Stocking your first real adult kitchen? Make sure you have these kitchen tools and gadgets to make your life (and diet) even easier
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One of my favorite kitchen tools is an indoor grill. I use the T-Fal Opti-Grill Plus because it's got an automatic cooking sensor that detects the number of items placed on the grill and their thickness, and then it adjusts the temperature and cooking time automatically.
You can choose from six pre-set programs: burgers, poultry, sandwiches, sausages, red meat, and fish or the manual mode for fruits, vegetables, or any personal recipes. The grill even fits on your counter, so it's efficient for meats, paninis, and everything in between. ($150; bedbathandbeyond.com)
Try this recipe: Grilled Strawberry & Goat Cheese Sandwich
Photo: Bed Bath & Beyond
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A pressure cooker used to be an appliance that was only seen in a professional kitchen. Now, it's a household item. Because it cooks food so quickly, this tool will save you some serious time, and the rapid cooking process ensures that food maintains its nutrients.
With a pressure cooker, something that would normally take 3 to 4 hours to cook could now take just 30. (These pressure cooker recipes will save you time and nutrients and they don't hold back on flavor either.)
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A spiralizer might be one of the trendiest pieces of equipment on this list, but it's really a must-have item. Spiralizers come in many shapes and sizes, and they all have one thing in common: They're quick and easy to use. The handheld version allows you to just twist a zucchini against the blades—and out come yummy noodles. Fancier standing versions have a handle and can make noodles out of anything you can think of, including potatoes, squash, and carrots. (These 12 healthy spiralized recipes will inspire some creative ways to use it.)
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A mandoline allows you to make very thin slices from any fruit or vegetable without worrying about your knife skills. With a mandoline, you can make homemade potato chips, zucchini ribbons, shredded Brussels sprouts, or shredded carrots. Just make sure you go slowly at first and use a hand guard. The mandoline's blade is very sharp, but it's a great tool to add to your cooking arsenal once you are adjusted to using it.
Try this recipe: Spaghetti Squash Eggplant Parmesan
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One of my absolute favorite cooking tools is my crock pot. I love it for so many reasons—the main reason being that I can throw everything into one pot, leave it for a few hours, and come back to a homemade meal with barely any clean-up. Plus, the slow and low simmering of the food adds such a great flavor to any dish. The slow cooker is great for soups, stews, meats, and even desserts.
Try this recipe: Vegan Tacos With Walnuts
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An immersion blender—a.k.a. a hand blender—is a quick and easy way to blend anything without having to move it to a blender. For instance, if you are roasting up veggies in a homemade stock and want to turn them into a creamy soup, it would be a huge hassle to take all of those hot ingredients and pour them into a blender. With an immersion blender, you can bring the blender straight to your pot—no lifting, pouring, or extra mess.
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A food processor is an easy way to bring the deliciousness of homemade creamy dips, dressings, and sauces to your own kitchen. Like a mini-blender, a food processor will help you make anything from hummus to healthy brownies. (There are so many unexpected ways to use this tool, and these healthy recipes to make in a food processor prove as much.)
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A zester is probably the easiest tool to use and brings in the most flavor. Using a zester on the peel of your favorite citrus fruit adds that vibrant tart flavor to any dish. Plus, it works really well for grating garlic or hard cheeses like Parmesan, and it takes only takes a few seconds to do.
Try this recipe: Blackberry Ricotta Breakfast Sorghum