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We’ve all been there: It’s 8 p.m., you’re finally on your way home from work, and you’re flat-out starving. You’ve got two options, right? Either call up your good friend Seamless and break your “no spending money on takeout” resolution or start in on a recipe guaranteed to destroy your new “no eating after 9 p.m.” rule. Talk about a rock and a hard place.
But thankfully, there’s a solution. We’ve dug up seven budget-conscious kitchen shelf standouts committed to making sure you can have your reasonably timed, home-cooked meal and eat it too, no matter how long that last meeting runs over.
What has five blades, a cleaning comb, is dishwasher-safe, and is about to make your dinner a whole lot tastier (not to mention easier)? This guy! Pick up one of these easy-to-handle snippers and you’ll never again spend five minutes “mincing” a fresh bunch of parsley into a dewy pulp with a knife and cutting board. You can even finely slice those bad boys right onto your plate for a restaurant-worthy finish. Confession: We thought you could just use regular scissors, but the five blades do wonders for cutting down on time.($14.97; amazon.com)
This genius contraption laughs in the face of the single, high-maintenance 12-minute egg by cooking up no less than six of these protein-packed puppies in the same amount of time with just one touch. It’s also great for poaching, soft-boiling, and even making omelets. We see deviled eggs by the dozens heading your way… ($19.99; amazon.com)
This adorable little contraption not only expertly chops up just any old vegetable you can imagine, it also functions as a manual one-stop-shop for making spreads and salsas. Toss in some avocados, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and seasoning; give it a whirl; and you’ve got a conveniently resealable container full of homemade guacamole ready for dipping.($15.91; amazon.com)
This handy crank-and-slice machine can churn out delicate squash ribbons, perfectly portioned onion rounds, crunchy radish wheels, and hearty strings of beet spaghetti faster than you can say “zoodle.” Taking the Whole30 plunge has never been easier, faster, or, honestly, more fun.($27.99; amazon.com)
Take our word for it: When it comes to Western kitchens, the wok is undoubtedly the most slept-on stovetop cooker out there. Durable, versatile, and damn fine to look at, this flat-bottomed, carbon steel game-changer goes from cool to molten lava quickly and efficiently no matter what kind of burner you’re operating, bringing you that much closer to the steamed soup dumplings of your dreams. One-pot meals are the answer for anyone who’s tight on time. ($29.95; williams-sonoma.com)
Instant Pots are designed expressly for ultra-speedy cooking and this baby bear-size version gives you all the oomph of the big boys minus the hefty price tag. It’s equipped with all the fancy settings that catapulted its six- and seven-quart sisters into stardom—soup/broth, meat/stew, steam, egg, sauté, rice, porridge, keep warm, pressure cook, and slow cook—and is sure to ~instantly~ revolutionize your meal-prep game. ($59; amazon.com)
We know what you’re thinking: I can just buy bread?! But what if we told you that the only things standing between you and a piping hot loaf of homemade bread were a few ingredients, a couple buttons, and an hour? Armed with nine different baking modes and three custom crust settings, this streamlined gadget promises to turn your wildest carbo-loading dreams into a delicious reality. ($59.99; amazon.com)