For delicious meals that are also healthy, look no further than your kitchen accessories and small appliances. From the simple to the sophisticated, here’s a list of 7 to get you started.
The Humble Steamer Basket (and the Digital Steamer)
This simple item, usually made of stainless steel, is a standard for steaming vegetables to crisp perfection. But don’t stop there. It’s also perfect for steaming lean pieces of beef, chicken, fish and pork.
The digital steamer is a tech savvy version of the basic steamer basket. Many of these steamers come with multiple baskets that can be stacked on top of each other so a whole meal for the family can be cooked this way. Many options include:
- A keep warm button that keeps your food warm until ready to serve.
- Automatic shut-off to prevent the unit from boiling dry.
- Delay option so you can cook your food at a set time.
The Multi-Functional Vegetable Slicer, Dicer, Chopper and Cutter
Chopping up vegetables and fruit with a knife is a time-consuming chore. If you’re in a rush or not particularly adept at chopping, your salad may not look as appetizing as you’d hoped. Enter helpers in the form of various slicers, dicers, choppers and cutters.
- They reduce prep time, waste and cleanup.
- Many of them are multifunctional and can slice, dice, grate, chop, julienne and more.
- Some have containers designed to store leftovers.
- Most are dishwasher safe.
The Vegetable Spiralizer
Want to cut down on carbs but love pasta? A spiralizer can cut vegetables such as cucumbers, carrots, beetroots, zucchini, potatoes and parsnips into linguine-shaped strands that can be a healthy alternative to pasta.
A spiralizer is a great way of adding more vegetables to your diet. This inexpensive item often comes with multiple blades and different options such as coarse shredding, fine shredding, angel hair, wavy, and curly fry. A spiralizer can make lovely salads as well.
For best results:
- The vegetable cannot be hollow, seeded or have a tough core.
- The vegetable should be at least 1.5″ in diameter and at least 2” long.
- The vegetable must have a firm, solid flesh (no squishy, juicy fruits or veggies).
The Tried-and-True Blender
If you have a blender, you have a treasure trove full of options. It’s a must for blending smoothies but it’s oh-so much more.
Health benefits are many. Blending vegetables and drinking them, rather than eating them, allows the blender to break up the cell walls of the plant, allowing for easier digestion and absorption of more nutrients.
New models are much quieter, and the more powerful ones can even crush nuts and ice. Some newer models even have a heating function so you can blend veggies into a soup and heat it up all in one container!
Here are a few things they can do:
- Grind semi-solid ingredients, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, into smooth purées.
- Make milkshakes by blending ice cream, milk, and sweet sauces.
- Mix and crush ice in cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks such as smoothies.
- Grind up small solids such as spices and seeds to smaller solids or into a powder or nut butter.
- Blend mixtures of powders, granules, and/or liquids thoroughly.
- Dissolve solids into liquids.
The Fat-Free and Functional Air Fryer
An air fryer is similar to an oven in that it bakes and roasts. However, its heating elements are only on top with a large powerful fan. They provide great versatility and can cook almost any food including fresh, frozen, and leftovers.
Air fryers typically heat up very quickly and they cook food quickly and evenly. Because they cook with little or no oil, they produce meals with up to 80% less fat. Some models come with accessories and attachments, such as additional fry baskets, baking racks, and cooking pans. Some models are dishwasher safe.
The Mighty Multi Cooker
A multi cooker is an electric appliance for automated cooking using a timer. A typical multi cooker is able to do a wide variety of tasks such as boil, simmer, bake, fry, deep fry, grill roast, stew, pressure cook, steam and brown food. Some multi cookers also function as slow cookers.
- They save you time. For instance, cooking corned beef in a slow cooker can take up to 8 hours, several hours in an oven, but just one hour in a multi cooker.
- They save you space. For small kitchens, finding storage for various small appliances can be a challenge. The multi cooker can replace a rice cooker, pressure cooker, slow cooker (some models), steamer, frypan and more!
- They save you money. No need to always use your oven or cooktop. You’ll save energy and your pocketbook. Staples like beans and cheaper cuts of meat can be transformed into delicious meals.
Multi cookers come in different sizes. The 3-quart cookers are good for singles or couples, the 5-quart cookers are a great size for one to three people, the 6-quart cookers are large enough for small to medium-sized families, and the 8-quart cookers are suitable for families of five or more.
The Sensational Sous Vide Cooker
Developed in the 1970s by a French chef, Sous vide literally means “under vacuum”. It is a method of cooking in which food is placed in a plastic pouch or a glass jar and cooked in a water bath.
Cooking sous vide gives you the freedom to vacuum pack your food, place it in water, set the temperature, and walk away. Your food will be held at a consistent temperature for long periods of time, and the texture and quality of your ingredients will remain intact.
For more information about sous vide cooking, check out our blog here.
To keep your major appliances operating at their best, call C&W Appliance for the very best in repair and maintenance. Call us at (855) 358-1496 or submit our online service request form for prompt, reliable service.