Your family’s gotta eat. Here are my favorite 10 must have kitchen gadgets and tools to make cooking with Rheumatoid Arthritis easier.
“Mom, I’m hungry!” I can’t count how many times I hear that a day as the mom of three growing boys that play soccer. I also can’t count how many hours I spend in the kitchen cooking or making sure these boys have reasonably healthy food to fuel their boundless energy. With hands that have been damaged by Rheumatoid Arthritis, I rely on my kitchen gadgets to help make cooking easier. So today I thought I would share with you my Top 10 Must Have Kitchen Gadgets that have a permanent spot in my kitchen, I can’t cook without them!
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Big Must Have Kitchen Gadgets
1. Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker
At the top of my list for a reason. I am a slow cooker FANATIC and use my Hamilton Beach Programmable Slow Cooker* at twice a week in the fall/winter. It runs hot so for recipes that call for chicken breast, I normally put it in frozen and the chicken comes out fall apart tender, no more dry chicken! I love it so much that now I have 2 and it’s great when feeding a crowd at parties.
Most other meats, I cook it at the lower range of the time and it cooks perfectly . I love that when it’s done, it keeps food warm until ready to serve. Comes in handy when we’ve got a busy day running around or to have dinner ready when you come home from work. I’ve had a couple different slow cookers but this is my favorite. Check out my Slow Cooker Chipotle Barbacoa Beef recipe if you need a tasty recipe your family will love, it’s probably what I have cooked the most since I got this slow cooker.
2. Black & Decker toaster oven
We use our Black & Decker toaster oven* DAILY. Whether it’s toasting leftover pancakes, waffles or toast for a quick breakfast or baking English Muffin Pizzas, frozen foods, reheating french fries, or keeping food warm, this little contraption takes care of it all. I find new ways to use it everyday. We even bake leftover steak in it so it doesn’t dry out in the microwave. I love that this one has push button settings instead of dials I have to turn (which are painful for my hands to do) and it’s simple enough for my 10 year old and teen to use.
3. Black & Decker Programmable 12-cup coffemaker
I’m a coffee addict and we need a reliable coffeemaker, the Black & Decker programmable coffeemaker* is what we have. It’s not fancy but we can set the timer to start brewing so coffee is ready when we wake up and I love it tells us when it needs to be cleaned (cause honestly otherwise I’d forget). I do love that you can remove the water reservoir so filling it in the sink or filtered water from the fridge is so much easier. No more spilling water trying to fill it cause let’s face it, I haven’t had my coffee yet so my aim and focus is not so good.
4. Cuisinart Panini Press and Grill
I use my Cuisinart Panini Press and Grill* probably once a week as well. My boys love paninis and soup and they are quick to make on cold or busy nights. It’s so much easier to customize what your family wants to put in theirs. My husband loves Cuban paninis (ham, provolone, mustard and pickles) or turkey bacon avocado paninis (a great way to use leftover bacon and spread it with some chipotle mayo).
I make hamburgers and grilled chicken on the grill which is great in the winter and even in the summer when I don’t want to fire up the outdoor grill. This one is compact, easier to clean and faster to get food in the hungry boys’ bellies.
Mine also comes with waffle plates. Whether I’m using our favorite waffle recipe from scratch or the waffle recipe on the Bisquick box, the waffles come out fantastic (I set the griddle to 400 degrees F and cook for about 3-5 minutes, the little green light comes on to tell you when it’s done).
5. Kitchenaid stand mixer
We have a white Kitchenaid stand mixer*, the most basic we could find and a deal during Black Friday a couple years ago. My hands couldn’t handle squeezing the button to get the beaters in and out of our hand mixer and though the stand mixer is much more expensive, it is easier for me to use.
Of course, it takes up valuable counter space but I do use it a lot, especially for mixing french toast batter, pancakes, pizza dough and raw meatball meat. I love that it mixes meat and spices together so I don’t have to get my hands all grimy trying to hand mix meatballs. It also is a wonder at shredding cooked rotisserie or baked chicken off the bone.
6. Cuisinart Hand immersion blender
I like that I can put this Cuisinart Hand Immersion blender* right in my slow cooker or pot and smooth out soups and sauces. Less messy than my uncoordinated self trying to lift a heavy, hot pot to pour the contents into my blender. That is a disaster just waiting to happen. This hand blender is quite powerful even on the low setting.
Small Must Have Kitchen Gadgets
7. A Cherry Pitter
It’s been said that cherries are a TERRIFIC inflammation fighter and fresh cherries are out of this world. They remind me of our trip to Spain many years ago where we had the best cherries I’d ever tasted.
We went to a Williams-Sonoma cooking class for kids and they taught them to make smoothies. The kids pitted the cherries and prepped the other fruit for the smoothies. I loved that this cherry pitter* was easy enough for them to use. We use it every summer and we love being able to eat fresh cherries and pop the whole thing in my mouth…less mess! We even take the cherry pitter and a couple paper bowls to the pool so we can have fresh cherries for a snack poolside in the summer.
8. A Nonstick Bundt Pan
While I do love making chocolate chocolate chip bundt cake, lately I have been using my bundt pan to make perfectly easy Rotiserrie-Style Chicken. Since we have a small Thanksgiving gathering, I make a small whole chicken for our family instead of worrying about a giant turkey. It’s easy, juicy and tender and I’m glad to have found a new use for my nonstick bundt pan* I didn’t use much before.
9. A pizza cutter, or 2 or 3.
It’s much faster and easier for me to roll the pizza cutter than use a knife and fork. I use the pizza cutter* wherever I can to cut small herbs, sandwiches, pancakes, french toast, waffles and well…pizza. Another tool I’m glad to have found a new use for, it’s not just for pizza my friends. I bought this Good Grips pizza cutter and had received two free ones and was disappointed when one of the freebies broke. Seriously, I wish I could cut meat and all veggies by rolling it, it’d be so much easier on my hands.
10. An Airbake pizza pan
I love this Airbake pizza pan* for frozen pizza, homemade pizza, or a giant chocolate chip cookie cake, The crust comes out crispier than on a traditional pizza pan with no holes. I do line the pan with parchment paper for our homemade pizzas and chocolate chip cookie cake so the dough/batter does not seep through the holes (but because of the holes the cookie cake would have to be stored in a separate container so it doesn’t get stale).
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I hope you’ve found something helpful on my list of must have kitchen gadgets to make cooking with Rheumatoid Arthritis easier for you. With 3 active and hungry boys, I feel like I’m always in the kitchen when they are home and I rely on these tools to help me keep these boys’ bellies full without causing me unnecessary pain and frustration.
Those are my 10 must have kitchen gadgets. What about you? What gadgets and appliances could you not live without? What makes cooking easier for you?