Since the start of the pandemic, people have been cooking and baking more as they spend more time indoors. While it’s a fun way to expand your skills and try new foods, it can be a time-consuming process that not everyone can take on throughout the week. I want to introduce you to some of my favourite kitchen gadgets that make cooking easier and reduce the workload so you can enjoy excellent homemade food without breaking a sweat.
Why try pouring a heavy, hot pot of soup into a blender when you can use an immersion blender? Otherwise known as a stick blender, this tool can make pureeing soups, smoothing out batters, and making smoothies a lot easier. These blenders are easier to use and clean than a traditional blender and may come with different attachments like a whisk or food processor attachment to give it multiple uses. Depending on the model, a low-end blender can cost approximately $20, while the higher-end models can cost $90-$130. My favourite recipe to use my immersion blender with is my grandmother’s mushroom soup. This dairy-free soup is easy to make and is high in B vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. You can see my favourite mushroom soup recipe below.
Another kitchen staple is a stand mixer. These appliances were invented in 1908 and have been in kitchens ever since. Stand mixers are primarily used to make mixing, whipping, beating, and kneading much simpler for bakers. With so many different attachments, such as the paddle, whisk, dough hook, pasta roller, ice cream maker, and more, stand mixers can take a significant amount of work out of a variety of recipes. This gadget makes it easier to make large amounts of food, it works faster than a hand mixer, and you don’t have to put as much physical effort into mixing your ingredients. Stand mixers can retail anywhere from $150-$400 for a baseline model, depending on the company. Kitchen Aid stand mixers, the most common of them all, typically cost more but can last for decades if you take good care of them. As well, the more attachments you get, the more expensive the stand mixer is. While it may be pricey, it is definitely an investment worth making. My favourite recipe to make with my stand mixer is chocolate cake. Having a slice of cake tastes even better when you make it from scratch, and I highly recommend this recipe by the Barefoot Contessa. You can find this chocolate cake recipe below:
This gadget is new to my kitchen, but I haven’t stopped using it since I got it six months ago. Air fryers are an easy way to cook your favourite fried foods while reducing the total fat content. Though fats are an essential part of our diets, fried and deep-fried foods often contain excessive amounts of fats that drive up the calories. An air fryer allows you to get the texture of fried foods without the additional fat content. You can use it to make so many things, including fried fish, homemade chicken wings, tortilla chips, French fries, roasted vegetables, and more! The air fryer is also a good alternative to barbecuing meats, especially during the winter or if you don’t have a barbecue at home. As air fryers gain popularity, there are more models available at different price points. Low-end air fryers can sell for $100, while higher-end models go for $250 or more. My favourite recipe to make using the air fryer is fish tacos. This recipe gives you restaurant-quality food at home without the price or the extra fat and sodium. You can find this fish taco recipe below:
Breakfast Sandwich Maker:
We got one of these for my dad for Father’s Day a few years ago, and we’ve loved it ever since! Breakfast sandwiches are tasty, easy to make, and customizable. You can add cheese or dairy-free cheeses, veggies, meat or meat substitutes, or all of the above! With a good mix of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, breakfast sandwiches are a great way to start your day or a fun mid-day snack. Though breakfast sandwiches do have some vegetables in it, it is likely less than one serving (½ cup vegetables or 1 cup leafy green vegetables), so adding a whole fruit or some veggies on the side makes it a well-balanced meal. Breakfast sandwich makers typically retail for $40 and can be found in most big-box stores or online. My personal favourite breakfast sandwich includes an English muffin, egg, cheese, and avocado.
Other Small Gadgets:
These are some other great small gadgets to have on hand in your kitchen!
- Rocking garlic press – $10, easier to use and clean than your typical garlic press
- Metal bench scraper – $15, good for icing cakes, baking breads and cutting dough into pieces, and cleaning excess crumbs off of your countertop
- 3-piece lemon juicer – $5-10, makes squeezing juice from lemons and limes easier, has a measuring cup at the bottom, so you know how much juice you have or need, the middle part filters out seeds and large pieces of pulp, and the top part presses the lemon to squeeze out as much juice as you can
- Cast iron skillet – $15-30, great for cooking steaks or making cookie skillets, a small amount of iron gets absorbed into your food when you cook, they are very durable, and keep foods hot
Now that you know more about some of my favourite tools to have in the kitchen, it’s your turn to get them yourself and get cooking! Enjoy and have fun!