5 Small Kitchen Appliances I Couldn’t Live Without

Today I want to take you into my kitchen and explore the best small kitchen appliances, I can not live without.  My love for kitchen gadgets and small kitchen appliances dates to the beginning days of QVC and the informercial. My grandfather watched all the infomercials and would buy every golf product out there, and he never bought just one. This lead to my love of buying small kitchen appliances and gadgets. I remember one of my first small kitchen appliance purchases. It was about 20 years ago when I purchased  my hand hammer wok, which I still have today.

Some of my other purchases included sandwich/omelet machines and one of my all time favorites The Magic Bullet.

1. Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker)

Let’s face it, we live in the south and probably everyone has a slow cooker/crock pot in their kitchen.   Actually, I have 3 of them. I do enjoy using them to cook meals for the family, but their only downfall is that most meals take at least 10-12 hours to cook.   These meals usually mean prepping the night before and getting up very early the next morning to start the cooking process and if mornings are as crazy in your home as mine you sometimes forget to start it and then what do you do for dinner when you get home.

There is an answer to saving hours and still having dinner on the table at a decent time, Instant Pot.  This is a computerized pressure cooker that takes the place of the older stove top pressure cooker.

Amazing Versatility for a Small Kitchen Appliance

The newer units serve as pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker and a warming pot all in on.  Imagine all the room you can clear up in your pantry with this one appliance. The programable versions let you set it and move on with other responsibilities like homework and chauffeur.  It’s versatility is the reason it came in at #1 for small kitchen appliances.

My favorite recipe that I make in my pressure cooker is…

Beef Short Ribs with Brown Sugar and Red Wine

Prep Time 30 min

Cook Time 1 hour

Total Time 1.5 hours

3lbs beef short ribs 1 med onion (chopped)
1 TBLS EVOO 5 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 ½ cups Beef Broth 2 TBLS Honey
½ cup Red Wine 2 TBLS Brown Sugar

Season the short ribs with salt and pepper and heat oil in bottom of the pressure cooker.  Brown the short ribs on both sides and remove. Use half the wine to deglaze the pan. Add the remaining ingredients and return the ribs to the pressure cooker.  Cover and cook at high pressure for 1 hour.

Everybody wants to save time…

If you were to make this dish with a slow cooker it would take at the minimum of 10 hours.  Don’t get me wrong I love my slow cooker but to save time, money and the piece of mind of not leaving an appliance plugged in and running all day with no one home, the instant pot is the answer.

I own 2 stove top pressure cookers and after doing my research and borrowing a friend’s to test my recipe I have ordered my own Instant Pot.

2. Waffle Iron

There not just for breakfast anymore.  I may have a problem, the first step is to admit it, right.  Pictured above is part of my waffle iron collection. On the left is your typical square Belgium Waffle Iron, in the middle is your quartered Belgium Waffle Iron, the one you find on most hotel breakfast buffets and the right maybe my children’s favorite the waffle sticks.

Growing up we had waffles for breakfast occasionally on the weekend, but what I looked forward to the most was my mother took the waffle iron out for dinner and made us waffles and ice cream for dinner.  She would take two waffles and make an ice cream sandwich and cover it with powdered sugar. I still make this delicious treat when she comes to visit on a hot summers day.

Not just for batter

Today when you search the internet for waffle recipes there are so many different things that come up.  Transforming how you use your waffle iron is the reason it ranked #2 in small kitchen appliances.  I have seen quesadillas, cinnamon rolls, mashed potatoes, brownies, omelets and grilled cheese all made in waffle irons.  How about a nice juicy cheeseburger between two fluffy waffles? My favorite off the wall recipe for the waffle iron is:

Stuffed Pizza

Pizza Dough Tomato Sauce
Mozzarella Cheese Pepperoni

Roll out the dough and cut into squares that fit your waffle iron.  Put tomato sauce, cheese and if you want pepperoni on one side and then cover with and additional square.  Place on the waffle iron, cook for about 5 minutes and you have a delicious stuffed pizza waffle.

3. Vitamix

How many of us have a blender in our kitchens?  What do you use it for? For years I have had a blender in the kitchen and the only thing I can remember using it for was to make milk shake when I was younger and as an adult the major use for the blender was for the frozen margarita.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, but what about a blender that can give you multiple options not just the ordinary smoothie that we make for breakfast as we run out for school or work.

More than just a blender

Vitamix is that blender.  We have gone from having to dust off the blender when we wanted to use it to Vitamix being on the counter and being used almost every day.  Yes, I understand that they are expensive for a blender, but they are a whole lot more. It can be used as a food processor to mince garlic, shred potatoes and grate hard cheeses.  It can take the place of your mixer when preparing fresh dough for bread, pizza and even cookies. When you want to take your healthy eating to the next step your Vitamix can prepare fresh nut butters and no dairy milks, like almond and coconut.  Do you have a new addition to your family, what is better than know what exactly they are eating? You can prepare fresh fruits and vegetables without all the sugars and preservatives.

Hot or Cold….works with both

The most impressive aspect of this blenders is that it can prepare both hot and frozen treats.  Who doesn’t like a frozen dessert on a hot summer night, you can make ice cream, sorbet, milk shakes and sherbet.  For those cold winter nights in less than 10 minutes you can whip up a delicious hot soup.

BBQ Sauce

Brown sugar Salt, to taste
Worcestershire sauce Apple cider vinegar
Yellow mustard Water
Ketchup White wine
Freshly ground black pepper Liquid smoke
Red pepper flakes

Set the Vitamix for Hot Soup and let run for 10 minutes

4. Mandoline

Are you timid around knives?  Afraid of cutting yourself trying to get that perfect uniform slice?  Well than you need one of these. A mandoline is used to sliced, julienne, and make waffle or crinkle cuts.  Just place the fruit or vegetable that you want to cut on the inclined blades, make sure you use the large food holder to protect yourself from getting cut.  Slide the food across the blades and get uniform slices every time.

Looking for a healthy snack while watching the big games or hanging around watching the latest episode on HGTV try,

Veggie Crisps

Butternut Squash Carrot
Beet Root Sweet Potato
Olive Oil Sea Salt

Use the Mandoline to slice the root vegetables, toss in oil and spread out on a parchment paper line baking sheet.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until the are crisp. If you are only looking for semi healthy then throw them in the deep fryer.

5. Spiralizer

Have somebody in your house who needs to eat gluten free?  Do you love pasta and maybe want to cut down on the carbs? Then this is the kitchen gadget for you.  The spiralizer turns vegetables into noodles. The most common vegetable the everyone spiralizes is the zucchini.  Just chop off both ends place it on the spiralizer and turn away for healthy delicious noodles.

,I have used my spiralizer to make noodles, curly fries and coleslaw.  The noodles I have sautéed or boiled and then added my favorite sauce for a great reduced carb meal.  You can use regular or sweet potatoes and make curly fries. Additionally, carrots, cucumber, onions and peppers can be spiraled.

Broccoli Noodles

Recently I leaned that you can spiralize broccoli, not the florets but the stems.  We all buy heads of broccoli, cut off the tops and toss the stems. The next time I am going to break out my spiralizer and make broccoli noodles.  This is how I plan on making them.

3 broccoli stems Garlic
Olive Oil Red pepper flakes
Lemon Juice Parmesan cheese
Salt Pepper
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