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It’s 6 p.m., your stomach is starting to growl and your kids are asking what’s for dinner. That aspirational recipe from Pinterest? The one with 15 steps and twice as many of ingredients? Not. Going. To. Happen.
At this critical moment, you probably wish you could beckon Rosie, the robotic maid from “The Jetsons” to whip up dinner for your family. Alas, that’s just as much a fantasy as that over-the-top Pinterest recipe.
But some good news: There are quite a few kitchen gadgets on the market that will lend a huge assist and, with a little direction, will basically prep meals for you. (Bonus: You still get the credit!)
Here are 9 kitchen gadgets to help get dinner on the table quick.
1. A WiFi-enabled Crock-Pot
The closest you’ll probably get to having your own personal chef comes in the form of a slow-cooker. But this isn’t your grandma’s ceramic Crock-Pot. This high-tech version allows you to adjust cooking times and temps from an app, a total meal-saver if you get stuck in a meeting. Basically, all you have to do is put the ingredients in the pot and let it do its meal-prep magic. To get you started, here’s 8 clean-eating Crock-Pot recipes that will save you calories as well as time.
Buy it now: WiFi-enabled Crock-Pot, $104
2. Dash Deluxe Egg Cooker
You can put this to work stat, helping hard boil all of those Easter eggs you’ll soon be decorating. But this egg-cooking gadget can work year-round and around the clock, prepping omelettes, poaching eggs and making hard or soft boiled eggs to add a punch of protein to your lunch or dinner salads.
Buy it now: Dash Deluxe Egg Cooker, $32
3. Breakfast sandwich maker
You can make breakfast sandwiches with this gadget in five minutes, which is probably less time than it would take to order at your local bagel shop. Not to mention all the money you save will essentially pay this puppy off in a couple weeks. This all-in-one device will toast your bagel or English muffin, cook your eggs and heat up the meat for your sandwich all at once.
Buy it now: Breakfast Sandwich Maker with Timer, $24
4. Rice and hot cereal cooker
This cooker puts in overtime. You can use it in the morning to make slow-cooking oats, grits and hot cereals. Come dinnertime, it can prep your pre-packaged or homemade pasta or rice mixes. Or you can use it to make a second round of grits for a hearty shrimp and grits recipe.
Buy it now: Rice and hot cereal cooker, $35
5. Sushi Bazooka
We’ve got #MeatlessMonday and #TacoTuesday. How about a #SushiSaturday? The Sushi Bazooka allows you to load up all of your favorite sushi ingredients into a tube. One YouTube tutorial shows how you “squish it out just like toothpaste” to ensure your roll is packed it, and then let it set before slicing it up into pieces. Oh, and did I mention this sells for less than $10?
Buy it now: Sushi Bazooka, $9
6. Fasta Pasta
When you’re oh-my-gosh so hungry, waiting for a pot of water to boil can feel like forever. (You know how the watched pot expression goes.) Enter Fasta Pasta, which will quickly cook your pasta al dente for you in the microwave. You can morph that into a meal with one of these vegetarian pasta recipes, like lemon-asparagus pasta.
Buy it now: Fasta Pasta, $15
7. Baked potato cooker
There are plenty of ways to turn a spud into a complete meal: loading them up with feta cheese, veggies and olives for a Greek-inspired potato or turning your potato into a bowl to hold your chili, with chili beans, ground beef, cheese and scallions—to name a few. With this cooker, you can get four potatoes baked in four minutes flat. That is well worth $5 if you ask me!
Buy it now: Potato Express, $5
8. Pizza maker
It’s called a pizza maker, but this gadget is also game to whip up other meals and snacks on the fly, including quesadillas, nachos, quiche, frittatas, cinnamon rolls and more.
Buy it now: Betty Crocker Pizza Maker, $32
9. Rotisserie oven
Slow-cooking an entire chicken is easy-peasy with a rotisserie oven. You can make a meal around the chicken and then still have leftovers for soups, burritos, sandwiches and salads throughout the week. The rotisserie basket insert can also make hamburgers, veggies, whole fish or fish fillets, steaks, pork chops and more.
Buy it now: Ronco Digital Rotisserie and BBQ Oven, $117