Nothing's On Fire…

….It's Just Karen in the Kitchen

My Not-So Secret Weapons

I love appliances and gadgets that make my life easier, especially when it comes to cooking healthy and quick meals.  (Ok, to be honest I don’t always cook healthy meals, but I do try.)  These are a few of the things that I find super handy in preparing meals for the hubby and I.

Slow Cooker

I LOVE using my slow cooker. I’m still afraid to leave it go all day while we’re at work, so if I use it, it’s on days when I’m working from home or during the weekend.  It’s great to make a larger batch of food so we have leftovers during the week.

I now use a Hamilton Beach Programmable Slow Cooker like this one, Hamilton Beach 33967 Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker And I love it.  Why do I love it?  Well, for the fact that this one is programmable.  My old one turned on and turned off, that was about it.  This one will switch to “keep warm” so at least if I do run out to make an errand I know it won’t kill my food while I’m gone.  I also love it for the fact that it has a lid that seals tightly.  You won’t hear a rattle while your food cooks, nor will it spill over.  It has a temperature probe, but I have never used it, so I can’t really speak to how well that feature works.

Electric Pressure Cooker

As you’ve probably noticed, several of my recipes mention my Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker.  So far we’ve been really pleased with how it performs.  It made brown rice nice and fluffy, and in a shorter time than the rice cooker we were previously using, plus it wasn’t burnt on the bottom!  I’ve tried a recipe in it, and my husband just used it the other night.  Both meals turned out great.  It’s nice to get that “simmered on the stove” flavor and consistency in a shorter timeframe.  You can check out the Instant Pot sold on Amazon by clicking here Instant Pot® IP-LUX60 6-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker, 6.33qt, Latest 3rd Generation Technology, Stainless Steel Cooking Pot and Exterior.  As we continue to experiment with it, I will post about our recipes and results.

Gadgets

Garlic Chopper

This is a very handy little gadget.  I picked one up last year in a cooking store on my annual day trip to Door County, WI with my girlfriends.  It does all of the hard work for you when it comes to mincing garlic.  Cleaning it is pretty easy, as I usually just run it under some water and then let it dry.  You can grind a couple of cloves at a time, just be careful not to over stuff it.  But this sure beads having to stand there with the chef’s knife chopping away. Chef’n Garlic Zoom Rolling Garlic Chopper, Arugula and Meringue

Mezzaluna

Mezza-what?  The first time someone told me about these I was clueless.  So I asked for one on my wedding registry, and I’m glad I did.  I mostly use it for chopping fresh herbs.  I used to use it for chopping/mincing garlic, until I got the Garlic Zoom mentioned previously.  A mezzaluna is a great tool to quickly chop herbs into very fine pieces.  It’s tons easier than trying to chop them with a knife. Mezzaluna Chopper

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