Food Processor

A food processor is a wonderful appliance to have in your kitchen. It can shred, slice, grate, purée, grind, blend and chop all in a fraction of the time that it takes to do these tasks by hand. Make homemade salsa, pesto and hummus. If you are a baker, you can use it to make bread dough or pie crusts. It will increase your joy of cooking by making these tedious tasks quick and easy.

Cuisinart is the pioneer in the field of food processors and sets the standard, by which all other brands are judged. Kitchenaid is another good brand to use.

Blender

Use a blender to blend, chop, liquefy, purée, emulsify and grind. Blenders make a silkier puréed soup than a food processor, as its blades whirl at a much higher speed. Having a blender opens up so many delicious meal possibilities: smoothies, creamy soups (such as butternut or carrot), sauces, dips and desserts. If you can afford it, get a brand like Vitamix or Blendtec.

Immersion Blender

This product is a hand-held wand with an electric motor at the top and a rotating blade at the bottom. It’s a cross between a blender, a food processor and an electric mixer. Use it to make salad dressings, sauces and smoothies, whipped cream or to chop herbs and garlic. An immersion blender is most convenient for puréeing soups without the need to transfer hot liquid from pot to blender.

Juicer

Juicers are necessary for making the freshest vegetable and fruit juices around. A juicer grates the vegetables into pulp and then extracts the juice using centrifugal force, leaving the fibrous pulp behind. Some of my favorite brands include Omega and Champion.

Pressure Cooker

Pressure cookers can cook food up to three times faster than conventional cooking methods—and save energy while doing it. Just place the ingredients in the pot, lock the lid and begin cooking. Dinner can be ready in no time and it will stay hot for hours. They are excellent for dishes that can take a long time to cook. You can steam rice, simmer stews, roast a chicken or cook dessert in a pressure cooker.

Meat Thermometer

A meat thermometer is used to register the temperature of the middle of a piece of meat to determine whether it is cooked or not and to what degree. When selecting a meat thermometer, look for a large, clear display for easy reading. Be sure to choose a thermometer that measures temperatures above 350°.

Garlic Press

A garlic press is a hand-held device used to easily crush whole garlic cloves. Garlic prepared with a press has a stronger flavor than when it is minced or sliced, as more of the garlic’s surface is exposed. Use pressed garlic anywhere you would normally use minced or finely chopped garlic.