Home goods stores hold plenty of temptation for foodies, but there may be little reason to add still more gear to your crowded kitchen cabinets. Your existing kitchen gadgets — and other household tools and appliances — may be able to do double or triple duty.
A friend of Frugal Foodie’s recently gave away her bread machine. Why? It wasn’t gathering dust; he’d just discovered a tastier way to make homemade loaves — in a slow cooker. Try these other kitchen tricks from experts to use your gadgets in new ways:
Weird, but true: coffee aficionados often use popcorn poppers to roast their own beans. Warning: some modification may be required, which may mean you can’t easily pop popcorn anymore.
Home cooks already know the slow cooker to be a workhorse that cooks soups, stews, hot punch, rice pudding and other foods. But did you know the low temps can also make it ideal for baking?
For example, Karen Ciancio of CookingNook.com uses it to make baked Brie. And that bread recipe Frugal Foodie’s friend uses? He got it off Lifehacker.
There’s no need to buy a standalone meat grinder or a mixer attachment to make your own ground meat. As TheKitchn.com points out, a food processor works just fine. They recommend using frozen meat chunks for better consistency. Other uses include making nut meal or nut butter, and milling flour.
ConsumerSearch.com recommends using a blender for household purposes, like making laundry powder out of old soapor mixing cement. The catch, they note, is that doing so may make your appliance unfit for future rounds of smoothies or margaritas.
Use this classic kitchen appliance to cook fish. Yes, really.
Jeremy Shih, CEO of CampusFit, seasons a salmon filet with oil and spices, wraps it in aluminum foil and places it in the top rack of the dishwasher. Then, run a cycle with nothing but the fish inside. “In the end, you’ll have a completely well-done filet that’s totally succulent and flavorful,” he says.
Just make sure it’s wrapped well, to prevent any lingering soap from previous loads from making its way into the filet. (While you’re at it, WonderHowTo suggests using the dishwasher to clean potatoes.)
In lieu of roasting garlic in the oven, WonderHowTo suggests nuking it in the microwave. All it takes is a little olive oil and plastic wrap, and nine minutes at medium power.
Here is yet another reason to ditch the bulky old bread machine: baking it in a stockpot will do just as well. The lid keeps in the steam, resulting in a crispy crust.
Frugal Foodie is a journalist based in New York City who spends her days writing about personal finance and obsessing about what she’ll have for dinner. Chat with her on Twitter through @MintFoodie http://www.twitter.com/mintfoodie.