4 Countertop Appliances Your Kitchen Needs Immediately

Whether you’re looking to revamp and upgrade your kitchen with new appliances or looking to reduce your workload in the kitchen, small countertop appliances will always be handier than you’d imagine but not all appliances.

So which are the right ones?  We’ll make it simpler to choose by cutting down the list to 4 of the most useful countertop appliances you need right now.

A blender

Whether you’re looking to prep a few fresh smoothies for the evening run or want to slice and dice the vegetables as dinner prep, with a blender you can get it all done within seconds. You can puree stuff, prep dips, mix custard etc.

Get a blender with a strong motor i.e. about 500-600 watt and a durable jar. Polycarbonate jars tend to be sturdy and reliable. Also, it should have enough room to fit in the ingredients needed for the smoothie or cook.

Toaster Oven

Yes, we agree a toaster oven is quite bulky as compared to standard toaster but they also offer double the features. With it, you also heat your bagels, waffles or even use it to melt cheese, chocolate etc. High-end oven toasters make cooking pizzas or burger patties easier and can also perform most functions of a microwave.

Even if you’re in for a budget model look for one that offers temperature control, broil setting and a toasting option. Also, get along with them a few extra baking sheets and broiler pans.

Toaster Oven

Small Grill

While you may have an outdoor grill, setting it up or even cleaning it post a cook is tough so for frequent usage a countertop griddle works best and prepares you a hearty and healthy lunch or dinner within minutes.

Electric griddles can cook a variety of foods such as burgers, fish, waffles, even pizzas or grilled sandwiches as long as it comes with a floating hinge. To make cleaning easy ensure the grill has removable plates. Interchangeable grills offer you the ability to use the grill even as a griddle, waffle maker etc.

Food processor

Everything a blender can or cannot do a food processor can. It is capable of chopping, grinding, slicing, and pureeing and with its wide range of attachments it even kneads dough or cake batter. With it even you’ll save loads of time otherwise spent chopping, slicing etc.

The only reason we’d recommend a blender over a food processor is that of the processor’s high cost but for those with no budget problems, here’s a sleek, elegant yet powerful option.

Look for a food processor with a powerful motor, a jar large enough for all ingredients to fit into, a sleek and durable design as it adds to the look of the kitchen and one that can perform tons of other tasks such as a grating, kneading etc.

Food processor

Best bean to cup coffee machine

What is a bean to cup coffee machine? As the name suggest, this machine can provide you coffee without you needing to filter any ground coffee in your machine. These machines provide you with the best coffee as they grind the beans as you use them by not allowing all those aromatic oils to evaporate from the beans, giving your coffee a richer taste and aroma. There are various bean to cup coffee machines available in varying ranges and one should always take extra consideration while choosing the best one.

While there are several companies which boast of an amazing Bean to Cup Coffee machine which provides you with the richest flavors in a matter of minutes, De’Longhi Bean to Cup Coffee Machines have come out at the top beating all its competitors by a large margin.

One of their best bean to cup coffee machine model is De’Longhi Magnifica ESAM4200 Bean to Cup Espresso/Cappuccino Coffee Machine. A good alternative is the Cuisinart DGB-900BC Grind & Brew Coffee Maker.

Features

This #1 best-selling bean to cup coffee machine is the best choice for any beginner who would like to have a Barista worthy coffee sitting at their home. Its one touch espresso/Americano functions makes it very simple and easy to use while you can use the frother to make a delicious latte, cappuccino, etc. It produces a 15-bar restaurant and coffee shop worthy coffee at your own home and in one of the most straightforward way. The only coffee machine that matches this is the Breville BES870BSXL.

It can use both fresh coffee beans and ground coffee giving you a richly flavored coffee at any point of time. Another great feature of this model is that is includes all the functions of a professional coffee machine like grinder, filter holders, steam pipes, etc. Basically it is a all-in-one coffee machine which does all the work inside and gives you any type of coffee that you want with considerable ease.

Apart from all this, it is super easy to clean as whenever you turn the machine on or off, it will automatically rinse the insides and since the brewing unit can be removed, it is easy to maintain it too making it a very good investment at such a price.

Pros

  • Easy to Use
  • One touch function
  • 15-bar pump pressure
  • Can use both fresh coffee beans and ground coffee
  • Built-in grinder
  • Stainless steel milk frothing arm
  • Easy to clean
  • Adjustable height dispenser
  • Brewing unit and drip tray are removable
  • Comes with a 2-year warranty
  • Great style

Cons

  • Makes a lot of sound

Verdict

This is certainly one of the best Bean to Cup Coffee Machine with its simplicity to use and one button feature while giving you get a delicious, strong coffee making coffee maker at such an affordable price. This great machine is good for making all types of drinks and provides you the perfect equilibrium between quality and convenience. Although it tends to make a racket while grinding and frothing but that seems like a small compromise to make when you are provided with a café quality coffee.

So don’t think too much, if you are looking for the Best Bean to Cup Coffee Machine, this is the best you would get at such an affordable price. So go and get it now and enjoy the richest and frothies, café quality coffee every day at your own home.

Laura’s Mushroom Soup

PREP 20 min | TOTAL 60 min

I’ll never forget the day I met this soup.  It was love at first bite . We were over at my wife’s friend’s house for dinner with the kids.  She served this home made creamy mushroom soup that was peppery with a slight taste of lemon.  Tears of happiness welled in my eyes… okay, sorry a little much, but I can honestly say I have, to this day, never tasted such a fantastic soup.  My rating 10/10!

Ingredients

  • 500 g fresh mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp green onion diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 cups chicken stock (vegetarian)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley

Instructions

  • SLICE mushrooms finely, then combine with lemon juice.
  • MELT butter in large soup pot, add green onions and sauté.
  • ADD mushrooms, bay leaf, time and cook.
  • STIR frequently until liquid completely evaporates,
  • BLEND in cream, chicken stock & pepper and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer.
  • DISSOLVE cornstarch in H2O and add to soup, simmer for 20 minutes.
  • LADLE into bowls and sprinkle with parsley.
  • MAKES 42 oz. | PER 6 oz.  283 calories, 6 g protein, 8 g carb, 27 g fat, 139 mg sodium, 94 mg cholesterol.

Enjoy!!!

Eileen’s Spinach Soup

PREP 20 min | TOTAL 60 min

This soup is so green, it reminds me of the time we made our own baby food.  At night, when our daughter was sleeping, my wife and I would cook some veg and purée them in a blender.  This worked great for peas, carrots, blueberries, bananas… well, you get the picture.  This spinach soup is very flavourful and what makes it so hearty is potato.  Serve with croutons and a slice or two of olive bread.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp veg oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, coarsely chopped
  • dash salt
  • 3 cups potatoes, peeled & chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups veg stock
  • 10 oz fresh spinach, rinsed
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup half & half cream (10%)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  • WARM oil & butter in a soup pot.
  • ADD onion, celery with dash of salt, cover and cook on low heat for ~10 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are soft & clear.
  • ADD potatoes & veg stock, cover and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes until potatoes are soft.
  • STIR in spinach, cover and set pot aside off the heat for 2 minutes until spinach is wilted, but still bright green.
  • PURÉE soup in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth, gradually adding the milk & cream.
  • STIR in nutmeg and salt & pepper, gently heat then serve.
  • MAKES 8 cups | PER cup  137 calories, 4 g protein, 16 g carb, 7 g fat, 100 mg sodium, 10 mg cholesterol.

Enjoy!!!

Singapore Noodles

PREP 45 min | TOTAL 60 min

I can’t for the love of god remember where this recipe came from.  I seem to vaguely recall a magazine clipping, carefully folded up in an old plastic recipe box.  Taken out each time we wanted to make it and carefully unfolded like it was some sacred parchment.  At some point, I copied it onto a recipe card.  Over the years the recipe was modified as I tasted the dish in various Chinese restaurants and adjusted it to suit my palette until it came into the form you see below.  It’s great for us because it’s gluten-free.

Ingredients

  • 250 g rice vermicelli
  • 225 g frozen peeled shrimp
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 2 carrots cut in matchsticks
  • 1/2 red pepper cut in matchsticks
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger root grated
  • 2 tbsp medium yellow curry
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp ea. soy sauce, water, veg oil
  • 1 cup been sprouts
  • 3 green onions sliced thin

Instructions

  • SOAK rice vermicelli in warm water until soft, then drain (20 min).
  • MIX eggs and 1 tbsp milk in a small bowl.  Fry in pan to make small pancake omelette. Chop up and set aside.
  • STIR-FRY shrimp & veg (carrot, red pepper, garlic, ginger root) with curry & salt (3 min).
  • MIX lime juice, soy sauce, water, oil in a bowl.
  • ADD to stir-fry noodles, lime mixture, chopped egg, bean sprouts and heat through.
  • REMOVE from heat and add sliced green onions.  Serve.
  • MAKES 4 cups | PER 1 cup  436 calories, 19 g protein, 68 g carbs, 11 g fat, 985 mg sodium, 203 mg cholesterol.

Enjoy!!!

Salmon & Red Quinoa on Asparagus with Lime Cilantro Sauce

PREP 15 min | TOTAL 45 min

With my wife’s gluten intolerance and her being vegetarian (except for fish—long story), this has become our family favourite.  We love barbequed salmon, and this recipe from our go-to cook book on quinoa, called Quinoa 365 : the everyday superfood by Patricia Green & Carolyn Hemming, is so satisfying no one minds eating it twice in one week.  The lime cilantro sauce is over the top—you’ll really love it.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup red quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 3 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp grated lime zest
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
  • a pinch of salt
  • Four 4 oz fresh wild salmon fillets
  • 1 lb asparagus (about 28 spears)
  • 1 tbsp butter

Instructions

  • PLACE quinoa & water in pot, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover & cook 10 minutes.  Turn off heat and let sit for another 6 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  • COMBINE sour cream (or fat free greek yogurt), mayo, lime zest, 1 tbsp lime juice, ginger, cilantro & salt in a bowl.
  • FOIL salmon seasoned with seasoned salt, lemon pepper, and 1/2 tsp. butter.
  • BBQ salmon foil pouches on 400 F for 5 minutes on one side then flip for another 3 minutes.
  • BOIL asparagus spears in pan for 3-5 minutes (tender but crisp). Drain water & toss with remaining butter & 1 tbsp lime juice.
  • SERVES 4 | PER SERVING  415 calories,35 g protein, 22 g carb, 21 g fat, 228 mg sodium, 103 mg cholesterol.

Enjoy!!!

 

Veal Parmigiana

PREP 10 min | TOTAL 55 min

This baked dish is perfect for dinner on a cool Autumn or Winter night.  Make sure the veal is cut thin.  If you have to buy the veal already packaged (versus asking your butcher to cut it for you) then it’s okay to beat it with a mallet (no one will cry) until it’s the thickness you want.

Pasta primavera. Fresh bow-tie pasta with asparagus, beans, peas, snow-peas, tomatoes, carrots and peppers.

Ingredients

  • 1 egg whisked
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 700 g veal thin
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 28 oz tomato sauce
  • sprinkle dry oregano, basil leaves
  • 4 slices mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  • COMBINE egg, water, salt & pepper in a small bowl.
  • MIX bread crumbs & Parmesan cheese on a plate.
  • CUT veal into serving pieces.  Dip each piece in egg mixture then bread crumb mixture.
  • FRY coated veal in oil, with pan on medium heat, brown both sides and then place in large shallow baking dish.
  • POUR tomato sauce spice mixture over top.
  • PLACE cheese slice onto each piece.  Bake covered in 350F oven for 40 minutes.  Remove cover and bake another 5 minutes.
  • SERVE on your favorite pasta.

Enjoy!!!