LIST OF SMALL KITCHEN APPLIANCES FOR BUSY FAMILIES
Time or lack of time is what most busy families face today. But this doesn't mean you have to sacrifice good nutrition habits. You can still prepare healthy, homemade foods quickly using small kitchen appliances. These appliances offer ways to get all kinds of delicious wholesome foods on the table without being a slave to the kitchen. What with work schedules, chauffeuring kids to all sorts of practices, rehearsals and meetings, you don’t have time for that. So what you need is to discover some of the best small kitchen appliances that will prepare healthy meals quickly and take away any guilt you might have when you can’t do that.
There are several of these appliances that take care of a lot of meal preparation chores like blending and chopping. Plus there are other small kitchen appliances that actually cook meals quickly. Tools like pressure cookers can prepare incredibly delicious macaroni and cheese for kid-approved meals or blenders that hide offensive vegetables among fruit. These are wonderful when you have picky eaters. Some of these kitchen appliances can be used in ways you would not have thought of.
Here is a list of great small kitchen appliances to have in any home. They are ones I love to use, and in some cases, couldn’t do without. They also make great gift ideas for other mothers who seem to be pressed for time.
List Of Small Kitchen Appliances That Save Time
This is one of my favorite cooking tools. I can’t possibly count the number of times I have used it and thrown together complete, from scratch, meals in no time, even macaroni and cheese! It’s an excellent kitchen appliance to have if you want to prepare healthy meals quickly. The pressure cooker and other small kitchen appliances save energy because cooking time is reduced when compared to traditional cooking methods. They also retain more vitamins and minerals in the food.
Pressure cookers cook food rapidly because the water or liquid inside the sealed pot creates steam that builds up to an extreme amount of heat. Typically a pressure cooker can reach pressure up to 15 pounds per square inch. This is much higher than temperature water could create in a regular pot. Thus, your food cooks much faster in a pressure cooker.
Today’s pressure cookers are very safe. There is no need to be concerned about one reaching too much pressure and exploding. Pressure cookers today have safety measures that prevent them from being opened until pressure has been reduced.
Pressure cookers are sometimes classified as to “generation” basically meaning older versus modern day and the way valves release pressure. However, when buying a pressure cooker, you only need to be concerned with the difference between electric and stove top pressure cookers.
Electric pressure cookers have their own source of heat so they are freestanding. Regulating the heat is completely automated. You do not have to juggle heat controls to reach the right heat or pressure. Thus they are easier to use. They usually take a little bit longer to cook foods than stove top cookers because their PSI ranges from about 8 to 13 although some can go higher.
Stove Top pressure cookers, on the other hand, cook a little faster since their PSI is typically around 15. Most pressure cooking cookbooks gear their recipes to this PSI. These types of cookers can be used on gas or electric stove tops. The heat must be adjusted to get the right temperature. This may take a few attempts before you figure out what is the best setting. Both electric and stove top cookers come in various sizes.
After the electric pressure cooker, the crockpot or slow cooker as it is also known, is my favorite cooking tool. This set-it-and-forget-it countertop appliance also allows for easily cooking healthy meals from scratch. Now that you can get a dual serving crockpot as one item, it really makes cooking a complete healthy meal doable.
When buying a slow cooker, size and programmable cooking times are two things you should look for. Most slow cookers come in sizes from 4 to 7 quarts. There are a couple of brands that make them in 2 quart and 8 quart sizes. However, the most popular size seems to be 6 quarts. This size should easily hold enough food for a family of four. I personally would not buy anything less than 6 quarts, even for a two-person family.
My very first crockpot was highly programmable with manual knobs for setting times. The one I own now uses the standard 4, 6 or 8 hour settings. Newer models are coming onto the market with settings that you can program from 30 minutes to 10 hours. This is a highly desirable feature.TOASTER OVENS
I found out how truly valuable my little toaster oven is when my large stove oven went out and we had to wing it until another one could be delivered. This little oven does way more than toasting bread. The one I own is large enough for an 8x8 square cake pan or 9x13 roasting pan to fit in it perfectly. And since it is small, heat distributes quickly resulting in perfectly prepared cakes and casseroles in minutes. I enjoy the advantage of quick-cooked meals so much that I continue to use it for that purpose instead of using my large oven.
It is the convection feature on my toaster oven that lets me use it as I would my regular oven. It’s a feature I highly recommend. However if you don’t think you the toaster oven for baking, then a regular toaster oven without the convection feature would be fine. Either way, most of these ovens save you time when baking.
Bonus features to consider are several programmable settings so that you can choose functions like baking, keeping warm and broiling and a timer when you don’t want to have to keep checking to see if your food is ready.
Fruits are healthy. It's like the saying that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” and you are reminded that fruits are a tasty, nutritious treat. But there is nothing that can compare to fruit freshly squeezed into juice, especially orange juice. Top that with the latest craze in juicing—watermelon juice as favored by celebrities and you have a fruit lover’s delight. Watermelon juice is really delicious and worth owning a juicer if for no other reason than this juice.
There are two types of juicers that families can enjoy—centrifugal and masticating (aka cold press and slow) juicers. Centrifugal juicers are more popular with most families because these type of juicers separate the pulp from the juice into different areas. They create juice by grating the fruit or vegetable to get the pulp and then spinning the pulp to get the juice. Masticating juicers crush the fruit and then press to extract the juice. They result in more actual juice. The result is you get more pulp from centrifugal juicers, but you can use the pulp in other recipes. You can also process nuts with masticating juicers to make milks like almond and cashew. Centrifugal juicers spin faster creating more heat and supposedly this causes the juice to lose some of its nutrients.
Another feature to take into consideration when buying a juicer is the width of the feeder chute. The width will determine how easy it is to feed fruit and vegetables into the chute. If you prefer not to cut apples or pears into several small chunks, then a feeder at least 3 inches wide is a good bet.
The price of juicers resolves a lot around its power (watts). The more powerful the juicer the more it will cost. Some of the best selling juicers have about 850 watts.
The food blender still holds a special place on the kitchen counter. It’s a most versatile small kitchen appliance that gets lots of use in most households for its ability to create healthy smoothies for families to enjoy. In the not too distant future, though, the blender as we know it may fall victim to technological advances just like so many other items around us. The Thermonix blender popular in Europe has returned to America. It is a countertop blender that combines 12 functions into one. It chops, blends, kneads, steams, cooks, etc. It’s also expensive, but considering how many functions you get in one product, it may well be quite cost effective.
Blenders and juicers are often confused as being able to handle the same functions, but they aren’t the same. With the exception of the Thermomix above, Blenders chop and blend food. Juicers extract juice from food.
The main features to consider in a blender are watts and capacity. Obviously the more watts the blender has, the more effective it chops and blends. Some blenders are so powerful they can chop fruits and vegetables in seconds. Others have the ability to crush ice cubes and frozen fruits. This is a handy feature when making smoothies as you can use frozen fruit and eliminate the need to add ice separately.
If you make several glasses of smoothies or drinks at one time, a large capacity jar is helpful
WAFFLE MAKERS aka WAFFLE IRONS
Waffles have always been a treat for family breakfasts, but these fluffy pasty-like concoctions have evolved beyond the basic 4 section square or round delight. Today you can have waffles in all sorts of shapes. What’s more, you can arrange them to hold a variety of foods, making for a unique, complete meal. If you enjoy being creative, you can also create waffle cones to hold your ice cream and imitate those found in famous ice cream stores. Waffle bowls are a hot new trend that allows you to really explode your imagination as you decide what to place in them.
Traditional waffle makers produce the familiar 4 square or round waffles that have been around for years. Since batter in waffle irons will stick to the grid pattern, these grids are typically made of a non stick material for easier release. Having adjustable heat settings will allow you to customize how brown or crisp you want your waffles to be. And if there is a light indicator that tells you when the waffle is ready, you are more assured of getting the texture that you want.
Belgian waffle makers have the distinction of creating waffles with deep pockets which lets you add butter, syrup, chocolate, fruit or whatever your heart desires. These pockets are deeper than the ones made with traditional waffle makers.
Flip waffle makers aren’t really superior to traditional or Belgian waffle makers. Some feel that they create more even browning on both sides. However, they are fun. Kids get a kick out of watching as the handle is flipped to the other side.
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