Spending

3 kitchen appliances and tools that pay for themselves, according to food experts

Steak cooking in a cast-iron pan.
Twenty/20

If your list of New Year's resolutions include saving money and losing weight, these kitchen appliances and tools could come in handy.

Instead of spending money at a restaurant, invest in the right kitchen tools to make restaurant-quality food at home, cookbook author and food blogger Cathy Erway told Grow earlier this year.

Making food at home is not only cheaper, it's healthier, according to Yummy Spoonfuls founder and certified nutrition coach Agatha Achindu. Achindu told Grow that when you cook for yourself, you can control how much butter, oil, and salt goes into your food.

Here are three kitchen tools recommended by celebrity chefs, restaurateurs, and food bloggers that are worth the investment.

Air Fryer

Cost: $39.99 at Walmart

Air fryer.
Twenty/20

An air fryer is essentially a small version of a convection oven. It cooks food by circulating hot air around it.

"Air fryers are awesome for reheating. It's one of the best kitchen appliances out there," says Donatella Arpaia, celebrity chef and partner of Prova Pizzabar in New York.

They can make food prep healthier, too: Air fryers can turn foods like chicken crunchy without requiring you to douse the chicken in unhealthy oil like you would when deep frying, she explains.

Frozen french fries prepared in the air fryer contain between 4 and 6 grams of fat. Deep-fried french fries, by contrast, contain 17 grams of fat per serving, according to Taste of Home magazine.

In addition to heating up frozen foods, you can also use an air fryer to bake cookies, to hard-boil eggs, and to make homemade potato chips, so you can save money by producing some of your favorite foods at home.

Sous vide

Cost: $41.99 at Monoprice

Sous vide.
Twenty/20

Sous vide translates to "under vacuum" in French. The kitchen tool works by vacuum-sealing food in a bag and cooking it in a water bath at a controlled and precise temperature.

Professional chefs have been using this technique for decades, but new innovative at-home sous vide devices have made the method of cooking extremely popular and accessible. "You can cook things perfectly every time," says Ryan Lory, chef at Ardyn restaurant, in New York City.

Adam Bordonaro, also a chef at Ardyn, says you can used a sous vide to make an entire turkey. To get the skin crisp, he used a method known as "reverse searing" to cook the outside of the meat quickly at a high temperature.

A sous vide allows you to set it and forget it, Bordonaro explains. It's a hands-off approach to cooking, but you're still able to maintain consistent control over the final product.

New sous vide devices even connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth, so you can control the cooking process when you're out of the room or even away from home.

Cast-iron skillet

Cost: $14.90 at Target

Steak cooking in a cast-iron pan.
Twenty/20

To make a restaurant-quality burger at home, you need a cast-iron pan. "They're worth the investment because if you take care of it, it will last forever," Mike Puma, founder of the Gotham Burger Social Club, told Grow earlier this year.

When Puma is off-duty and not searching for the best burgers around New York City, he uses a cast-iron pan to achieve the burger crust you often taste on restaurant patties.

Cast-iron pans allow for even and high-temperature cooking at home because once they're hot, they stay hot. That consistent heat is hard to replicate with a nonstick skillet.

Erway, who saved $7,800 by not dining out for two years, recalls that, during her restaurant food strike, she replicated steak-house meals at home using a cast-iron pan. "I think you'll be surprised by some of the things that you can make at home that are some of the most luxurious and expensive things you can get in a restaurant."

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