Let me just say before we dive into this: I DO NOT LIKE TO COOK.
Bake- yes. COOK- NO!
That being said, I love to buy kitchen gadgets and items that make my life easier for the times I DO cook. I love one pot meals or freezer dump meals that you can throw into your sauce pan, crockpot or Instant Pot. Yesterday we had pork roast going in the crockpot and the house smelled so good for hours leading up to dinner.
When me and the Hubs moved it together 16ish years ago I knew how to make a darn good grilled cheese sandwich. I could also microwave like nobody’s business. In the years since, my cooking has improved greatly but it’s still not something I really enjoy doing. It’s more like, we need to eat dinner so I cook something. I’ve gotten spoiled since March that the Hubs cooks dinner 95% of the time these days. I don’t know if you are like me but the later it gets in the day, the more my fatigue sets in and the more I start questioning if we even really need to eat anything at all. Cereal counts as Breakfast for Dinner, right?
No one is paying me for these suggestions, I just find they really make cooking (I literally typed cookies first..) easier or kick meals up a notch.
My first suggestion would be to invest in an Air Fryer! I hosted a Pampered Chef party during the summer just so I could buy their Air Fryer at a discount. We literally use this every day in our house. It amps up the flavor on freezer foods. Take for example, chicken nuggets! It makes them crunchy or reheating pizza to crispiness, instead of reheating it in the microwave to semi-soggy glory. The Hubs uses it for chicken wings. The instructions say you can roast a chicken in there or even bake cupcakes. It has so many uses we haven’t even tried yet like dehydrating meat for jerky! One of my favorite things about an Air Fryer is that it doesn’t heat up my tiny kitchen in the summertime, like turning on the big oven would.
Next, is kind of an oldy but a goody,– a toaster oven! This also doesn’t heat up small places. It melts cheese on tuna melts to golden, bubbly goodness! Toasting up buns for pulled pork or burgers, yes please! I use my Instant Pot for many things but my number 1 favorite use is to cook large batches of chicken all at once to be the base of freezer meals. I do this so I can pull a ready to go frozen meal from out of the freezer in the morning and have something quick and ready at dinner time. We have a large freezer that we keep extra frozen items or if there is a good deal on something, we stock up, and leave it in the big freezer.
There are a lot of gadgets that can spice up cooking. A panini press jazzes up sandwiches. The Hubs loves our mandolin to slice veggies. We just got a pineapple corer last week. I don’t have the hand strength to use it but he does and OMG, it’s so easy to enjoy pineapple now! I LOVE my Kitchen Aid mixer. During the holidays, I got brave and baked a from scratch pie crust and a NY style cheesecake. We also use our mixer to make homemade bread or pizza dough for our outdoor Ooni pizza oven. We eat fresh individual fire grilled pizza at least once a week now.
I know I just rattled off a bunch of items for you to look into but you know what else I find really helpful in the kitchen? It’s my NUMBER 1 tip!!
I used to be really self conscious of this need but with a leg that likes to tap out, I am only hurting myself, when I make my own life harder! I sit on my walker at the sink to wash dishes or I sit while I act as Sous Chef and help prep items for the Hubs. We have a squishy memory foam foot pad to help keep my feet comfy, when I do stand. We keep items I need to reach in our bottom cabinets/shelves so I don’t have to exert much energy to get to them.
#MSProTip: Bean and cheese burritos are fantastic any time of day! Add a bit of oil to a pan, warm it up and throw in a can of pinto beans (drain about 1/2 – 3/4 of the juice depending how runny you want them. I like 3/4 for drier refried beans and the Hubs likes 1/2 the juice for more liquidy refried beans.) Add a few shakes of garlic salt. Smash them up. If you want to be really fancy, sprinkle dry parsley flakes on top. It ups the Wow factor!
Do you have a killer quick dinner recipe? Any gadgets you can’t live without (because I obviously have an addiction to kitchen tools.) Any tips or tricks you’ve learned to make life easier in the kitchen?