It’s tax refund time! Many of us have filed our taxes, or will be filing soon, and plans are already being made for ways to spend our refund. If you are someone seeking to eat healthier in 2014, how about getting some new, useful gadgets for the kitchen? They will pay you back in dividends – not only in better health, but also with more money in your budget as you enjoy eating at home more often!
If you aren’t sure where to begin, use the following as suggestions to determine what might best suit your cooking style. You may be able to find devices that can do double-duty (ie. blenders that also food process). While buying new healthy gadgets can be fun, don’t hesitate to hit up garage sales, thrift stores, or gadget-laden relatives!
Slow cooker. We talked about slow cookers a few weeks ago. They are a must have for the healthy kitchen! In addition to cooking dinners and side dishes, they can be utilized for making broths and other long-cooking sauces and soups. The slow cooker is truly the “fix it and forget it” for the busy family and allows you to create incredible cuisine with little effort.
Food Processor. This can be a heavy hitter in the budget, but worth spending a few extra dollars on if you can afford it. With a food processor, you can do more than just slice and dice raw vegetables. You can make cookie and cake recipes, whip up pancakes in a jiffy, and puree soups and vegetables. When purchasing a food processor, review sizes to get the right one for you, as well as additional features. They can be quite large, so keep that in mind for storage.
Mixer. This is where you may be able to cut some corners if you don’t make heavy dough (like bread dough). A small hand mixer – of sturdy quality, but not necessarily the most expensive – will work well for the average kitchen. However, if you love to bake, you may find your money well spent on a stand mixer. Arm fatigue often plagues batter-makers. Not to mention, higher end stand mixers often have multiple attachments available, like dough hooks, ice cream makers, and meat grinders.
Iron Skillet. The minute you pick up an iron skillet, you’ll know why it’s a must have. It’s a nearly indestructible cooking device that knows how to handle protein and offers a non-stick surface without any chemical concerns. And it will last you for many, many years. Most new skillets come pre-seasoned, but this is where getting a used skillet can pay off. While the pre-seasoning is a nice selling feature, you’ll still have to do a fair amount of seasoning before skillet is truly non-stick, but that is where the fun comes in! From eggs to pancakes to pizza, you can make almost any cooked food on a skillet. It can go from your stovetop to your oven with ease. And the more you cook with it, the more non-stick the surface becomes. Make sure to use plenty of healthy fats when cooking, and you’ll have the perfectly seasoned pan for cooking.
Quality knives. Last but certainly not least, evaluate a good set of knives. If you can afford to get a quality set of knives, they will last you for many years. If not, a chef’s knife and a paring knife are a must for any kitchen. Look for knives that easy to clean, resist rust, and feel balanced in your hand. They should be easy to sharpen and come with a reliable guarantee. Read online reviews to find the right set for you.
With the right tools, cooking healthy food in your kitchen is a breeze. And you don’t need a ton of gadgets – just the right ones for your needs.
What are your kitchen must-have’s? What else would you add to this list?