As busy moms, slaving away for hours in the kitchen doesn’t tend to be at the top of our to-do list. Housekeeping, taking our kids to and from school, helping with homework and maintaining a social life of sorts can be pretty time-consuming as it is! But with good health being a priority for most of us now, sometimes we end up spending more time than we would like at home making food for the family. This is important because children’s eating habits tend to be formed early in childhood. Of course, every child goes through the fussy eating stage, and this is something they usually grow out of. But being able to influence your child’s palate when they are young is the sure fire way to ensure that they grow up with a love of all different types of food. However, this is difficult to do when we are low on time. You may even find yourself making the same meals week in week out, simply because you know which recipes are the quickest to complete. But why struggle when there are so many great products on the market that can make your cooking so much more efficient? Take a look at our pick of the best that will give you great results AND save you time.
The slow cooker
A family kitchen isn’t truly a kitchen without a slow cooker. A slow cooker, or a crock pot as they were once known, is now a staple item in most family homes. They are produced by hundreds of different brands and retail at all ends of the price spectrum. However, they are reasonably cheap when you consider all the use you will get out of them. The true beauty of a slow cooker is that you can simply chop up all your ingredients, pop them in, and then leave your meal to cook whilst you’re at work. When you come home, you’ll have a fresh, piping hot meal ready to serve to all the family. Stews, sauces and even desserts can all be cooked in a slow cooker, so there’s plenty of variety to be had when you buy one.
A good knife set
You might walk into other people’s homes and think that their knife blocks are there for decorative purposes only. But in reality, a good set of sharp knives is a vital component in any kitchen. You may be nervous about using a professional sharp set, but they are actually much safer than using a blunt knife, providing you are careful. Sharp chef’s knives provide you with a clean cut, whereas hacking away with a blunt knife means you are more likely to slip and hurt yourself. If you have young children who want to help you cook, get them a children’s knife set so they can be safe whilst they learn.
Blenders are an incredibly useful piece of kitchen equipment and will save you an incredible amount of time. You can use them to blitz down sauce ingredients if you don’t have time to chop them up really small, and are great for making smoothies too. One whole banana, a handful of frozen berries and a cup of water makes for a great breakfast smoothie that even the kids will love. But blenders aren’t only for sauces and smoothies. You can also use them to make soup, hummus, dessert mousse and salsa, so get creative! This is the beauty of a good blender; you solve a multitude of problems in one single product.
A good set of pans
Pots and pans are what we tend to use most in the kitchen, as most meals require at least one ingredient being cooked on the stove top. The most common material for cooking pans remains Teflon, as it is cheap too. But, it can often be toxic if the coating rubs off after use, and it won’t conduct heat as well as other pans. Choose a cast iron skillet or non-stick pan to be your trusty kitchen sidekick. You will find that it is incredibly durable and you won’t need to replace it anywhere near as much as you have replaced previous pans.
Vegetable peelers and crushers
We’ve all struggled in the past trying to peel the skin off a vegetable with nothing but a blunt knife. Or maybe you have bitten down on a large chunk of garlic in your pasta sauce that you forgot to slice up small enough. These are all problems a lot of people face in their kitchens every day, but they are definitely amongst the easiest issues to fix. Simply investing in a good potato peeler can save you so much time when prepared food. You can even buy automated ones that do the job for you and catch the leftover skin ready for you to dispose of. If you use a lot of fresh herbs and spices such as ginger and garlic, a good crusher is essential for your utensil drawer.
Multiple chopping boards
Having only one chopping board means you will end up doing a LOT of washing up. It is imperative that you wash your chopping board regularly, especially if you have cut raw meat or fish on it. This is to avoid the dangers of cross-contamination, which could potentially make you or your family ill. Buying multiple boards in different colors for different food types will mean you save time and water too.
It may seem obvious – but, you would be surprised at how many people don’t own microwave ovens in their own homes. Of course, there are limited uses to a microwave oven, and it is not advised that you cook all your meals in them. But, if you are strapped for time, they can be your best friend. Microwave cooking doesn’t just mean pre-packaged convenience food. You can actually make nutritious, healthy meals in there too if you just use your imagination. You can make mac n cheese, risotto and even salmon in the microwave, so it’s definitely worth adding one to your family kitchen.