Did you think your pizza cutter was just for slicing pizza? Not so! You can also use it to mince or chop fresh herbs. You can cut tortillas in quarters and bake for salsa dippers. You can slice ham steaks into cubes to toss into soups, salads, or omelets. It’s very useful for cutting spaghetti into kid-size lengths. Use it to trim the crust from toast or quarter marshmallows to top that cup of hot chocolate. And, speaking of chocolate, you can use a pizza cutter for dividing brownies in a pan.
For an all-round handy kitchen item, it’s hard to beat a microwave oven. Not only does it reheat food and beverages, it does a lot of tricks too! Having trouble peeling garlic cloves? Put them on a paper towel and put the microwave on high for 10 or 12 seconds. The paper towel absorbs the moisture from the clove and makes peeling them a snap. Want to disinfect your kitchen sponge? Put it in a bowl of water with a bit of vinegar and microwave it on high for about a minute. You can also disinfect your cutting boards in the microwave. Wash them thoroughly and rub some lemon on the cutting side. Zap them on high for about a minute (this also works well on hard dog toys). If your brown sugar has gone hard, add a few drops of water to it (still in the plastic bag) and heat on medium for a minute or so. Want to ease those tired muscles? Fill a clean sock with uncooked rice or beans and heat it in the microwave. Want to save a special stamp that was on something you got in the mail? Add a drop of water and microwave it for about 30 seconds, and it will peel right off. Has your honey gone hard? You can decrystallize it by placing the uncovered jar in the microwave. Try it for 30 seconds and if that doesn’t do it, give it another 30 seconds.
Coffee grinders make short work of nuts and seeds, spices like cloves and peppercorn, dry herbs (you can dry those out in the microwave first), garnishes like chocolate (there’s that chocolate again) or citrus peel, and even paper for confetti. Oh, and coffee beans. You can also grind coffee beans in your coffee grinder.
Potato mashers are a great little tool for mashing hard-boiled eggs for egg salad sandwiches. You can use one to crumble blocks of feta cheese. Got a hankering for guacamole? You can mash the chickpeas with a potato masher. And for folks who are suspicious of commercially prepared baby food, you can mash up vegetables and fruits for your little one. You can even use it to mix mulch or compost into soil (but make the baby food first).
A breadmaker will, yes, make bread. But that’s not all. You can make fruit or vegetable butters in it. You can make jams and preserves. You can make your own homemade tomato sauce. You can make cakes. You can make donuts, bagels, English muffins, cinnamon buns, pizza dough, and soft pretzels. You can even make scrambled eggs in it.
Your rice cooker can be used to make oatmeal and other hot cereals. You can add in some meat and vegetables to the rice for a lovely risotto. You can make a slow-cook stew or soup with your rick cooker. And for afters, you can make desserts from fruits simmered in juice or wine. You can even steam towels in a rice cooker for an in-home spa experience.
A toaster oven will make toast. And much more. It will also make your mugs toasty. Simply put your heat-safe mug in the toaster oven on low for a few minutes. You can heat plates this way too. You can use your toaster oven to bake potatoes, melt toppings such as cheese or chocolate, cook bacon, bake croutons, or make small batches of cookies. How about a mini breakfast pizza made of an English muffin, egg, and pizza sauce. Or maybe some harvest granola? Or add some dash to your morning oatmeal with some cinnamon-dusted apple chunks. You can also toast pine nuts to brown them and make them firmer.
Waffle irons aren’t just for waffles. You can also make hash browns, French toast, omelets, cookies, polenta (yeah, I wondered what that is too – it’s a dough made from cornmeal), quesadillas, zucchini fritters, and wonuts (a cross between a waffle and a donut), to name a few. There’s also an endless variety of interesting waffles awaiting you – everything from pizza waffles to mashed potato and cheddar waffles, and lots in between.
A French press is useful for any number of things quite apart from making delicious coffee. How about a nice cup of tea made of loose tealeaves? Steep it in your French press and watch the strainer keep all those pesky little bits of tealeaf out of your cuppa. You can also use it to rinse and strain grains like quinoa. If you’d rather not have pulp in your fruit juice, you can strain it out with a French press. It’s also a dandy little item for frothing milk and making whipped cream. One renowned chef, Michael Young, uses a French press for making soup. He says “You can fill the press with lots of aromatics such as basil and cilantro, peppercorns, a stub of five-spice or star anise, crushed ginger, some dehydrated mushrooms for depth and maybe even a slice of jalapeño to add a bit of heat. Then pour some hot broth over the ingredients and let steep for a few minutes.”
And here are some surprising uses for the freezer. You can kill dust mites from items that you can’t wash, like cushions and stuffed toys, by placing them in a sealed bag in the freezer for 24 hours. And some people even store their jeans in the freezer in sealed plastic bags for a week. It doesn’t clean stains from jeans but will kill the bacteria in sloughed-off skin cells and make the jeans feel crisp and fresh.
Keep your major appliances in top condition. Call C&W Appliance Service at (214) 358-1496 or (855) 358-1496 for all your appliance repair and maintenance needs.