The holidays can be a great time with loved ones and great food, but holiday meals are also notorious for being quite a lot of work to prepare. With roasting prime rib or basting the perfect turkey, putting up decorations, wrapping presents, dodging questions from nosy relatives, and making sure the kids don’t tear up the living room, most hosts have their hands pretty full. Luckily, having some gadgets on hand in the kitchen can make the job of cooking and preparing dinner much easier. Here are some holiday gadgets that make for an easy breezy holiday meal, and some to help you enjoy the holiday leftovers as you kick back and watch some movies.
Nobody wants dry, overcooked ham for their holiday dinner, and you can prevent that by using an effective meat thermometer to keep tabs on the temps of your meats. This one by Thermopro has a probe temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit to 572 F plus or minus 1.5 F accuracy, giving you an instant and precise read.
The thermometer is also programmed with preset temperatures for USDA-recommended cooking levels, which you can use depending on the meat you’re cooking, whether it be beef, poultry, veal, fish, or lamb. With this tool in hand, you’ll be able to cook a perfectly juicy, moist, and delicious ham that will have your family digging in for seconds.
If there’s ever a time when every inch of your oven is in full use, that time is during holiday cooking. You’ll likely have prime rib, green bean casserole, potatoes, and more all roasting away in the oven. With so many dishes and cooking times to keep track of, how do you make sure none are overcooked or undercooked? This kitchen timer will have you covered, as it can time three different things at once.
Each timer has a distinct sound, so once it goes off, you know exactly which dish is ready for your guests to enjoy. When it’s not timing anything, this device reverts to clock mode, so you have a handy way to tell time as you’re running around sautéing onions, chopping celery, and entertaining guests.
Cuisinart Electric Knife ($37)
While cooking a large slab of meat is no easy task, some would argue that the real hard work comes when it’s time to carve the meat. If you don’t have the best blade skills, or if you don’t own a sharp chef’s knife, the job of cutting the bird can feel even more daunting. That’s when an electric knife comes in handy. This one by Cuisinart comes with an ergonomic handle, stainless steel bread and carving blades, and a butcher block holding tray, so it’ll get a lot of usage beyond the holidays.
Want even more precision in your ham carving? This food slicer can do what even an electric knife cannot. This deli-style meat slicer will ensure uniform slabs, whether you’re going for thick, juicy cuts or for thin, sandwich-ready slices. It does all the work for you, meaning you won’t be suffering from a case of carving thumb while you try to enjoy the delicious meal.
One of the more difficult things about cooking a large holiday meal is making sure the foods are all timed properly. Will the mashed potatoes be done too early? Will the veggies get cold before the other sides finish cooking? This buffet serving tray by Betty Crocker makes it so all of your food creations stay warm, even for the last person in line to grab a plate. The stainless steel tray keeps foods and liquids warm for up to three hours. Within the tray, there are three serving vessels that each hold 2.5 quarts. The clear, see-through lids display the food items, but they are cool to the touch so your guests don’t burn themselves.
Still popping corks out of wine bottles the old-fashioned way? You could save yourself time and start enjoying a glass of red sooner by using an electric corkscrew. This gadget by Metrokane has an automatic cork pull and ejection system that does the hard work for you. The cork removal area is see-through, so you can keep an eye on the progress as you un-cork a bottle. You can also monitor the battery life on the LED screen. Plus, there’s a built-in foil cutter as well, which makes this a dual-purpose tool.
Making a pie for dessert this holiday? It will probably taste even better with a big dollop of whipped cream on each slice. The trouble is that whipped cream can be finicky to make, especially if you don’t have an electric mixer. Furthermore, the store-bought whipped cream always leaves a funky aftertaste in the mouth, and you don’t want that for your guests. The solution? Use a professional cream whipper, like this one by iSi North America. It’s easy to use, easy to clean, and dishwasher-safe. Plus, it even comes with a decorator tip, so those slices of pie will look as pretty as they are tasty.