Kitchen Hacks, Gadget Edition!
Some of us loath cooking and some of us dance around the kitchen while whipping up dinner. A majority of us probably fall somewhere in the middle depending on how much time we have and how much caffeine is in our system. Regardless of our feelings about preparing food, I'm sure we all can appreciate multitasking gadgets that can save us time and space in our kitchens.
Here are four not so uncommon items that I've been using for a few years and have found them useful enough to share with you. I'm not advertising for any particular brand, although not sure if some of these have competing brands. I'm just sharing what I've used specifically and how I use it.
This "baking" appliance is genius! Let me explain what it is. Designed to bake pizzas, but can cook many other things. This appliance has two pieces, a nonstick tray, that just pops off for easy cleaning, and the main unit that has the heating elements, cooking options, and plugs into the wall.
The tray rotates continuously to ensure even baking. There are two heating elements on the main unit, one on the top and one on the bottom. You can easily select to use them separately, or together. I tend to leave my unit on "DUAL" as pictured, unless I want to toast only one side of something.
You can set the timer up to 20 minutes, when the timer runs out the heating elements will automatically turn off but the tray will continue to rotate until device is unplugged.
Also, official description also claims that it "Saves as much as 60% in energy compared to a conventional oven."
As far as my personal assessment goes, I also like it because my kids can actually see the food baking as it rotates without needing to get too close. When I say food, I mean I've baked all sorts of finger foods from the freezer on it, from chicken nuggets to waffles. Anything that could fit in a toaster oven could probably go on this. Caution, make sure the food isn't tall enough to hit the upper heating element or is super greasy/oily that may cause splatter.
You can make all sorts of delicious sandwiches with this. It seems that the egg and type of bread used is what makes this a "breakfast" sandwich maker, but sometimes I leave out the egg. I also tend to add a spread or condiment depending on type of sandwich, from tapenades to hummus and sometimes even salsa. I've also used only the top compartment to cook plain eggs (or egg whites), it gives them that nice round shape that you see on breakfast sandwiches at many fast-food joints, my son loves it. The one complaint I have with this is that if you are not using an english muffin or mini bagel than you need to wedge or pre-cut the bread of your choice.
This one is self explanatory and there aren't too other uses for it, but this thing comes in handy if you have kids and/or love to bake with apples. There is a European influence in our home, so meals always end with a dessert of fruit, usually apples. I know, fruit isn't my first thought when I hear the word dessert. Afterwards comes an actual dessert if we have it. The cutting area is sharp so don't let kids use it on their own and make sure to dry it so it doesn't rust.
I'm sure there are other great options of these, this just happens to be the one I have. It's very handy as it has a many functions. In its simplest form, it can be used as a colander to rinse and drain.
You can use it to cook in the microwave or oven, however, I don't remember ever using it in the oven. When cooking, I've used it mostly to steam veggies in the microwave. The steam tray can be removed to make stews and soups.
It's also dishwasher safe and can be collapse for easy storage.
If you have kitchen item favorite that serves multiple purposes, please share.