I am amazed by the amount of kitchen appliances on the market. If you head down to the electrical department of your nearest department store, you’re sure to find a veritable cornucopia of gadgets that claim to make cooking easier. You can buy food processors that chop, dice, puree and whizz. You can buy popcorn makers, juicers, crepe machines, slushie makers, toasters, roasters and coffee-makers. I’ve even seen fairy-floss machines at one store (which seem awesome but I’ve been assured that they’re a bitch to clean).
I really shouldn’t be so surprised by the influx of kitchen doo-dads. Everyone is looking for a way to simplify their lives, to make things easier for themselves. So many people want to eat healthier, or wow their friends with their fabulous culinary skills. These machines and gadgets pander to that, giving us all the opportunity to do things faster, healthier and better.
I own quite a number of kitchen appliances, and I’m always tempted to buy more. Many of them I don’t use more than once a month. If I was to throw them all out and keep just one, I know in a heartbeat which one I’d keep. Above all the others, there is one kitchen appliance that has genuinely improved my life, helped me to eat healthier and also save money…
I adore this bad boy. I love the fact that I can throw a bunch of ingredients in it first thing in the morning, flip it onto auto and spend the whole day feeling smug in the knowledge that dinner will be cooked and ready for me when I get home. It’s a godsend on the days I work late. On these days, I’m starving the moment I walk in the door, and I’m likely to reach for the fastest food option. This used to be take-out like McDonalds or KFC. Now, it’s the pot of freshly-prepared soup or the delectable curry that’s simmering away on the table top. I eat so much healthier without much extra effort.
The slow-cooker is great for making all manner of things. You can do soups, stews, casseroles and curries. It also makes a mean pot roast. You can buy cookbooks filled with slow-cooking recipe, but my general approach of chucking in all the ingredients and flipping it to ‘auto’ works like a charm too.
Not only can you make a huge variety of meals in the slow cooker, you can make them in a healthier than if you cooked them on the stove. You don’t need to fry meats or onions in oil or butter before cooking, so meals tend to be lower in fat when you slow-cook them. Because you’re not boiling vegetables and draining off the cooking liquid, the nutrients are locked into the broth. It’s a really great way to prepare very healthy meals.
Slow-cooking is also a great money saver. You can use tougher (read: cheaper) cuts of meat, because the cooking process makes them a lot more tender. I also find that making a basic soup or stew is a great way to use up any vegetables I have kicking about at the bottom of the crisper drawer that are on their last legs. It helps me to use up every last bit of the vegies I buy, which means that there’s less waste in my kitchen.
I find that my slow-cooker makes a huge quantity of food. This means that there’s enough for Ross and I to have some for dinner, and then freeze a couple of serves or pop them in the fridge for lunch the next day. This saves even more time by allowing me to have healthy meals on hand in the freezer for those days when I don’t feel like cooking (but I haven’t been organized enough to throw on the slow-cooker in the morning!)
If you’re looking to buy a kitchen appliance that will actually make your life easier, I would certainly recommend investing in a slow cooker. I use mine at least once a week, and now I wouldn’t be without it.
Do you have a slow-cooker? Would you consider getting one?