May 8, 2006

Small Appliance Cooking

As I mentioned in my last post I wanted to talk more about ways to cut costs in the kitchen. The main focus of my blog has been how you can save and still eat a wide variety of foods. But with the summer coming (a.k.a. higher electric bills) I've been thinking a lot more about cutting costs.
The temperature here hit 100 degrees one time already last week and it looks like the heat is here to stay. We don't own a BBQ grill yet (nor do we have a space to set one up at this time) so it's all indoor cooking for us in the summer. I always hate heating up the kitchen in the and try to do any stove top cooking one day a week. The rest of the week I make use of the microwave and all the other small appliances I have to minimize heat in the kitchen. Not only do small appliances keep things cooler but it sure does help out cooling bill as well! Even though it's not officially summer yet, it looks like it time to challenge myself to keep the heat out of the kitchen. Anyone care to join me? :) Here are the small appliances I own and what they can be used for.

Crock Pot - the usual soups and stews, meats, greens, scalloped potatoes, baked potatoes, desserts, bread pudding, breads and rice can all be prepared in the crock pot. There are LOTS more things that can be made in the crock pot, I have some recipes on my other blog and you can do a search online and find many many more.

Steamer - fresh and frozen vegetables, baked potatoes, boneless/skinless chicken, rice, steamed desserts. This steamer is great because you can cook two things at one time so it saves a lot of time. The old one I had only had one steaming tier.

Sandwich Maker - pocket sandwiches, pancakes, biscuits, omelets, brownies.

Waffle Iron - as far as I know this can only be used for waffles and waffle sticks. I'd love some other ideas though.

George Foreman Contact Roaster- anything you can make in a 350 degree oven can be made in this roaster. Meats cook well right on the grilling surface, anything else I use the roasting pan that it came with (equivalent to an 8 x 8 inch square pan but it is oval shaped).

I am hoping to also buy an electric griddle, electric skillet and a George Foreman Grill before the summer is over. :)


Jenn @ Frugal Upstate said...

I used my crockpot a lot last summer.

We live in upstate NY-so our summer isn't anywhere near as hot as yours, but it still gets in the high 80's and 90's (mostly 90's this last summer) and our house has no AC, and noplace to really put a window unit. Consequently I really hated to use the stove and heat the place up.

So I would put everything into the crockpot, and then take it out to the garage and plug it in. That way I wasn't heating up the house.

The Cookbook Junkie said...

I would definitely get a contact grill - that's great for grilling meats and veggies and making quesadillas and grilled sandwiches.

I think the crockpot is the most useful. We use our toaster oven a lot too.

Susan said...

I have very little storage space in my kitchen to own all of these, but I am going to invest in a crockpot soon. Thankfully, I do have a gas barbque grill in my backyard. It's old, but it works great. The only other cooking appliance I own other than a microwave is an indoor grill, but it's not a George Foreman. Still works great though.

Anonymous said...

As far as small appliances go, may I recommend a convection/toaster oven. I got mine at Sam's Club and it bakes, broils, toasts and works as a convection oven. It sits on the counter and takes less room than a microwave. I use this instead of my big oven all year, but especially in the midwest summers.

Michele said...

Jenn, I totally agree, crockpots are wonderful in the summer!

cookbook junkie, that grill is at the top of my list! I need to give my kids a few hints for Mother's Day ... hee hee ;)

Susan, I'm running out of space too! I can't wait until we move because I really want to get an ourdoor grill as well.

Robin, I will have to look into those convection ovens, I have seen them in the stores and they look really nice!

Acme Instant Food said...

Waffle irons are fun for making sandwiches (kids love it too). Melt slices of gruyere cheese and thinly sliced ham between buttered slices of soft bread (remove the crust from hard crusted varieties) for a different version of a grilled sandwich.

Michele said...

What a cool idea, I'll have to give that a try for my kids, thanks!