If lack of time is the reason for not cooking at home, here are 6 small appliances for the kitchen that will speed up cooking time.
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Small Appliances for the Kitchen that Save Time & Money
One of the great things about cooking at home is the amount of money saved by making your own good-tasting, made-from-scratch food. But as we all know, some of these foods take a long time to make if done completely by hand.
I started out cooking from scratch when I was a teenager, and one of the first things I made was bread. It took hours and hours to make two loaves, and kneading the dough was tiring. In college, I had the opportunity to use a professional kitchen during an event, and one of the machines was this huge mixer with a dough hook attachment. OMG! Making 25 loaves of bread was so easy!!!!
#1 – KitchenAid Mixer
One of the small appliances I got for my first apartment after college was a KitchenAid mixer.
By using the dough hook attachment, the mixer was just as effective as that cool one I used in the professional kitchen! I used it for making bread dough all the time – and the picture above? That same KitchenAid mixer. I’ve had this for years and years, and I use it about one a week.
For the holidays, I make gingerbread men. 144 of them to be exact. And the dough for gingerbread is very stiff. The mixer handles it so well, and no more broken wooden spoons! (I can’t count how many of those snapped in half while I was trying to mix gingerbread dough.)
Making batter for other breads, cookies, muffins and cakes is a snap, and it also makes clean-up quick and easy. (another time-saver) The bowl and paddles go right into the dishwasher.
These mixers are a bit of an investment, but honestly worth the money. Mine has got to be at least 20 years old and it’s still going strong. Another thing about using it is that my arms and hands don’t get tired anymore from kneading and mixing. Something to keep in mind if your upper body strength is an issue like it is for me.
The KitchenAid mixer was the gateway drug for my next small appliance:
#2 – Bread Machine
Because I am a multi-tasker, I’ve got to have a few things going at once. And automating tasks is the best way to save time. Since I bake so much bread, the next logical step was to get a bread machine. You can read about how great the bread machine is for baking bread here.
But not only does the bread machine bake bread – I also use it for making pizza dough too!
Considering that a loaf of artisan bread is at least $4.00/loaf, or a pizza going for $8.00 or more, at $63.99 (*the price listed today on Amazon), this bread machine will pay for itself in no time.
All you do is add the ingredients; press the button; and go do other stuff while your bread is baking!
#3 – Bunn Home Brewer Coffee Machine
Do you like coffee? I sure do. And I want it fast. And by fast, I don’t mean getting in the car and driving to Starbucks so I can wait in line. And spend $4.00. Or more. (I wrote about the merits of bringing your own beverage to work here.) Based on January 2016 prices, I calculated that 5 cups of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee a week adds up to about $500/year!
I love this Bunn coffee maker and the thermal carafe! In less than 3 minutes, I have 10 cups of awesome coffee brewed fresh right there on my kitchen counter. And the burner doesn’t stay on! Once brewed, the thermal carafe keeps the coffee hot for a few hours – and it never tastes burnt like when I used those crappy coffee makers. So if you buy one cup of coffee a day on your way to work, you can save a ton of money with this machine!
#4 – Convection Toaster Oven
A toaster oven is for so much more than just making toast! I use mine all the time for making pizza and baking chicken, fish and other smaller amounts of food. It’s much more cost-effective than turning on the oven! And now that it is summer, using a toaster oven doesn’t heat up the entire kitchen like the regular oven does.
Getting a convection toaster oven makes cooking faster too.
#5 – Yogurt Maker
If you like yogurt, you will love making your own. It’s so easy! In fact, I wrote a whole post on making your own yogurt here.
A yogurt maker could last about 20 years when used once a week (no kidding).
*Update – November 2016 – it looks like the Donvier yogurt maker is no longer available, but the one I have linked to looks comparable.
#6 – Countertop Grill
This little appliance is so handy! it cooks super fast, and cleans up with just a wipe of a damp sponge.
I’m sure George Foreman wouldn’t be too happy if he saw what I make in his Lean Mean Grilling Machine! Besides making a quick, de-greased burger, this grill makes the best ever grilled cheese sandwich.
Mmmmmmm. Bacon. Cheese. And melted.
Plug in the grill. Spread butter on one side of the bread, and put the butter side down on the grill. Put a slice of American cheese on the bread; top with cooked bacon; add more cheese; then top with the other piece of buttered bread. The butter turns the bread a golden brown. (besides making the sandwich taste fantastic!) Close the grill lid, and heat until you see the cheese melting. You could also add some onion and a few slices of tomato. And other kinds of cheese too. With sriracha drizzled on the inner side of the bread.
This grilled cheese sandwich took less than 5 minutes to make. (and even less than that to eat!) I also use the grill to make hot pastrami Reubens. And it can also be used to make other things that aren’t slathered in butter!
The fact that this grill is SO fast, is the reason I have it listed as a must-have appliance. If you are in a time crunch and/or have a lot of people clamoring for food, you need one of these grills!
The top six
So those are my top 6 small appliances for the kitchen. Each one of these is used at least once a week, with the Bunn coffee brewer being used every day – sometimes twice a day. Which small kitchen appliance is your go-to?
**If the make/model of the appliance pictured is no longer available, I have linked to the closest one available.