Top 5 Winter Cooking Gadgets
As temperatures drop in the Northern Hemisphere, cooking styles start to change, influenced by the colder temperatures and shorter days. Makes for some amazing, hearty meals and body warming soups…bring on the kitchen gadgets and gizmos …. winter cooking is here!
1. Crock pot – I don’t know why it took me so long to add a crock pot to my kitchen armory, but I finally added one a few winters ago, and have never looked back! In fact, my one crock pot became two and ultimately three. My largest crock pot gets center stage on my kitchen counter all winter and is a regular feature on the dinner planner. Perfect for soups, stews and decadent winter dishes….it allows me to prep in the morning and let it simmer away all day. Love coming home to the wonderful smells of home made cooking goodness – warms the house and the soul. The medium crock pot makes awesome rice pudding – nice and thick after a day out in the cold! Then there is the mini – perfect for warm dips and Christmas parties. This little guy doesn’t come out as often at my house, but I am sure I could find more uses if I tried!
2. Immersion blender – this one goes hand in hand with the crock pot when making creamy soups. I couldn’t resist but get the cordless – it moves from counter to stove top/crock pot to sink without the hassle of dealing with cords and plugs. No muss, no fuss. Also great for smoothies and shakes – this little blender gets used year round in my kitchen, and has even been known to travel with me. I bought the Cuisinart Cordless rechargeable hand blender which also came with a handy mini-chopper – love the 2 in 1 versitility for quick food prep on a cold winter night!
3. Cast iron skillet – another versatile kitchen tool, my cast iron pans have become the go-to choice for my stove top. Like the crock pot, I have them in 3 handy sizes. This dependable cookware is a must in todays kitchen. The cast iron skillet conducts heat beautifully, goes from stovetop to oven with no problem and has a number of healthy benefits. Benefits such as the ability to use less oil, avoid leaching chemicals (potential aluminum and teflon risks) and fortifying your food with iron (they say cooking acidic food like tomato sauce in your cast iron skillet can increase iron content by as much as 20 times!).
4. Toaster oven – I have had mine for yours and don’t know what I would do without it! We have all been there – you are heating up leftovers for one and don’t need to heat up the entire oven for your single serve. It takes a fraction of the time to heat things up and personally, I find reheated left overs taste so much better in the toaster oven than the microwave. Throw a little grated cheese onto the leftover veggies and you have a delicious dish ready to satisfy! I don’t think my kitchen would be complete without it.
5. Dutch oven – much like the crock pot, the ability to slow cook amazing stews and soups is a must over the winter cooking season. The versatility to go from the stovetop to the oven with one dish is tough to beat. I also love my trusty dutch oven for cooking perfect, fluffy rice every time. Something about that heavy lid – doesn’t let any of the steam out. I find the rice is perfect every time. I lucked out and got a brilliant KitchenAid on special as they can run a little pricey!
What about you – what tops out your list of Top 5 kitchen gadgets and tools for winter?