It’s always fun to buy a new kitchen appliance, especially if it promises exciting features to help you create miracles in the kitchen. But sometimes you already have an appliance that performs the same task perfectly well. Rather than pulling out that credit card (when you’re already short of storage space), take a second look at your current appliances. There may be ways to use them you never thought of before.
1. Rice Cooker for Cooking Oatmeal
A rice cooker may have been invented for one purpose, but in reality it can be used to make many different kinds of food. For example, it’s also great at cooking oatmeal or other hot cereals. Granted, it takes longer to cook oatmeal than other methods, but you don’t have to stir or keep an eye on it. You can spend the time doing other things, like packing lunch for the kids, or making toast and eggs. Depending on the type of oatmeal, and how thick you like it, you may have to play around with the amount of liquid to get the consistency you like.
2. Dishwasher for Cooking
Amazingly, your dishwasher can be used to cook certain types of food, especially items that need to be cooked gently at low temperatures (such as small green vegetables and seafood). Place the food in watertight containers, such as mason jars, and add some liquid. Don’t add too much though, or it won’t heat through in the time it takes to run the dishwasher cycle. You’re basically slow poaching your ingredients using the internal temperature of the dishwasher.
Place the food in the top rack, and run your dishwasher with a load of dishes. The cleanup afterwards is easy. You might want to try this as a time saver some day when you’re busy preparing a meal, the stovetop is fully occupied, and you need clean dishes.
3. Blender for Dressings
You can use either your full size blender or a hand immersion blender to make dressings, condiments, or marinades. Rather than chop herbs, or mince garlic, shallots, and other aromatics, just do a rough chop, and let the blender blades finish the job. Here is a recipe for homemade mayonnaise using a blender:
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 3/4 cup light olive oil
Add the first four ingredients to your blender and start it on low. Then, pour the oil into the blender slowly while it blends, allowing the mixture to emulsify. Once the mixture has reached the desired thickness, you’re finished. Scoop it into an airtight container and store the mayo in the fridge. It will expire on the expiration date of the eggs.
4. Ice Cream Maker for Coke Slushies
Not only can you make ice cream, gelato, sorbet, and yogurt with an ice cream maker, but you can also use it to make coke slushies. For a delicious treat, pour a 12-ounce can of cola into the bowl of the ice cream maker, and turn the machine on. When a thick slush has formed (10-15 minutes), scoop it into two glasses. Garnish with some cherries and enjoy.
5. Crockpot for Baking Bread
Crockpots are extremely versatile, but did you know you can also use them to bake bread? This is a great alternative when it’s too hot to turn on the oven, or when the oven’s in use.
Finding the correct baking time will take some trial and error. Total baking times can vary from one to two-and-a-half hours, depending on the crockpot or slow cooker. A fully baked loaf will have an internal temperature of 190°F-200°F. The top will no longer feel spongy, and the bottom will be slightly brown. Slow cooker breads don’t brown or develop a crust the way oven-baked ones do, and the loaves tend to stay a little flatter. If you prefer brown, crusty bread, put the loaf under the oven broiler for a few minutes.
Both round and oval slow cookers can be used to bake bread — you’re only limited by their size. In the larger oval slow cookers, you can bake both round and sandwich loaves. In smaller or circular slow cookers, you may only be able to make round loaves.
6. Microplane Grater for Mincing
Whenever a recipe calls for something to be minced, use a microplane grater instead. It’s much faster and easier to grate things like garlic and ginger rather than mincing them, and the grated bits mix easily into dressings and sauces. The microplane is also easy to clean. Run it immediately under water and wipe it with a sponge in the direction of the blades. Rinse the back, then put the microplane in the dishwasher.
7. Popcorn Maker for Toasting Nuts
A popcorn maker is a simple way to toast nuts at home. Place a handful of raw nuts in the machine, and turn it on for five to ten seconds. Shake the machine to keep the nuts moving, and repeat the process until the nuts are toasted to your satisfaction. They toast quickly, so watch carefully.
Some popcorn makers have a setting for nuts and an integrated stirrer (so no shaking required), which makes it easier for toasting.
8. Coffee Maker for Cooking Eggs
You can do this at home, but it’s also a great way to cook eggs if staying in a hotel room. This works for both soft-boiled and hard-boiled eggs. First, gently add the number of eggs you want into a coffee carafe. The standard 12-cup carafe should easily hold at least four eggs. Next, set the coffee maker to make a full pot, without using a filter or adding coffee. Once the eggs are fully submerged, start timing. It should take about three to four minutes for soft-boiled, and seven to eight minutes for hard-boiled eggs. You’ll have to experiment with the amount of time, depending on the size and brand of coffee maker.
You can also poach eggs in a coffee maker. Wait until the water runs into the carafe, then carefully add the eggs with a spoon as you would if poaching in a frying pan. Stir the water to create a gentle whirlpool to help the egg white wrap around the yolk. Cook three to four minutes, or until the white is set.
9. Microwave for Warming Plates
To keep food warm while serving, it’s a good idea to warm the plates. Stack the plates in the microwave for two minutes at maximum power, with a bowl of water on top of the plates (the water prevents damage to the microwave). Use oven mitts to remove the plates, as they will be very hot.
Find out why so many people trust the professionals at C&W Appliance Service to keep all of their major appliances in top running condition. Call us today at (855) 358-1496 or (214) 358-1496 or click here for our on-line service request form.