All that talk two weeks ago about quality vs. cost on a new bread machine got me thinking about the kitchen appliances I have – and love. The ones that, if they broke tomorrow, I’d be out the very next day to replace – or just as soon as I could save up the cash.
I wish I could be a minimalist in the kitchen and whip up a mouth-watering feast with nothing more than a pot, a cutting board and a good knife.
But, alas, I have to admit that there are some kitchen appliances that I would just rather not live without. Fridge and stove aside, here are my personal must-have’s:
1. Immersion Hand Blender
I love these for making blended soups. But after melting my plastic-bottomed one in a pot of hot soup, I’ve switched over to the stainless steel kind. If you don’t already have one, the Cuisinart SmartStick Immersion Hand Blender in Brushed Chrome is still on sale at Amazon, now just $22.73 – a savings of 59%.
2. Cuisinart Food Processor
I’ve done without a food processor for many years, and it’s definitely possible to shred or dice by hand. But, man, is it easier with a food processor! Two years ago, I received a Cuisinart food processor as a Chanukah gift from my parents and it’s definitely one of my favorite presents! They bought mine from Costco, but here’s the same 9-cup Cuisinart model on Amazon. It’s on sale right now 57% off, for just $126. I believe my parents paid $19 more two years ago, so if you’re in the market, that’s a great price.
Not a toaster oven, but an actual push-down-the-bread-and-wait-for-it-to-pop-up toaster. I think I paid $5 for ours at Big Lots. It may not seem like that critical of an appliance, but as my husband reminded me, at our house, toaster = breakfast most mornings. Sigh. We still haven’t gotten ourselves organized enough to have a proper sit-down breakfast most mornings, so the kiddos get handed a toaster waffle on their way out the door.
I never had a KitchenAid in Israel. I wanted one. I really wanted one. But at over $650 (thank you import taxes), they just weren’t in the budget. Needless to say, this baby was #1 on my want-to-buy list when we moved back to the States.
I have not been disappointed! Our 5.5-quart bowl is a real work horse – but it’s pretty, too. Pretty enough that I am happy to leave it out on my counter all the time. We completely ditched the hand-held mixer and have never looked back!
5. Bread Machine
As you guys probably already know, we love our bread machine for making challah. Well, technically for mixing, kneading and letting our challah dough rise. Since challot cost more than $5 each at the grocery store here, our bread machine has definitely paid for itself in 2.5 years of use.
Our model is a dinosaur, but you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a basic one for under $60, like this Sunbeam 2-Pound Programmable Breadmaker for $56.37 on Amazon right now.
6. Coffee Maker
I don’t even drink coffee, and yet, I’m putting this appliance on my list. We had a majorly cheap (less than $5), scratch-and-dent machine for almost three years, but then Gevalia rescued us with their free stainless steel, programmable coffee maker.
Having that coffee brewed and ready to go in the morning is a major pick-me-up for my husband – and, what can I say?, I like the way all that stainless steel looks!
7. Crock Pot(s)
Yes, crockpotS. Plural. We have two – one for meat and one for pareve. We make cholent at least a couple of times a month in the winter; and two weeks ago, I forayed into crock pot chicken soup, which I think is a great hot Shabbat lunch option as well. (Find more non-cholent options for Shabbat in my Crock Pot Recipe Exchange.)
A few months ago, I bought a second crockpot on sale at Target for less than $20, which I use regularly to cook up tomato sauce, beans and chickpeas. I save a lot by making my own and freezing them in 2-cup portions, so I’m pretty sure that this $20 machine has more than paid for itself already.
I know everyone’s list will be different — and I’m sure some of you are probably far more minimalistic than I am. So tell me: What are your favorite kitchen appliances? Which ones can’t you live without? And which ones will never see the light of day in your kitchen?