Guest post by Stephani of Cheapskate Cook
Here’s the thing.
You don’t need a lot of tools to serve good, real food.
A small collection of quality cooking gear – a knife, mixing bowls, basic cookery, wooden spoons, a spatula – is enough for a lifetime of delicious, nourishing meals. For awhile, my husband and I lived like nomads and I had to fit my kitchen in a moving box. We still ate really well – even on a tiny food budget.
But now that we have the option, I’m the first to admit that good kitchen gadgets are fun. They make food preparation easier, faster, and offer whole new categories of healthy food. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out you can’t make a smoothie with a whisk and a knife.
I’m very picky about what gadgets stay in my house. Some of my favorites right now are my Wondermill (makes the lightest, best whole grain and gluten-free flours), Professional Kitchen Aid Mixer (kneads whole wheat bread, whips egg whites, cream, cookies and cake so fast), small mandolin slicer, and most recently, my food processor.
It’s my favorite so far.
You might want a food processor if:
- You shred or chop large amounts of anything (cheese, nuts, chicken, zucchini from your neighbor’s garden)
- You’re gluten or grain-free
- You make (or want to make) homemade dips and sauces like hummus, vegetable dip, pesto, etc.
- You like unique nut butters but don’t like the prices
- You enjoy cooking from scratch and want more options
Depending on the model, food processors can shred, chop, puree, even make pie crusts. I use mine almost every day.
Not all food processors are created equal
When buying appliances, invest in quality. Most cheap machines perform poorly – or at least not as well as we like – break easily, and are often more trouble than they’re worth. If you’re not sure you’ll use a food processor very often, consider borrowing one from a friend who doesn’t use theirs.
Personally, I used a very cheap processor that came as a bonus with my equally cheap blender. The results were ultimately disappointing, but owning one and trying to use it showed me I would get my use out of a nicer one.
If you’re trying to pinch pennies, scour Craigslist and yard sales, and read product reviews so you know which model will fit your needs. I’ve heard great reviews about Cuisinart, but I bought my Black & Decker for $5 at a yard sale. Bargain shopping win. Mine is an older model, but it’s similar to this processor.
Keep in mind that some food processors are simply choppers. If you want one that will shred and make crusts, make sure it comes with those attachments.
Foods you can make with a food processor:
Just a few recipes that feature this machine…
- Summer Gazpacho
- Perfect Coleslaw
- Greek Cucumber Sauce
- Homemade Almond Butter
- Whole Wheat Pie Crust
- Grain-free Pie Crust
These machines aren’t for everyone
There’s a reason why Craigslist is such a great place to find food processors. If you own a high-powered blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec, a food processor might not be worth storing in your kitchen.
They do plenty of jobs a Vitamix isn’t cut out for – thicker dips, chopped salad, chopping or shredding food. But if your main goal is to puree and blend, a food processor isn’t your best option. (Pssst – curious about the Vitamix? Check out Andrea’s review!)
On the other hand, I know some home cooks prefer having both. Each appliance has a purpose, and a quality machine will do it well.
But they might be right for you
For me, owning a food processor opened a new world of delicious, healthy treats. We eat more homemade dips than we used to, we make more gluten and grain-free baked goods, and my food preparation time has shortened.
This baby has a permanent place in my kitchen because let’s be honest, life is happier when you can dip your food, eat healthy desserts, and spend more time with your family and less time in the kitchen.
Do you own a food processor? What do you make with it?
When Stephani and her husband got married, they lived in a renovated shed and had a grocery budget that matched. As a passionate whole-foodie, Stephani was determined to continue eating healthy, minimally-processed foods on their shoestring budget. So Cheapskate Cook was born.
Between cooking, baking, and blogging, Stephani enjoys playing with her two boys, going on dates with her husband, and living passionately with her Lord.