do love making chocolate chocolate chip bundt cake, lately I have been using my bundt pan to make perfectly easy Rotiserrie-Style Chicken. Since we have a small Thanksgiving gathering, I make a small whole chicken for our family instead of worrying about a giant turkey. It’s easy, juicy and tender and I’m glad to have found a new use for a pan I didn’t use much before.
7. A pizza cutter, or 2 or 3. It’s much faster and easier for me to roll the pizza cutter than use a knife and fork. I use the pizza cutter wherever I can to cut small herbs, sandwiches, pancakes, french toast, waffles and well…pizza. Another tool I’m glad to have found a new use for, it’s not just for pizza my friends. I bought this Good Grips pizza cutter and had received two free ones and was disappointed when one of the freebies broke.
8. An Airbake pizza pan. I love this Airbake pizza pan for frozen pizza, homemade pizza, or a giant chocolate chip cookie cake, I love this Airbake pizza pan. The crust comes out crispier than on a traditional pizza pan with no holes. I do line the pan with parchment paper for our homemade pizzas and chocolate chip cookie cake so the dough/batter does not seep through the holes.
Those are my 8 must have tools in the kitchen. What about you? What gadgets and appliances could you not live without? What makes cooking easier for you?