Slow Cooker (Crock pot, Dutch Oven)
Slow cooking foods not only saves a lot of time in the kitchen but also brings out the flavors of some foods that are hard to match by other cooking techniques. It takes about 10 minutes to prepare a complete evening meal for an individual or a family.
Electric crock pots are available online, in big box stores, hardware stores, and grocery stores. For used items, search eBay or Craigslist.
Dutch ovens don’t necessarily have to be made of cast iron, although I prefer cast iron when cooking on an open fire. The same effect is made by any covered cooking pot that can go in the oven. I sometimes use a ceramic pot with the cover on.
Inexpensive scales can be found online, in big box stores, grocery stores, and hardware stores. Select one that has scales for grams, ounces, and fluid ounces.
Measuring cups and spoons
Measuring cups and measuring spoons help to control the amount of volume and prevent the hidden calories when you underestimate the food item by “guesstimating” it.
Steamer (stainless steel, bamboo, wire strainer)
A stainless steel basket that sits inside of a 2.5 quart or larger covered pot is a must-have kitchen tool. Bamboo baskets stack on top of an open pot with water in it. The neat feature of bamboo steamers is that you can stack individual layers keeping foods separate from each other.
A wire strainer that fits inside a 4 quart or larger, can be used in a pinch. The ones with handles prevent a tight fit with the pot cover so it takes a bit longer for the food item(s) to cook.
It’s hard for any other cooking method to match the speed of the pressure cooker. Nutrients are retained as well as flavors once the cooking technique is mastered.
Use spray bottles to spritz cooking oils instead of measuring cups or measuring spoons that use too much oil to saute foods. Think of the calories saved over a week, month, or year.
Small spray bottles are great for oils and larger bottles for holding water used in preparing foods for low oil “frying”.
Cast iron can take heat that will blister and tarnish other pans. Sure, they’re heavy and yes, they take special cleaning care (it’s not that hard!).