Let’s Talk About Kitchen Appliances!

Let’s Talk About Kitchen Appliances!

They are all the craze right now, and you probably have one or all these appliances in your kitchen! Kitchen gadgets and appliances can often make life and cooking easy when chosen wisely. Some of the current popular trends include air fryers, electric pressure cookers, and slow cookers. If you do not own one, make sure it will appropriately fill a void in your life to meet your needs before you go buy one. Continue reading to learn about some good features and some drawbacks for each one. 

Air Fryers

  • Can roast, grill, or bake
  • Crispy fried texture with little to no oil, but moist and tender on the inside
  • Shortened cooking time
  • Uses less energy than a standard oven
  • Food needs to be flipped over halfway through cooking to brown on both sides
  • Some versions cook foods in a basket (Round style)
  • Some versions have a toaster oven and/or rotisserie feature (Larger rectangle style)
  • Appliance stays cool to the touch

Electric Pressure Cookers

  • Advanced electric version of a pressure cooker
  • Foods cook in a bowl insert
  • May have a sauté feature to brown meats or thicken sauces
  • This can often result in multiple steps to complete before and/or after cooking the food
  • Can make yogurt and desserts with additional insert features
  • Shortened cooking time- as short as 1 minute for certain vegetables and meats!
  • Requires time to build up pressure as well as time to release pressure after cooking if using natural release setting 
  • Risk of burns from the releasing steam (Keep hands away from the releasing steam to avoid those)
  • Tender cooked meats
  • Ability to make tougher cuts of meat more tender
  • Ability to cook some foods from a frozen state
  • Some versions have an interchangeable lid transforming it into an air fryer
  • Can be used to can and preserve foods

Slow Cookers

  • A good way to “prep and forget” a meal and allow it to cook while you are at work or sleeping
  • Foods cook over a 4+ hour window of time (depending on recipe and heating setting)
  • Best to keep the lid closed during the process as frequent opening slows down the cooking process
  • Water condensing on the lid can drain back into an entree
  • Tender cooked meats
  • Ability to cook some foods from a frozen state
  • Good way to make stews, roasts, casseroles, and appetizers
  • Can be used to keep foods warm for serving
  • Come in different shapes (round or oval) and different sizes
  • Small versions cook enough for 1-2 people
  • Larger versions cook enough for 4+ families

If you’ve already purchased one or more items, consider creating a plan for how and when you will use each appliance. Make it part of your meal planning process. Think about what day of the week will work best for you to set up and use your appliance. For instance, if you have a slow cooker, it may be easier to make meals in this appliance on Sundays to be ready for Monday. Then maybe use your Air Fryer for a fast Friday night dinner and your pressure cooker mid-week for quick savory meals. Having a plan will make the task less daunting when trying to decide what you will eat and how it will be prepared during the week. These appliances are helpful but can be an increased source of stress without a plan.

In addition to creating a plan for its use, consider how you plan to store and keep the various recipes for each appliance as many recipes are not interchangeable between appliances. There are many ways to organize your recipes. The old fashion recipe cards or printed copies in a notebook, to online and app storage. Choose the platform that will work best for you. Then organize the recipes based on the appliance. If you are printing out your recipes, create different sections. If you are doing it on a computer, consider programs such as Pinterest, Dropbox, Google Docs, Evernote, Copy Me That! or apps such as Paprika, OrganizEat, RecipeKeeper, etc. Find a method that will work best for you that you find easy to use!

Happy cooking!

 

If you're interested in obtaining more helpful tips from our dietitians along with asking them questions of your own, attending regular Facebook live sessions, participating in community challenges, receiving access to video recipes, receiving RDN-approved monthly shopping lists, viewing the RDN-approved weekly menu, and getting access to special promotional pricing on all food/beverage/supplement products -- check out the fully-virtual SustainableWeightLoss and SustainableWeightLoss+ plans by Pounds Transformation!