Mealthy MultiPot or Electric Pressure Cooker
For those of you wondering whether to invest in a multicooker, the answer is a resounding, “YAAASSSS!” Whether you’re into healthy eating or not, this magical, set-it-and-walk-away contraption will change your life. The main function to focus on is the pressure cooker mode. Healthy legumes like dry beans and lentils become fathomable on weeknights. Mineral-rich bone broth goes from costly indulgence to everyday convenience. Veggies like sweet potatoes and butternut squash cook up in half the time it would take in the oven. Once the cooker comes up to pressure, the boiling point inside actually rises to above normal temps, leading to a shorter cook time. The fact that it doubles (triples! quadruples!) as a slow cooker, rice cooker, and yogurt maker makes buying one a no-brainer.
Mealthy SpiraSlicer or Other Veggie Spiralizer
This literal fresh spin on veggies, which turns them into long strands, makes a great low-carb replacement for some or all of the pasta and noodles in your go-to weeknight routine. Just secure veggies between the blade and the crank and start churning away. Zucchini is a classic choice and is delicious raw or cooked, but don’t forget to experiment with cukes for a twirlable salad or try boiling or stir frying sturdier veggies like carrots, beets, butternut squash, or even eggplant.
For those who don’t think they have space in their tiny kitchen for any more tools, meet the immersion blender aka hand blender. This sleek little number is easier to store than a traditional blender and is clutch for making blended soups straight in the pot–no messy ladling or blending in batches necessary. Purée vinaigrette ingredients straight in a large mason jar and keep it in the fridge for up to a week for dressing that blows the store-bought kind outta the water.
This new darling of the kitchen countertop appliance world circulates hot air around lightly oiled foods, similar to a convection oven, to heat and dry their exterior, mimicking the crunch of the deep-fried stuff. While you might be able to tell the difference between air fried foods and oil-fried foods in a blind taste test, the difference is more than made up for in the savings in calories, cleanup time, and money spent on vats of pricey fry oil. Bonus: no lingering, truckstop-diner smell in your kitchen. Our air fryer faves? Zucchini fries, potato wedges, and chicken wings.
To use this device, set it in any pot of water and add your sealed bag of food. The sous vide heats water to a specific temperature and circulates it around the food to cook it, meaning whatever’s in the bag will reach that level of doneness and not a degree more. You can even control some models from your smartphone for the ultimate in modern-age convenience. You’ve never had steak cooked more perfectly with an evenly pink interior from end to end and none of that dreaded gray ring. But steak isn’t its only party trick: use your sous vide machine for moist chicken breasts, salmon, and eggs with perfectly set whites and restaurant-quality, fudgey yolks.
Multitool Veggie Chopper
For those scared of wielding a sharp chef’s knife (which is actually safer to use than a dull one, FYI), this handy little tool makes incorporating more fruits and veggies into your diet a breeze. Pre-cut veggies at the market come at a premium and options can be limiting. Keep a chopper in your kitchen drawer and onions become neat little cubes without tears, potatoes are sliced chip-thin in minutes, and fruit salad comes together with a few quick moves.
Sure you know that blenders make great vitamin-packed smoothies, but if that’s all you’ve been using them for, you’re missing out. Whip out the blender to make yogurt and fruit-based ice pops (sort of like ice cream for breakfast). Blend bananas into whole grain pancake batter for easy Sunday mornings. Use the pulse button for pestos and salsas, but be sure to tap lightly to maintain a slightly chunky texture.
Steamer Basket Attachment for MultiPot or Electric Pressure Cooker
Often overlooked, a steamer basket that adjusts to fit any size pot will become your best friend on busy weeknights. Instead of ordering dinner on your phone, quickly steam some shrimp and snow peas and toss them in a sesame vinaigrette. Serve with a side of steamed store-bought dumplings from your freezer. You (and your tummy) will thank me later.
An underrated workhorse in the kitchen, salad spinners are the only way to get leafy greens clean and perfectly dry. Dry greens mean well-dressed greens and well-dressed greens mean delicious salads that are hard to resist. Keep a small spinner on hand for gritty herbs and a larger one for voluminous greens you plan to sauté.
Large-Rimmed Sheet Pans
Sheet pan dinners are all the rage and for good reason. Your entire meal comes together on one pan for fast cleanup and convenient, hands-off cooking. What more could you ask for on a hectic weeknight? The high heat of roasting brings out the natural sugars in vegetables in a way that makes them craveworthy. Hot air is better able to surround foods like chicken and fish for a faster cooking time than in a baking dish or high-sided roasting pan. Bonus tip: turn a sheet pan upside down and preheat it for a makeshift pizza stone.