Who lives in a small space, raise your hand!
My last kitchen had a galley layout … aka only-one-person-allowed-at-a-time, limited cupboards and even more limited counter space. I’m so happy to say that I have slightly more room in our new place now after the move. But as someone who has lived in multiple places over the years, it has been very important for me to find the most versatile appliances possible and multi-tasking tools are a must!
Here’s a few of my favorite items. Of course this isn’t a comparison with all items available, but I’ll share with you some of my basic pieces and why I love them.
-multi-level means I can make rice and steam veggies all in one shot if I choose, which saves time and allows me to prepare some foods for later
-has a timer so I can turn it on and forget about it, automatically sets to warmer after cooking time is over and will auto shut off if water runs out meaning
-makes a perfect hard-boiled egg, gives me worry-free rice and steams veggies to my preference (keeping some crispness or going all the way to very soft depending on the veggie and who I’m making it for)
2) Toaster oven
-again has a timer with auto-shut off so no burnt foods if I get side-tracked (which is often)
-doubles as a small oven which uses much less energy than the big stove/oven, gives me extra cooking space and won’t heat up the kitchen in the summer
-perfect for 1-2 portions
3) Griddler / Panini press style grill
– cooks chicken breasts and grilled cheese or reuben sandwiches quickly, chicken is more moist than baking them (ie when cooking in the press-mode so heat is coming from both top and bottom at the same time)
-multiple cooking surface options – grill, flat plates or waffle options; panini/press or flat out griddle
-plates pop on and off easily, are small and create less dishes than a large pan
4) Single-serving blender
-smoothies, smoothies and more smoothies that can be customized, one per cup
-coffee bean grinder, ground-up nuts or flaxseeds, homemade nut butters
-pureeing foods to smooth consistency
-lots of different brands out there with different motor sizes and price points; on the expensive end is the Vitamix which seems to be an RD favorite based on discussions I’ve followed
5) Immersion blender
-pureeing soups right in the pot … need I say more!
-mine has multiple attachments including a mini food processor, allowing me to mince up small amounts of food which is handy when making my own burgers (such as onion, red peppers or celery) helping hold it all together nicely. Also handy for mincing small amounts of food when adapting a food texture for someone unable to chew well
6) Instant Pot
-I save the best for last here! I call this the magic pot when cooking with my little human. My first favorite part is the ability to sauté in the pot (somehow it knows the perfect sauté temperature and I’ve never burnt anything) then switch over to slow cooker … again less dishes to do and more flavor staying in the pot!
-extremely versitle. Has multiple functions, no matter which model you buy. And there are a number of them these days as this is the must-have kitchen item of the past few years in my opinion. Most include rice steamer, pressure cooker, slow cooker, chili/stew or soup modes, some have yogurt maker functions … the list goes on
-compact size with one smallish / light weight inner pot to clean, certainly easier to manage clean up compared to a 6Qt or larger ceramic slow cooker pot and fits better in the fridge if you want to prepare the dish the night before and pop it into the instant pot for cooking in the morning
-some have timers for auto start, though I would caution use of this depending on the type of food you’re cooking and how long you plan to have it sitting out of the fridge before starting to cook – food safety first!
-sealing ring keeps most of the food smells in so the whole house doesn’t smell like roast or chili
-often cooks food faster with less need for stirring or monitoring, uses small amounts of energy, doesn’t heat up the house in the summer
-oh yeah, and it was designed by Canadians 🙂
-every year for the past few years I’ve seen amazing deals on these, starting around Black Friday making them even more affordable … psst this is in only a few weeks so maybe now’s the time to start your research!
I really do love cooking and as life has gotten more busy, I’m grateful I have the kitchen tools I need that make simple and nutritious meals the easy choice.
What are your favourite kitchen tools? How are they helping you make meals that fit with your eating style or your nutrition needs?
Angela Hubbard is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) with 10 years experience working in the field of nutrition. Her work focuses on empowering people with young minds and aging bodies as they enter their retirement years and beyond. In her off time she loves swapping recipes, creating and exploring Northern BC life with her young family.