Kitchen gadgets to make holiday meals a snap

Kitchen gadgets to make holiday meals a snap

With the kids home from school, the relatives trickling in and out of town and a slew of family meals to make, the holiday season means plenty of time in the kitchen. And while Mother Rucker’s Sweets is certainly able to provide you and your guests with festive dessert options, the other courses are up to you.

Fortunately, there are several low-cost kitchen gadgets to help minimize cooking time and maximize time celebrating with family. Our favorites include:

Sharp knives. Remember, sharp knives cut and dull knives tear, so keep yours well maintained for the best results. You don’t need to spend a fortune on name-brand cutlery to get a quality knife. Look for one that fits your cooking needs, whether it’s for paring, chopping, slicing or filleting, and keep the blade sharpened for easy use.

Standing or immersion blender. A reliable standing or immersion blender can be a holiday chef’s best friend when it comes to mixing soups, sauces, dressings, drinks and everything in between. When shopping around, choose a standing or immersion blender with at least two speed settings and a variety of attachments to get the best bang for your buck.

Cast iron pots and pans. A copper-bottom cast iron pot or pan is the best tool to achieve even heat during cooking. While these items range from outrageously expensive to deal of the day at your local supermarket, it’s important to find middle ground—if a bargain seems too good to be true, it probably is. Remember to season or purchase pre-seasoned cookware to preserve its effectiveness over time.

Timer and thermometer. Are you still using your microwave timer to keep track of what’s in your oven, or a toothpick to see if your dish is done? Then it’s time to invest in the Polder Digital Timer and Probe ThermometerThis inexpensive combo device lets you leave the thermometer in the oven while it remains plugged in to the timer base on the counter. You no longer have to pull your dish out of the oven to see if it’s ready or worry about which timer goes with which dish.

Cutting board. If you have a knife, you probably have a cutting board. But do you have a cutting board that will make your knives last longer and food prep easier? Choose one made from wood rather than plastic, and never, ever use glass, as it’s prone to ruin knives. Also, be sure the board fits the dimensions of your countertops and is easy for you to clean and store.

If you don’t already have these kitchen must-haves on hand, now is the perfect time to add them to your holiday wish list!