I love to cook. And while I love to come up with my own creations or healthy modifications for existing recipes, it’s key for this working gal to have a few time-saving gadgets to rely on in the process. In no particular order, here are what I consider the 5 kitchen must-haves to assist with preparing healthy meals:
G received this rice cooker as a Christmas gift before we started dating (and before I started cooking super awesome meals for him). If you’ve never used one, you must get one. We love dishes that incorporate rice + veggies + lean protein, and there is truly no way to over- or under-cook rice using this machine. Bonus: There is no need to get a super-expensive model; less-expensive versions work like a dream.
The Nutribullet is one of those appliances that, obviously, is not completely necessary. However, we got it for a steal after Thanksgiving and I can’t say enough good things about it. It comes with two different blades: one great for blending protein shakes and processing items for things like hummus and soups; and a second extractor blade that is best for making green drinks (where a lot of fruit and vegetable fibers get whipped around) and smoothies that include ice or frozen fruit. In just two months, we’ve probably ingested more vegetables than we had in all of 2013. Winner.
I bought my panini press/sandwich maker solely because when we first started dating, G told me he loved paninis. There. That’s out in the open now. While we’ve made our share of delicious sandwiches on it, it has also proven to be a excellent grill for salmon, tilapia, turkey burgers, brats, and myriad of other things. The only thing that doesn’t seem to do so well (in our experience) on the indoor grill is chicken – it seems to dry out before it’s cooked all the way. So whether you’re like us (and live in a condo and are not allowed to have a grill) or just need a quicker, easier-to-clean option that a traditional grill, check one of these out!
While an oven-safe skillet isn’t always top-of-mind when considering kitchen tools, having one opens up a whole new world of cooking options. I bought a stainless-steel, oven-safe skillet about 2 years ago, and have used it for so many different dishes since! (See Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts) This skillet allows you to brown the top of a pasta dish, or add a little crunch to whatever might be in your pan. It’s nice to know you can go from stovetop to oven without dirtying a second skillet. (Note: Always use a hot pad to retrieve the skillet from the oven.)
Last, but certainly not least, healthy cooking typically requires A LOT of chopping, slicing and dicing. Having a well-made set of knives will speed up those tasks. In addition, a great set of sharp knives also cuts down on the risk of dinner-prep cuts (it’s the duller knives you have to watch out for because they take more effort, and tend to slip). Knives specifically designed for chopping vs. slicing, etc., also make a huge difference – be sure to use knives as they were intended for the best effect.
We’d love to hear about your favorite kitchen gadget or appliance! Please leave us a comment below because I guarantee they will end up on future birthday and Christmas wish lists.