Insights & Actions for Healthy Living
Essential Kitchen Tools: Valued Electric and Digital Cooking Gadgets For This Dietitian

Essential Kitchen Tools: Valued Electric and Digital Cooking Gadgets For This Dietitian

More people are realizing that to have delicious, nutritious and fresh foods for themselves and their families means getting back into the kitchen.

Many of us already enjoy cooking and preparing meals for ourselves and our families, I know I do!

Using the kitchen to its full advantage means it needs to have just the right essentials – the right tools for the job at hand. In this case – preparing a recipe. In a previous post on essential kitchen tools, we looked at some basic kitchen tools that work really well to help the home cook prepare some great meals.

There are great cookbooks, chef’s knives, measuring utensils and thermometers that help you make the best family meals using either traditional or trendy recipes. Those tools were all essentials that only required your own power to use.

Now we will look at kitchen tools and gadgets that are digital or powered by electric motors and can help you make even more great meals a bit easier. You may have many of these in your kitchen now or might want to get a few of them to help you create tasty masterpieces!

Electric & Digital Kitchen Essentials

There are old standbys and new devices that will make working in the kitchen easier and maybe even more fun! These are just a few I love and want to share with you. (Please note that where I provide a link to the handful of specific products I suggest it is an affiliate link)

1) Smartphone or tablet!

Yes, I said a mobile device. There are recipes galore on the web. You can find your favorite cookbook, favorite chef or special diet information on the web that will help you have a different recipe every night and still keep your entire family healthy!

There are apps you can access on your mobile device that will tell you the nutritional content of the ingredients you have chosen, when the produce is in season as well as anything you can imagine or ever need to know about your kitchen including a user’s manual for all your motorized kitchen tools. Apps can make your grocery list from your recipes, tell you the cheapest place to buy foods in your area by shopping the sales, and what the safest temperature is to cook your food for safety.

If you love using cookbooks but don’t have the space or desire to store many of them at home, you’ll find a lot a are available in Kindle version and easily displayed on your tablet in the kitchen.

You can also get great stands and covers to keep your tablet safe on the counter while you create! (note: these are affiliate links)

2) Food processor

I love my processor. Be sure you get one that is versatile with different types of blades, has a strong motor to be efficient and is easy to clean too.

It can be used for so many things, including processing larger quantities of vegetables to chop, slice, shred, julienne and grind; grate cheese; crush ice; make coleslaw; chop nuts; mince garlic; puree things like homemade baby food and mix things like cakes (my favorite is a homemade carrot cake with pineapple and nuts from the food processor cookbook).

Did you know there are great books that help you use your food processor to the fullest? I really love this one that came with my first food processor Cooking with a Food Processor, which is no longer widely available. I have found The New Food Processor Bible to be useful as well.

3) Mini-food chopper

While I do love my big food processor, I use my mini-food chopper almost daily. It is great way to chop smaller quantities of items like onions, garlic, fresh spices, nuts, hard cooked eggs, or in mixing vinaigrette.

I use it whether I have a few tablespoons or am making breadcrumbs by the bag. (I save all my baked goods in the freezer and make my own breadcrumbs seasoning each batch a little bit differently for various types of foods. I control the ingredients!)

The mini-chopper has a few different blades for slicing, chopping or shredding and is easy to clean too.

4) Microwave

This is a no brainer. Warming anything, defrosting frozen foods of all kinds, heating leftovers, popping corn, heating water, steaming vegetables, baking a potato, hard boiling an egg, and the list goes on. The best part is that I don’t always have to be the only one in the family who uses it!

5) Convection oven

I have always loved my counter top convection oven, which allowed me to bake a potato or cook a small casserole in less time with a wonderful even temperature. Now I have graduated into a double oven in which one oven is convection! Let the Thanksgiving meal cooking begin! Actually, I use my convection oven to cook evenly and quickly all the time, not just on Thanksgiving.

It is not only energy saving but time saving for me because it allows dinner or a quick hot snack to be ready in no time.

6) Mrs. Tea teapot

For most this might be Mr. Coffee or other electric coffee maker, but I never became a coffee drinker so it is the Mrs. for me. Having a teapot that brews my morning tea using my favorite tea is wonderful.

7) Immersion blender

This is one tool that my son finds lifesaving and fun to use because he can make his own milkshakes or sometimes smoothies using this handy device. It is so easy to use and clean! Thank goodness, I wish everything he did in the kitchen was as easy to clean!

It is also great when making soup that you want to puree in the pot or even to mash potatoes. Sweet potatoes are really easy with this blender!

8) Convenient, specific tools

Can opener, blender, mixer, travel hot water pitcher, fondue pot! These are essential for many reasons. Some are used often and others when a specific need arises like a party!

Who doesn’t love chocolate fondue with fresh fruit dippers? My family does indeed!

I like to be able to have a hot cup of tea on the road using my travel pitcher. Usually the coffee pots in the hotel room make my tea taste like coffee so I prefer this device.

9) Fun things

Quesadilla maker, large griddle to make pancakes for a crowd, smoothie maker and a waffle maker. Not everyday devices, but I use these things so often. They don’t have time to collect dust as they may in some people’s kitchen. I use fresh fruits, whole grains and yummy dairy foods when I use those motorized cook’s helpers.

10) Crock pot

The more I use this, the more I depend on it for quick meals and comfort foods. I make my own pulled pork BBQ, chili, pot roast, soups and many other things.

It is easy to get creative, use up leftovers, make enough for a crowd or to fill the freezer, use protein foods without defrosting and making the house smell delicious!

Here’s a recipe that is great to do in a crockpot that I thought you would enjoy!

Lentil Soup

3 slices of Bacon, low sodium, cut into 2 inch pieces

2 large Carrots, peeled and sliced into coins

1 medium Onion, diced in large chunks

2 stalks of Celery, sliced in ¼ inch slices

1 clove of Garlic, minced

4 cups Water

12 oz. dried Lentils, cleaned and rinsed

1 chicken (or vegetable) bouillon cube

3 tablespoons Parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash or other no salt seasoning blend

1 teaspoon fresh Ground Pepper

2 Bay Leaves

1 cup Water

3 medium Tomatoes, chopped (if prefer use 28 ounces canned chopped tomatoes without sodium reducing water by amount of liquid in tomatoes)

Fresh parsley and shredded cheese of choice to garnish.

In your crock pot, fry bacon pieces. Add carrots, onions, celery and garlic to pan until vegetables are tender, stirring approximately 8-10 minutes. Stir in water, lentils, bouillon cube and seasonings. Stir well. Heat until mixture boils.

Reduce heat and simmer covered for about one hour. Check pot a few times stirring mixture. Soup will begin to thicken. Remove cover.

Stir in tomatoes and water. Allow to continue to simmer about 15-20 more minutes.

Serve hot, garnish with fresh parsley and shredded cheese.

Makes 6-8 servings (1 – 1 ½ cups)

Look for Something New

There are many new gadgets coming onto the market, giving us an opportunity to try new ways of meal preparation and fun recipes to treat ourselves, our families and our friends.

These are some of my favorite electric powered kitchen essentials. Do you have others that you use often and would hate if they broke down? I would love to hear about your essentials!

Next time we will look at some of the essentials you should keep in your spice rack to really getting you cooking with flavor. Time to get cooking!

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