4 Kitchen Gadgets Every Healthy Home Cook Needs

thinly sliced radishes

(Healthcastle.com) Was your New Year's resolution to spend less on eating out or just to eat better?  Having the right tools in the kitchen can make eating healthy a breeze. Learn how you can spend less time and effort while still turning out delicious homemade fare night after night. 

Chef’s Knife

Everyone is afraid of a big knife, but in the kitchen a chef’s knife is key to getting good results and spending less time and effort chopping. If you’re eating well, that means lots of fruits and veggies, so cutting down on prep time can really make your plan to eat well more sustainable. 

People often mistake a heavier, bigger knife as more dangerous, but you’re most likely to cut yourself on something that’s dull or too small for the job making you put in more force. There are several styles, but look for something that feels good in your hand, has a decent weight too it and comes nice and sharp. Investing in a simple sharpener is a great way to keep it in tip top shape.

Mandoline

A good quality mandolin makes slicing a breeze – think homemade gratin in minutes or paper thin slices of radish, cucumber or raw beet for salads with no fuss or elbow grease. Fabulous if you’re not so handy with a knife, or just plain hate spending time in the kitchen. Also a great tool if you have little ones who are in the finger food stage, as the thin easy to bite pieces of veggies are much more manageable than a harder chunk. Most mandolines also come with a grater plate making it a really fabulous multi- purpose tool. Just be sure to use the guard if you’re not familiar with it, or if like me you are eternally klutzy. They are super sharp- I once cut my finger moving mine on stage (before the show started thankfully) – so I keep mine with the guard on top with an elastic to avoid future mishaps.

Slow Cooker or Dutch Oven

Slow cooking adds a lot of moisture and flavour without a lot of fuss. If you’re on a budget, its also key to make more economical cuts of meat and poultry in to a warm, melty, delicious meal in 4-8 hours.
A slow cooker or crockpot is handy because you can plug it in and leave the house, whereas a dutch oven does require that you’re home to keep an eye on the stove. Its truly a no strings attached kitchen appliance and so worthwhile for busy professionals or families that can’t be tied to the house for a few hours. That being said, if you are mostly cooking at home, or want to braise meats or poultry for a shorter time, a dutch oven is the best choice. The big bonus with is that you can truly get a one pot meal. As the heavy base allows you to place it right on the stovetop to brown the chicken or get some colour on onions before adding the rest of the liquid and lid and popping in the oven. Its incredibly versatile, and if you have the budget I’d highly recommend investing in both!

Food Processor or Blender

Are you tired of chicken, rice and vegetables on a plate? Miss sauces but don’t know how to whip up a healthy one  at home, or just can’t be bothered to spend ages chopping away? The food processor makes quick work of salsas, chimichurri, pesto or any other healthy topper you can think of. Think two minutes to instead of 15! After the chef’s knife, my food processor is next in line for kitchen workhorse. 

Most can make a pretty creamy smoothie on the highest setting as well but if you prefer a blender, look for one that has lower speeds and a pulse option to get similar results on a range of foods.

Feeling short on kitchen skills? Try a local cooking class (knife skills is a great place to start) at a gourmet store or through the recreation centres. There are also a ton of youtube videos on simple skills and websites that help break down techniques so they make sense.

Some of my favourite kitchen resources:

The Kitchn : lots of how to articles and recipes that range from simple to more gourmet

The Healthful Home Cook: An online program that gives you the basic kitchen skills to become a handy and healthful home cook. Designed and run by a Registered Dietitian, it’s a simple step by step guide to get you comfortable with cooking.

What tools could you not live without in the kitchen?

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