I’ve learned to cook in a very small kitchen. Even though I love to cook and could easily fill up every cabinet with kitchen utensils, I just don’t have room for anything other than the basics. I don’t let that cramp my style, though—I just make the kitchen equipment I do have do double duty. Here’s how:
I like making muffins, but not every day. (Or even every week.) To justify having a metal muffin tin in my kitchen, I make it work harder for me. For me, that means flipping it over and nestling four warm corn tortillas coated with cooking spray between the cups. After 15 minutes in the oven at 375°F, you’ll have four cute little "taco bowls" that you can fill with your favorite Mexican fillings. It’s cheaper than buying store-bought taco shells, and you don’t have to worry about any unwanted ingredients.
Your muffin tin is a serious multitasker in the kitchen. There are plenty of awesome recipes that use a muffin tin (besides muffins and cupcakes), but here’s my favorite: make mini meatloaves. Muffin tins make a perfect single-size serving, which means I’m less likely to go back for seconds. Plus, since they’re smaller, they cook faster—and the leftovers are already packaged up and ready for your fridge or freezer. Easy!
Recipes to Try: Mini Meatloaves and More Delicious Ways to Use Your Muffin Tin
I can’t live without my Dutch oven for making soup, but I also love baking bread. My Dutch oven is the perfect tool for baking no-knead bread. And no, you really don’t have to knead with this technique—the dough is wet, so you stir instead. You can combine everything right in the Dutch oven, then pop the lid on to let it rise, which prevents it from drying out. And here’s another advantage—cooking it with a lid on for at least part of the time gives it a nice crispy crust.
I know a cake pan doesn’t take up much cupboard space, but why own one when you can make cake in a cast-iron skillet? My favorite cast-iron skillet dessert recipe is actually a cobbler—kind of a cross between a cake and a pie, filled with plenty of fruit. I love my cast-iron skillet for this recipe because the dark, hot iron creates a delightfully crispy edge around the cake that a plain old cake pan couldn’t do. Plus, the skillet’s wide circumference makes it easy to shove plenty of fruit—such as peaches and blueberries—into the cake.
Recipes to Try: Blueberry Cobbler and More Recipes for a Cast-Iron Skillet
Ice cream makers do only one thing: make ice cream (or frozen yogurt or sorbet). Your food processor can make soup and
salad dressing, chop and shred countless vegetables, and make ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet. I think it’s the clear
winner. The technique is a little different—an ice cream maker actually freezes ingredients, while you’ll need to start
with stuff that’s already frozen for a food processor—but it’s often quicker. An ice cream maker can take up to 30
minutes to make a frozen dessert, but your food processor can be done in two minutes flat.
See How to Make Fast Strawberry Frozen Yogurt in the Food Processor
Ever wonder how to get those beautifully perfect cheese curls that grace salads in food magazines? Or those lovely perfect flakes of chocolate on a cake? They’re peeled, using a regular old vegetable peeler. (You probably already have one in your drawer.) You’ll get more flavor from cheese curls, but you’ll also consume more cheese than when it’s grated—so don’t go overboard! Chocolate is another nice food to peel. You get light, lovely little flakes that deliver flavor without adding too many calories. Just be sure your chocolate is slightly warm (but not melting) before you peel it to get prettier curls.
Someone gave me a Bundt pan as a wedding present and I was tempted to just get rid of it. Who makes Bundt cakes more than once a year? But I hung onto mine because it helps me fly through one of my most dreaded cooking tasks—removing fresh corn kernels from the cob. I used to do that on a cutting board, but the cob would slip and the kernels would fly off in every direction. Now, I just lodge the cob into the center of the Bundt pan to hold it steady while I cut. The kernels fall neatly to the bowl below as I cut them. MAGIC.