How your stand mixer can save your sanity

By | October 27, 2013

Let me guess: You got a stand mixer as a wedding gift, but you never took it out of the box. Or you did, but only because it looks cool in your kitchen. Or because you use it once in a while to make cakes and cookies. Right? Oh, but there’s so much more that one little appliance can do for you. Here are three tricks guaranteed to change your life and make you fall in love with your stand mixer.

Meatloaf and meatballs
The trick to tender meatloaf and meatballs is to not overwork the ground beef. That can be quite a challenge when you need to mix in onions, cheese, breadcrumbs, seasonings, and other ingredients. And some people just don’t like the thought of burying their hands wrist-deep in raw ground beef. Not to worry – your stand mixer isn’t bothered by the yuck factor, and it can do the job efficiently enough that the meat doesn’t get overworked. Use the paddle attachment, and set the speed to low to have perfectly mixed meatballs or ground beef in no time.

Mashed potatoes
OK, so none of my kids will come anywhere near mashed potatoes. Or bananas, for that matter – it’s a texture thing, I guess. But for most people, mashed potatoes are a classic comfort food. What’s not so comfortable is when you’re the one having to squash every last lump by hand. Save your muscles, and let your stand mixer do the work. Put cooked potatoes in the mixer, and use the paddle attachment. Start on low, and raise the speed as the potatoes become smoother. You can even add butter, cheese, and other ingredients at this point. You get the best results if the potatoes are hot, but watch out for steam. If you insist on peeling your potatoes first (soooo not necessary), try to do it before they get cold.

Shredded meat
The last time I used two forks to shred meat by hand, I wanted to stab myself in the eyes with them. To me, it’s so gross and tedious that it’s just not worth it. I got slapped upside the head with another blinding glimpse of the obvious when somebody on Pinterest used a stand mixer to shred meat. It works great with cooked chicken breasts; put them in while they’re still hot, use the paddle attachment, and you’ll have perfectly shredded chicken in less than a minute. It works for cooked beef and pork, too, but cut the meat into smaller chunks first. When you try this, a whole new world of recipes will open up…no more being intimidated by a few little unshredded chicken breasts!

You don’t have to be a baker to use your stand mixer weekly, if not daily. In addition to these time-savers, you can also use it to make whipped cream, butter, and bread dough. Give it a chance; it’s more than just a pretty prop.
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