Or – How I realised how much of a timesaver a food processor really was
Do you have a food processer in the cupboard that you only use for one thing? Maybe you think the washing and cleaning up after makes it not worth the effort for anything else? Maybe like me you just haven’t quite worked out how to use it to your advantage?
I have had a food processor for over 10 years now. Initially just your basic processor with the cutting knives. Then a few years ago I acquired a newer version with extra discs and such things, this one was a Kenwood and looked the business. To be honest, I just threw the discs in a drawer and used the newer version the same as I used the old one.
Thankfully I recently found out how to use the discs and what a revelation. This has made such a difference to my eating habits and all it took was understanding how to use the blades.
Let me tell you where I have noticed a difference and how it has helped.
- The most basic of all food processor uses, to chop up vegetables for soup and stews etc. Throw in a load of veggies cut to smaller sizes and hit the button. Within a minute or so you have all the vegetables ready to throw in the pot with some stock and possibly lentils or other pulses. Now just let it boil away on it’s own and you have a heart warming soup for these cold days coming up. You have probably saved almost 20 minutes grating time.
- Cheese grating for a large pot of cheese sauce or many pizzas is time consuming and messy. Much easier to find your food processor grating disc, set it up at the top of the processor bowl and take a few minutes to grate a whole block. Even if you are not looking to use it anytime soon, grating and freezing can save you loads of time in future cooking endeavours. The easiest way I have found for freezing is to place the shredded cheese in a silicone baking tray, place in a plastic bag and put in the freezer overnight. Next day I take it out and put it into a reusable sealed freezer bag and that is it ready to use whenever needed.
- You may think that slicing a whole kilo of onions at any given time is a bit of overkill. However, if you have a slow cooker, you can caramelise some of them and freeze for later use. I use these silicone ice cube trays to freeze my onions then when I have a stew or curry in the slow cooker or oven, I just take a cube out of the freezer and throw it in at the tail end of the cooking. These are also very good for burgers and sausages as well as any summer BBQs. Just take them out to defrost and voila, one less thing you have to do to prepare.
- Have you noticed that mushrooms seem to have a very definite changeover from firm and light to soft and dark? Rather than lose mushrooms when they get past the optimal stage for use, use the slicing disk to slice the mushrooms whilst they are still firm and then freeze. Again I use the silicone baking tray to initially freeze the mushrooms then store in a freezer bag.
- Pesto is something that can take your pasta from bland to extraordinary and something you can make to your own taste. With the food processor it takes very little time to chop the nuts, cheese and greens, then gradually adding oil completes the process. Again, my silicone ice cube trays come into their own with this and once the cubes are frozen they are stored in a freezer bag. The great thing about the pesto cubes is that although they are a large size, they are easily cut in half for smaller portions to be used.
These five uses I have already found for my food processor may not seem like much but believe me they can make a huge difference to your time in the kitchen.
Yesterday I made mac n cheese for my daughter. This was the first time I had used the frozen cheese and what a joy it was to walk to the freezer, lift out a bag and throw in a couple of handfuls of cheese.
Today when I went home from the office for lunch, I had no idea what I was going to eat. The instant noodles were my obvious standby so I stuck them in a pan of boiling water. As I am sure you know, these can be rather bland. Until I remembered that I had sliced almost a full pack of mushrooms the day before. A handful of mushrooms later and my noodles had an extra bit of flavour and texture at no extra effort to me.
The food processor has transformed from fiddly washing up maker to time saver extraordinaire.