10 Gadgets For Quick Meal Prep

Tuesday, October 24, 2006 - 1:48pm

By Michèle Turcotte, MS, RD/LDN

Most of us have traditional kitchen appliances like microwaves and blenders, but sometimes it's fun to try some unusual kitchen gadgets. No doubt about it, these days new kitchen tools are enticing. A corkscrew isn’t just a corkscrew any more; it’s beautiful piece of design. And with those beautifully colored cookware and bake ware sets, from the enamel to the silicone, there is much to please the eye. But before you unleash your inner favorite TV chef, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I actually need this; will I really use it?
  • Is this gadget a triumph of form over function?
  • Will this help me be more efficient in the kitchen?
  • Can I use it in the microwave?
  • Is it dishwasher safe?
  • Will it last, and what kind of guarantee comes with it?
  • Is there space in my kitchen?

10 kitchen gadgets

Gadget 1 - Presto Salad Shooter®

This efficient kitchen helper takes the work and mess out of slicing and shredding vegetables, fruits, cheese and more. Shoot one ingredient after another right where you want; interchangeable slicing and shredding cones slip right in. The base easily wipes clean and all other parts are dishwasher safe. Its compact size makes it easy to store most anywhere.

Gadet 2 - Potato ricer

A potato ricer makes light and airy mashed potatoes for your family dinners. It makes potatoes fluffier than a masher does because mashers release more starch. In addition to mashed potatoes, it enables you to strain tomatoes and make hash browns.

Gadet 3 - Hand-held food mill

Grate, slice and mash small amounts by hand without hauling out the food processor; Whether you need to grate a nugget of parmessan or puree vegetables for a cream soup, this hand-held food mill keeps small jobs small - and can run through the dishwasher afterwards.

Gadget 4 - Garlic press

If too much garlicky goodness gets on your fingers when you chop cloves, try a no-nonsense garlic press. Just drop the peeled garlic inside; it does all the rest.

Gadet 5 - Citrus press

Plunk a lime or lemon half in one of these presses and out comes every bit of juice-the seeds, pulp and peel (the mess) stays behind. Great for summer drinks and dressings and marinades. Choose plastic citrus presses to prevent rust or a reaction to the citrus acid.

Gadget 6 - Digital kitchen scale

Accurately weighs up to 11 pounds (5 kg) and displays in 0.1 ounces (2 gram) increments. Add multiple ingredients incrementally without having to weight each separately. Automatic on/off, includes alarm timer and temperature sensor.

Gadget 7 - Salad spinner

Save yourself a fortune in kitchen paper and invest in a good quality salad spinner. Push the center knob down and your greens will spin themselves dry. Use the brake button at any time to stop the spinning process. Use the spinner as a container for your spun greens too.

Gadget 8 - Strainer

Pasta anyone? That’s a basic staple but strainers are great for holding berries, cherry tomatoes, grapes and beans (rinsing well before eating/cooking). Also great for draining the fat out of ground beef.

Gadget 9 - Steamer

The ultimate veggie cooker-once you steam, you’ll never go back. S teaming is an ultra-low fat cooking technique and can be used for delicately cooking vegetables, fish and/or preparing rice. One good choice is the Cuisinart 2-Tier Turbo Convection Steamer/Rice Cooker®.

Gadget 10 - Microplane® zester/grater with handle

Stainless steel, razor-sharp Microplane® graters shave your fresh ingredients instead of ripping and shredding them. This results in finely shaved ingredients that maximize flavor. This tool is two-in-one; making perfect, fluffy citrus zest, without the gouging the deeper, white bitter layer. The blades shred delicate strands of cheese, lemon zest, etc.