Who has time to peel and cook fresh ingredients? Actually, modern technology has made it easier than ever to make breakfast, lunch and dinner quickly. Here are my favorite tools for cooking like a pro. Who has time to peel and cook fresh ingredients?
1. Food Processor
If we’re talking about kitchen tools that save time on food prep, a food processor tops the charts. This little beauty makes short work of every task imaginable. Plus, the list of things you can make is endless. Here are some of my favorites:
- Fresh basil pesto
- Homemade broccoli cheddar soup
- Roasted tomato soup
- Nut and coconut lemon bars
- Low-fat pizza dough
- Garlic mashed potatoes
- Secret spaghetti sauce (it has green olives)
- Real almond butter
Slicing, dicing, grinding, blending, mixing, shredding — you name it — food processors do it all in literally seconds. This is especially great if you have any kind of pain in your hands or wrists since you don’t need to worry about wielding a heavy knife.
2. Immersion Blender
Not feeling in the mood to find and assemble your countertop blender for one smoothie and then have to wash the whole contraption? No problem. Get an immersion blender instead. This lightweight, portable and simple hand-held device takes care of blending easily. Even better, it completely replaces whisking, whipping, mixing and mashing by hand.
To make a great smoothie, put the ingredients in a jar and blend away. An immersion blender can handle bananas, kale, mangoes, blueberries, ginger, yogurt, granola and other tasty mixes for a perfect morning start. Cleaning up is a breeze afterwards compared to a conventional (and heavy) upright blender.
3. Pressure Cooker
Cook beans from scratch in under an hour, wild rice in 20 minutes and a pork roast in 45 minutes? Yes, please. A pressure cooker speeds up cooking times amazingly. Also, when you cook ingredients under pressure, they become moist, super tender and incredibly flavorful.
Does the idea of owning a pressure cooker make you nervous? Modern versions are made with tons of safety features (automatic pressure control, temperature sensors, etc.) so there’s nothing to worry about.
4. Dutch Oven
The beauty of Dutch ovens is preparing a meal and letting it cook by itself for hours. These large enameled multi-cookers are amazing for one-pot recipes:
- Chicken and rice
- Au gratin potatoes
- Spanish paella
- Chicken curry
My favorite way to use them is for beef roasts. There’s nothing as delicious as melt-in-your-mouth meat with a little oven char. All I do is sear the roast, toss in veggies and red wine, and let everything cook low and slow. Then I go to read a book or do some exercises while the heavenly smells fill up the kitchen. Perfect for Sunday dinners with the kids.
5. Cast Iron Skillet
If you can look past the increased weight, a trusty cast iron skillet may soon become your new best friend in the kitchen. It’s so versatile and simple. One minute you’re browning food on the stove top (using practically no oil) and the next your meal is cooking happily in the oven. I don’t care what anyone says, nothing is as good as homemade corn bread or deep-dish pizza baked in a cast iron skillet.
With these must-have kitchen tools, you can cook any meal in a flash. At the same time, you get tons of healthy nutrients and flavor while cutting salt and fat.