As our schedules seem to get busier and busier by the day, we could all use a little help saving time in the kitchen. These countertop appliances offer big convenience without taking up much space. Find out how these five appliances can come to the rescue in a pinch and even save some money on the energy bill!
Today’s pressure cookers are nothing like the one great-grandma once owned with the jiggling lid that seemed like it was ready to rocket off through the ceiling. Rather, modern pressure cookers are a convenient, time-saving tool for home cooks and now have programmable features. Of course, as with all cooking methods, it’s still important to keep safety in mind. Pressure cookers cook with steam and can reach a temperature of 250 degrees Fahrenheit, higher than that of boiling water. Generally, food prepared in a pressure cooker is ready in a third of the time it takes on the stovetop or oven. And a recipe that takes eight to 10 hours in a slow cooker will only take about an hour in a pressure cooker!
This tried-and-true kitchen appliance has been rescuing family dinner nights for decades. The “set it and forget it” cooking style is much welcomed for those who work away from home during the day and have limited time to prepare dinner in the evening. While slow cookers may traditionally be known for cooking an excellent roast or stew, clever home cooks also have prepared breads, dips, casseroles, cobblers and cakes and even ketchup in this countertop appliance.
This countertop machine can handle almost any kitchen task you throw at it — cooking a roast or stew, steaming rice, browning meats and even creating homemade yogurt. Multicookers are pressure cookers, slow cookers and rice cookers all in one, which means more free space in the kitchen cabinets and less hassle at dinner time. Unlike slow cookers, which obviously cook things slow, multi cookers can have dinner on the table in fewer than 30 minutes. There may be a bit of a learning curve with this nifty appliance but there are plenty of tutorials and recipes on the web to guide new users.
The toaster oven often is an underutilized countertop cooking appliance. Sure, it does a great job making toasty bread, but it also serves as a broiler or tiny oven when you don’t want to wait for your standard oven to preheat. For those living in smaller spaces that may not have an oven, a toaster oven is a great way to roast vegetables, make mini pizzas with pre-made crust or open-face sandwiches, and even bake tofu. Cooking in a toaster oven also uses one-third to one-half less energy than a conventional oven.
Electric Griddle-Grill Combo
It’s a grill, it’s a griddle — no, it’s a griddle-grill! This multi-purpose countertop appliance typically comes with two removable, reversible non-stick plates, one side flat for griddling and the other with ridges for grilling. For apartment dwellers who don’t have the option of owning a grill, an electric griddle-grill combo is the next best thing. In the morning, you can make pancakes and eggs on the griddle and use the grill plate to cook kebabs in the evening! They also come to the rescue when you have a craving for a crispy, cheesy panini sandwich. What’s not to love about that?