You nearly slice your finger off, thanks to a dull knife. You have to open the blender every few seconds to manually mix in the food still stuck on the top. You fall back on picking up pizza because you don't have time to slow-cook a healthy meal after work. As a reader of this blog, you're probably interested in cooking and have maybe experienced one of these problems a time or two. At the same time, you may be familiar with appliances that sounded incredible but now collect dust (bread maker, rice cooker, juicer, cookie press, anyone?). In this post, I’ll share my top three favorite kitchen appliances for making healthy PFC balanced eating easier—so easy in fact, you can say goodbye to wasting time in the kitchen you could be spending on more important things (like time in the PFC Club :)). Drive-through meals and take-out may have been appealing in the past as a way to escape the hassle of dealing with useless, dull appliances. But, I’m going to teach you a few ways to make food prep quick and simple so your go-to quick meals are actually nutritious and hearty and oh-so delicious!
1. Food ProcessorFirst on the list is a relatively new addition to my kitchen, and I can’t believe how much I love it. It’s super easy to use and cuts meal prep time by at least half when cutting, dicing, or slicing veggies is involved. My Favorite Uses:
- Slicing freshly cooked chicken so I don’t have to worry about burning my hands during meal prep
- Chopping onions and garlic for guacamole or the hundreds of other recipes that call for these as a base (bonus: my fingers don’t get nearly as stinky anymore!)
- Pureeing meats for baby food— just add a little water or broth!
- Slicing veggie after veggie without getting pruny, calloused, or cut fingers from hours of using a knife
- Freezer bags to store my surplus cut meat and veggies for later
- Baby food freezer trays with lids to make food in bulk for future use
2. Crock Pot/Slow CookerThe crock pot is my go-to appliance on a weekly basis. Preparing a PFC balanced dinner can be difficult when you’ve got a baby demanding your attention while you try to man the stove. I often make crock-pot ready meals for the freezer so all I need to do is let it thaw overnight and warm it up! My Favorite Uses:
- When I don’t know what to do with extra CSA veggies, I slice them in my food processor then add some meat, olive oil, and broth to the crock-pot for a delicious PFC-balanced stew or soup ready to eat that very evening.
- In about 2-3 hours time I’m able to prepare six or more freezer meals that are PFC balanced and ready to be used on days when I know there’s no chance of cooking that evening (these meals have replaced our frozen pizza nights!).
- Pulled pork, roast beef, and shreddable chicken are all easily made in a slow-cooker and come out so tender and juicy that this is my preferred way of prep.
- There are a lot of PFC balanced slow-cooker recipes out there, so have fun exploring!
- Food processor for easy stew and soup prep
- Freezer bags for pre-made meals that are ready to be cooked in the crock-pot
- Meat thermometer—you won’t always be able to tell if you’ve cooked your meat long enough, especially if you are trying out a different setting or a new recipe
3. BlenderThis one might already be a kitchen staple for you, but if by chance you haven’t invested in a quality blender, then it might be time you get one. It's extra helpful if it's powerful enough to chop ice! My Favorite Uses:
- Balanced smoothies, especially when I just don’t really feel like eating or preparing much
- Blended homemade coffee treats (Cassie's favorite is full fat yogurt + protein powder + espresso flavored Dynamic Greens!)
- Reusable food pouches to freeze smoothies in for your kiddos at snack time
- While not a complementary gadget, some might wonder if a Magic Bullet can replace a blender or vice versa and my simple answer is no—they aren’t interchangeable. I use my nice blender for smoothies because it’s more powerful and I can make more than one serving (one for each family member!) at a time. I love my Magic Bullet for other reasons (such as chopping onions and garlic when I don’t want to take out the whole food processor or make just a small serving of something pureed for baby food).