By Sally Squires
A growing number of kitchen gadgets can help cut the time spent fixing meals. That’s a good thing because according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, women spend about an hour a day on meal prep; men about 42 minutes per day.
I recently discussed these gadgets and appliances on WTOP radio with hosts Mark Lewis and Deb Feinstein.
Top of the list: Slow cookers and Instant Pots, which are tried and true additions to any kitchen. They are ideal for making soups, stews, rice, and cooking dried beans Recently, I’ve been using my Instant Pot to make a delicious Greek yogurt that is thick, creamy, and has a flavor that is less tangy than commercially prepared yogurt. My next step is to make frozen yogurt with this homemade variety using another appliance—a Cuisinart ice cream maker– that I recently purchased based on a recommendation from the New York Times Wirecutter. (Let me hasten to add that I have no financial connection to any of these products. Nor do I receive any compensation if you happen to purchase them.)
The ice cream maker costs about $60, works fast—about 20 minutes to make a quart of frozen yogurt–and is easy to use. The only caveat is planning: The inner part of the ice cream maker needs to sit in the freezer for about 24 hours before use. So far, I’ve made mango frozen yogurt (using store-bought Greek yogurt and frozen mangos) as well as watermelon ice that I served at a family dinner. Both were delicious and got good reviews from family members.
Another kitchen gadget that I’ve been leaning on a lot lately is the Air Fryer. I bought mine on Amazon for about $100 based on a recommendation from America’s Test Kitchen. I love it. It cooks everything from Brussel Sprouts to spring rolls, chicken and fish to croutons, and even toast. In recent weeks, I’ve been roasting a whole chicken in the Air Fryer which only takes about 30 minutes. The taste is far superior to the roast chickens bought in grocery stores—although I appreciate the convenience of purchasing chicken that way too. (Again, please note that I have no financial connection to any of these products or services, nor do I receive any compensation if you happen to buy them too.)
The Gear Heads at America’s Test Kitchen tested toaster oven Air Fryers—a combination appliance just as its name implies– and give them high marks too. The caveat is kitchen space and budget. These devices cost more than traditional Air Fryers, running at least a couple of hundred dollars and up. They also require more kitchen counter space.
What kitchen appliances and kitchen gadgets can you not live without? Have you discovered any new finds that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about them. Leave a comment below.