The One Kitchen Gadget You CAN Live Without

Katie Sweeney

When it comes to everyday culinary tasks, I rely heavily on gadgets and appliances. I use my food processor to chop onions and grate cheese. My friends make fun of me because I load everything, from wine glasses to sauté pans, into my dishwasher. I love homemade ice cream so much I have two canisters for my ice cream maker. I have two different types of mandolines, a KitchenAid stand mixer, a sausage grinder, a smoking gun, a creme brûlée torch, a slow cooker, and a blender. I’m dying to get a pasta maker, panini press, Soda Stream, and Vitamix.

My love for kitchen gadgets is so strong that most people are surprised to learn that one machine is missing from my kitchen: a microwave. I haven’t had one in over five years, and when my dad called me recently asking if I wanted a microwave (apparently he found an extra one hiding in the garage!), I quickly said “No thank you.” Not only is there no room in my small, jam-packed kitchen, but I also have no need for a microwave. Sure it saves time, but it also makes food taste rubbery and soggy. You’re probably wondering how I enjoy leftovers, so let me break it down for you. Here’s how reheat food without a microwave.

Pasta

Leftover pasta is actually quite delicious when you don’t heat it in the microwave! Try this technique and I promise you won’t go back to using the microwave. Place a little bit of olive oil in a sauté pan large enough to hold all of the pasta. Heat over medium warm heat. When the pan is hot, add the pasta and cook, stirring the pasta with tongs. Pour in a little liquid (water, milk, chicken broth, wine) to break up the pasta. Continue cooking and stirring until the pasta is heated through. Enjoy immediately.

Pizza

Reheat pizza in the oven at 375° Fahrenheit for 18 minutes.

Soup

Heat soup in a small pot over medium heat. Stir occasionally to ensure that it doesn’t boil. If it’s a chunky vegetable soup, you might need to add more broth or water to give it some more liquid.

Frozen Foods

A microwave is often used to thaw frozen vegetables and other items. Without a microwave, it has to be done the old-fashioned way: by removing them and allowing them enough time to thaw at room temperature.

Butter

Melted butter is a necessary ingredient in all sorts of dishes. Without a microwave, you can melt butter in a small ramekin in the oven or over the stove in a small pot. Be sure to keep an eye on it as you don’t want the butter to brown.

Chocolate

Melting chocolate in the microwave can burn it. Melt it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.

Sauces

Warm already-made sauces, like marinara sauce, in a small saucepan over medium heat. 

Shop my kitchen gadget wish list below.

What culinary appliance can you live without?

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