Let's Talk Turkey: 10 Awesome Gadgets To Make Holiday Cooking Easier
Cooking for the holidays? Most home chefs are so pooped by the time they get to the dinner table, that it's hard for them to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Whether you're cooking turkey or a ham or roast for holiday meals, there are some new gadgets that can make your work easier and your dinner yummier.
These super-sized forks sure beat anything I've used to try to lift a turkey from its perch. These are the All-Clad T137 Poultry Lifters, all stainless steel with a nice solid handle for lifting -- you can't use a flimsy handled utensil with a heavy roast or bird, as the handle will break. Great gadgets for those who cook their turkeys or hams on a grill!
Better than the lifters if you don't have a roasting pan, the Calphalon is known for quality and a non-stick roasting rack is heaven when it comes to cleaning up. The 16 inch size will hold a good size ham or beef roast and possible a 12 to 14 pound turkey. Cooking on a rack instead of a flat pan ensures a dry and even crust around your roast. The Calphalon Contemporary Stainless Special-Value 16-Inch Roaster with Nonstick Roasting Rack is a long-winded name but an excellent product with rave reviews.
The Roast Cutting Tongs are guaranteed to please. You can use them for lifting browned meat from the pan to the roaster, then from roaster to cutting board, and then to slice your roasts into nice even pieces. From Chefs Catalogue for less than $30.
Another 'make it easy' gadget, this is the perfect size container and separator in which to pour your turkey or roast drippings. Otherwise, you stand around holding a large pan over a narrow strainer waiting and waiting and waiting for the juice to separate from the fat. The Trudeau Gravy/Fat Separator withstands 400° heat, is microwave and dishwasher safe, and is well-priced.
Instead of deep frying your turkey, you can use the Big Easy TRU-Infrared Oil-less Turkey Fryer from Char-Broil. With a unique patented infrared cooking technology, this turkey fryer delivers fully cooked perfect turkeys every time. Since it uses infrared technology, there is no more dangerous hot oils or potential fire risks to worry about and clean up is so much easier that with a traditional fryer. People seem to love this fryer and rave about the crispy and tasty results. No wonder it's called the Big Easy!
6. Bella Electric Gravy Sauce Warmer
No more cold gravy! The Bella Electric Gravy Boat With Warming Plate will keep your gravy and sauces at the perfect temperature. ... and it's pretty enough to serve from right on the table when you want to pour. (Update: Our recommended Gravy Warmer is currently sold out. Crock Pot also has an electric gravy warmer that may be worth trying.) (f you want to avoid an electric appliance at the table, you can also choose the Norpro Gravy Boat With Candle Stand which gets terrific reviews)
What a hot idea! The 3-Tier Oven Companion is just what every cook needs whether cooking, warming, or re-heating a multi-course dinner. This 11" L x 14" W x 10.5" H shelf oven rack comes apart and slides right into your dishwasher... and you don't need instructions to put it back together. A ridiculously good purchase at less than $10 on Amazon
If your family loves mashed potatoes, but you already have carpel tunnel, the Potato Ricer is for you. The ricer will mash and smash any cooked veggies you have... so, go ahead, make your own baby food, or soups, with a nice evenly constituted mash. Oxo also has an excellent potato ricer for $25.
If you still haven't tried silicone baking mats, you must try them. I think they are one of the greatest innovations in cooking in recent memory. These AmazonBasics Silicone Baking Mats are the cheaper version of the Silpat Baking Mats which get rave reviews from users. These mats turn your baking sheets into instant non-stick pans, so no need to use oil or butter or flour your pans. It saves on calories and time. You can use them for baking pastries or to make cleanup super easy when you are baking casseroles or other items that can spill over in the oven. They will keep your baking sheets looking like new and they are so easy to use you will want to use them for everything.
Cuisineart is known for making excellent kitchen products and the SmartStick Immersion Blender is another in their lineup of exceptionally well made products. It has two speeds and is designed as a stick with a length of almost six inches to make blending inside bowls, pots and pitchers super easy. With a simple one touch button, you can easily take care of most blending tasks. What is surprising with this immersion blender is that is is really powerful but quiet. Cleanup is easy with an easily detachable "blade" that you can pop into the dishwasher.
As you plan ahead to your holidays, I hope that including some of these tools will make the holidays more enjoyable for you.
Updated and revised November 2015.