Kitchen Shortcuts with a Mixer

Do you have a Kitchen Aid Mixer?  My husband got me one about 3 years ago.  I honestly thought it would probably just sit there and was only for making cookie dough. But, wow, was I wrong!  I have found tons of ways that this machine has saved me time and labor in the kitchen.

If you buy premade pie dough, you can save money by making it in a mixer. I only discovered this one about a year ago.  I always hated making pie crust from scratch because you had to "cut" in all that butter. So one day I gave this machine a try at doing it for me and I was so pleased with the results.  I used the batter attachment to do the cutting and now pie crusts are a breeze. 

 Just put in the flour and add your diced butter and let it cut the butter till it's incorporated into the flour. Then get a glass of ice water and add one tablespoon at a time and mix on low until the dough comes together nicely. Don't overmix or it will be tough. The best pie crusts are flaky and the secret is to mix as little as possible. A tablespoon of white vinegar will also help with flakiness.

The same beater blade will shredd cooked chicken!  After I cook some boneless, skinless chicken and need it shredded for making enchiladas, pot pie or soup, I put the meat in the bowl hot and WHOLE and begin mixing with the beater blade on low.  In a minute or two, the meat is shredded beautifully. (I increase the speed just a little as I go.)

The job of mixing meatloaf was also one of my dreads, but not anymore. (I hate mixing meat with my bare hands. Now I just throw all the ingredients in my mixer and let it run.  I use a spatula to sort of gather the meatloaf in a ball inside the bowl and ease the lump into my meatloaf pan without my hands ever touching the meat. 

I also use my mixer to make bread.  When I first tried this, I was SO dissapointed!  My bread maker had broken and I was going to try to use my mixer for it.  The directions said it could do it.  But when I tried it, the dough was sticking to the bowl like batter.  Finally, after learning more about the art of bread making, I discovered that just adding a little flour as it mixed would "pull" the wet dough off the sides until it had "cleaned" the sides of the bowl and was a real lump of smooth, elastic bread dough. 
So if you don't have a mixer yet, put it on your wish list or scan craigslist for someone who's moving and has to get rid of theirs. They are worth every penny and will save you a lot of labor.  I wish I'd let my husband get me one years ago like he wanted to.  I thought I'd never use it.  Was I ever wrong!


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