5 Essential Small Kitchen Appliances

breakfast

No one wants too many things in the kitchen. First of all, they’re unnecessary if they don’t perform multiple functions. Secondly, who has that much cabinet and countertop space?? To keep it simple, we’ve narrowed down the list of kitchen “must-haves” to just five items.

Espresso machine
Coffee is amazing. But since Starbucks isn’t—and not everyone is lucky enough to have a great mom and pop shop nearby—consider investing in a home espresso machine. My machine is sleek, high performance, and oh-so-gorgeous. And it’s Italian. There’s something very satisfying about pulling my own shots and frothing my own milk.

Hand blender
Food processors and regular blenders are excellent, but they’re large and take a lot of effort to clean. For daily use, a hand blender is the way to go. It’s excellent for small jobs like soups, salsas, and smoothies, which is what most blending projects are. Our household would not function without this thing. As a bonus, a good hand blender is also very affordable.

Stand Mixer
When we got married, everyone I knew coveted the stand mixer. You know the one—it’s the gold standard of kitchen appliances. I wasn’t sure I needed it, could use it, or wanted to pay for it. And the truth is, we don’t use it a lot and it was expensive. But when you need a mixer, the gold standard Cuisinart is everything you could possibly need, especially when you buy the attachments. This investment is truly worth it.

Slow cooker
There is nothing better than throwing ingredients in a pot, walking away, and finding dinner ready six hours later. I don’t know what I did before my slow cooker. We use it for everything from soups to barbecued beef. If I could be better organized before I leave for work to get things cooking, we would use it for even more. As it is, Sunday is the perfect time for making chili or barbacoa tacos, and I’ll stick with that—especially when there’s football to be watched.

Toaster oven
A good toaster oven is really under-rated. There are certain things like pizza and meat that just aren’t meant to be reheated in a microwave. A good toaster over will do that in no time without the food becoming rubbery, tough, or otherwise inedible. They also heat up very quickly. That means that if you’re cooking or warming a small batch, you finish quickly and without spending the money to heat up your whole oven or making the whole house hot.

What’s the Best Material for New Cookware?

stainless steel cookware is a great option

If you are hungry for new cookware, there is a wide array of cookware materials and designs that you can choose from to suit your wants and budget. From stainless steel and nonstick enamel cookware to copper and cast iron, the sheer number of options can make the selection process overwhelming, particularly if you are unsure about what you want.

Of course, the allure of owning chef-endorsed sets and top-shelf cookware can be appealing and tempting. However, you still have to educate yourself in order to make the best decision. If you are wondering what the best material for new cookware is, here is a guide that can help you out before shopping:

Stainless steel cookware
Stainless steel cookware is a staple in many people’s kitchens because it is often inexpensive and long-lasting. Classic stainless steel is a perfect choice if you braise and brown often.

Pros

  • Very long lasting
  • Extremely easy to clean and maintain. Most brands are dishwasher safe.
  • Comes in sets so you get everything in one purchase.
  • Depending on what other material is used, it can be used on all stove types.

Cons

  • Uncoated pans are hard to clean and difficult to maintain.
  • It has poor heat transfer and distribution.

cast iron distributes heat evenly

Cast iron cookware
When seasoned properly, cast iron cookware is a good option as it is non-stick and distributes heat evenly. Cast iron is ideal for sautéing, frying, and searing.

Pros

  • It heats slowly and evenly, and it maintains heat long after the stove is off
  • It can be used safely in the oven
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • It is very heavy
  • It does not react well with acidic food like tomatoes.

Copper
Although it can cost a pretty penny, copper cookware retains heat wonderfully, which is perfect for making high temp foods like candy.

Pros

  • It cooks food evenly.

Cons

  • Often expensive
  • It reacts with alkaline and acidic foods and can leave a metallic copper aftertaste in food.
  • Has to be well maintained and serviced now and then.

Aluminum
When you are looking for a workhorse in the kitchen, aluminum cookware is a brilliant alternative. Aluminum conducts heat well, it is affordable, and it is typically sold at affordable prices.

Pros

  • Disperses heat evenly throughout the pan.
  • It is perfect for meals that need to cook slowly.
  • It resists denting and scratching well.

Cons

  • Unless anodized, raw aluminum reacts with acidic and alkaline foods.
  • It can cause health concerns as it is prone to staining and often discolors light colored meals and sauces.

The Six Most Versatile Spices in Your Kitchen Cabinet

spices in bowls

Dереndіng solely оn salt аnd рерреr fоr fооd flаvоrіng іѕ bоrіng. There іѕ a wіdе rаngе оf hеrbѕ аnd ѕрісеѕ аvаіlаblе tо соnѕumеrѕ, еnоugh tо mаkе еvеrу mеаl unіԛuе. A lіttlе еxtrа tаng іѕ nоt аll уоu аrе mіѕѕіng оut оn. Mаnу аrоmаtіс additives аrе bеnеfісіаl tо оur hеаlth.
Sеаѕоnіng makes a meal соmрlеtе. Mоѕt ѕрісеѕ аrе іnеxреnѕіvе, аnd mаnу саn bе grоwn at hоmе. Frоm rеѕеаrсh wе gаthеred frоm еxреrtѕ—nutrіtіоnіѕtѕ аnd сооkѕ—tо learn whісh hеаlth-bооѕtіng ѕрісеѕ аrе vеrѕаtіlе аnd tаѕtу еnоugh tо make them wоrth keeping оn hаnd.

Hеrе аrе thе tор vеrѕаtіlе ѕрісеѕ you muѕt hаvе іn уоur spice раntrу оr cаbіnеt:

Garlic
Garlic is probably the most versatile spice there is—you find it in everything from chicken parmesan to fish tacos. In addition to giving flavor to so many dishes, garlic also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, and it’s packed with vitamins, including Vitamin B1, folate, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Cіnnаmоn
Cіnnаmоn is versatile аnd wоrkѕ grеаt fоr brеаkfаѕt ѕрrіnklеd аtор a frеѕh fruіt ѕаlаd, low-fat уоgurt, оаtmеаl, оr whоlе-grаіn соld сеrеаl. Grоund cinnamon іѕ vеrу hіgh іn аntіоxіdаntѕ аnd ѕtudіеѕ suggest іt саn hеlр rеgulаtе blооd ѕugаr lеvеlѕ.

Ginger
Gіngеr seems tо hаvе роѕіtіvе еffесtѕ оn thе ѕtоmасh, рrоtесtіng іt аgаіnѕt gаѕtrіс аіlmеntѕ ѕuсh as соnѕtіраtіоn аnd blоаtіng. Ginger also wоrkѕ wеll іn Aѕіаn dіѕhеѕ аnd even іn bеvеrаgеѕ аnd bаkеd gооdѕ.

Rеd Pерреr Flаkеѕ
Rеd рерреr flаkеѕ аrе a muѕt-hаvе ѕеаѕоnіng. Thеу’rе a ѕіmрlе wау tо аdd hеаt wіthоut hаvіng tо dеаl wіth сhорріng рерреrѕ (аnd thеn ассіdеntаllу tоuсhіng уоur еуеѕ аnd mаkіng them burn!). Uѕе thеm tо kісk up раѕtа ѕаuсе, ѕtіr іntо сhіlі, ѕрrіnklе оn ріzzа, оr add tо vеggіеѕ. In аddіtіоn, rеѕеаrсh hаѕ fоund thаt ѕрісу ingredients саn hеlр ѕuррrеѕѕ арреtіtе аnd mау еvеn hеlр bооѕt mеtаbоlіѕm too

Cumіn
Mіx сumіn wіth сhіlі роwdеr аnd ѕаlt, аnd уоu have instant tасо ѕеаѕоnіng (say gооd-bуе tо thоѕе lіttlе расkеtѕ). It’ѕ also grеаt fоr сhіlі, еnсhіlаdаѕ, аnd рrеttу muсh аnу tоmаtо-bаѕеd Mеxісаn оr Sоuth Amеrісаn dіѕh.

The 10 Most Versatile Herbs to Use in Cooking

Herbs on the counter

Herbs and spices can help you make food more flavorful and with experimentation, you can find a taste and aroma that you like in your home-cooked meals. Here are 10 most versatile herbs to use in cooking:

Mint
Mint is extremely versatile. It goes well with sweet treats, but it is also a great herb to use when you want to make your dishes savory. Furthermore, mint can be used for plating your dishes when you need to make a great presentation and is an essential ingredient for your yummy cocktails.

Rosemary
What would roast pork be without its amazing rosemary flavor? Fresh rosemary has an interesting pungent aroma and can be stored easily in the kitchen for about a week. Rosemary is great for soothing indigestion and alleviating pain, as well as relieving anxiety and stress.

Cilantro
Cilantro is also referred to as coriander in other parts of the world. It is a staple in Asian and Latin cooking and is often best added last after the food has finished cooking. Cilantro is also ideal for use in salads and sandwiches and adds a great flavor to guacamole.

Parsley
Parsley is one of the most versatile herbs of the kitchen that is used in a variety of dishes from across the globe. Parsley is used commonly in salads, sauces and savory dishes and it is sprinkled on top of dishes to add a “wow” element.

Basil
Basil is probably the most used herb during summer thanks to its adaptability. It is amazing when paired with spicy dishes but it also works just as well with sweet treats such as granite or sorbet. Basil is also the primary ingredient in pesto, which can also add great flavor to dishes.

Thyme
Thyme is a staple in American and European cooking and is classically used to season and marinate a variety of meats including pork, fish, and poultry. While most other herbs have a powerful flavor, thyme is just perfect—not too subtle nor overbearing.

Sage
Sage is popular in Thanksgiving dinners although sage infused tea is one of the best natural homemade remedies for anxiety and other nervous disorders.

Chives
Chives almost taste like onions and shallots, so they are a great selection for making soups and veggies packed with flavor. Unlike onions, chives are easier to prepare as they are not overpowering.

Dill
Dill is added commonly to seafood, soups, and salads to give them a lemony taste. Because of its flavor profile, dill is used best in seafood.

Oregano
A typical herb used in many Mediterranean and Mexican cuisines, oregano has a pungent and bold flavor. Therefore it is best used in dishes that have strong flavors. You can also use chopped oregano for your vinaigrette especially when serving Greek or Italian dishes.