Showing posts with label kitchen gifts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kitchen gifts. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Copper Chef Black Diamond Nonstick Cookware Review

Copper Chef Black Diamond nonstick cookware has a diamond-reinforced, black ceramic coating and textured cooking surface that make these pans the most durable, scratch-resistant, best-performing nonstick cookware I've tried — and I've tried a lot!
Image - title and photo collage for Copper Chef Black Diamond Nonstick Cookware review by Margaret Schindel
©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved
Several years ago, I began replacing our large collection of old nonstick cookware. All the pans had visible scratches in the coating after years of use, so they no longer had their nonstick qualities. I also didn't want to risk the possibility of accidentally ingesting a speck (or flake) of loosened Teflon, especially since the older Teflon coatings were manufactured with PFOA.

Since I had a lot of pans to replace (my husband and I both cook a lot!), I research the newest generation of nonstick coating options and cookware. I tried a T-Fal skillet and, later, an OXO Good Grips nonstick frying pan, both recommended by Cook's Illustrated at the time, as well as a highly-rated set of two skillets from Sur La Table, but I found they scratched too easily for my household's needs (my husband tends to be a bit hard on pans!).

Original Copper Chef Nonstick Cookware

A few years ago, my mother-in-law bought us a set of the original Copper Chef pans, after she had bought herself some and loved them. Admittedly, I was skeptical about the quality of "As Seen on TV" nonstick cookware purchased from an infomercial, and I didn't immediately understand the appeal of a square skillet or pot. But I soon discovered how much better and more durable the ceramic nonstick cooking surface was, compared to the others I had tried.

The set John's mother gifted us came with a square 9.5" fry pan, a square deep 9.5" pan, a square basket insert for deep frying or draining (e.g., pasta), a steamer insert, a slightly domed, square tempered glass lid that fits both pans, and a cookbook. Since the exact set she got us is no longer available, I've provided a link to a newer version, identical to ours except for the added set of 4 nonstick-safe cooking utensils. You can learn more about one of the original Copper Chef pans from my fellow Review This Reviews contributor Cynthia (Sylvestermouse), in her review of the original Copper Chef square fry pan.

After six or so months of heavy use, my husband and I were pleasantly surprised at how well the two pans my mother-in-law had given us were holding up, so we decided to start slowly investing in more Copper Chef cookware. We were using the shallow fry pan the most, so we bought the Copper Chef Square Fry Pan 5 Piece Set, which includes an 9.5-inch square griddle pan with a glass lid (that also fits the two pans we received as gifts), a larger 11" square griddle pan with a glass lid, and an 8" ridged grill pan.

Copper Chef Black Diamond Nonstick Cookware — Even Better Than the Original!

A year or so later, we had enough experience with the durability of the CeramiTech coating and the excellent heat conductivity of the built-in stainless steel induction plates on our glass stovetop to confidently expand our collection further. This time, when I looked on Amazon to see what other sizes and types were available, I discovered there was a new, improved line: Copper Chef Black Diamond nonstick cookware.

Boxed 5-piece set of stackable space-saving Copper Chef Black Diamond nonstick cookware
My first Copper Chef Black Diamond 5-piece stacking non-stick cookware set
©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved

We chose the Copper Chef Stackable Black Diamond 5-piece Non-Stick Fry Pan Set, which comes with a 9.5" square grill pan (with grilling ridges), a 9.5" square griddle pan with the raised diamond pattern interior bottom, a 4.5-quart, 9.5" deep square pan with the same raised texture on the inside bottom, two 9.5" tempered glass square lids (which fit all three pans, as well as most of our other Copper Chef pans), and a recipe book.

View of textured interior bottoms of Copper Chef Black Diamond nonstick pans in 5-piece set
Raised 3D interior texture on Black Diamond pans
©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved

Diamond Reinforced Ceramic Coating + 3D Textured Interior Bottom = Even Less Sticking

Not only are these pans extremely attractive, with their copper-colored exteriors and black interiors, they also are more durable, because the CeramiTech nonstick coating is reinforced with thousands of tiny diamond particles. In addition, the inside bottoms of the Copper Chef Black Diamond pans (except the ridged grill pans, which don't need it) have a raised, diamond pattern surface, rather than the original, totally flat surface, which enhances their nonstick performance.

Oven-Safe Coating

The deep square pan also works well as a casserole, since the pans are oven safe. The CeramiTech diamond-reinforced ceramic nonstick coating on the inside, and the regular CeramiTech coating (the same as on the original CC pans) is temperature-resistant up to 850° F. The tempered glass lids, however, are only temperature-resistant up to 350° F, so make sure not to exceed that temperature (or let the glass lids get too close to the heating elements), or just cover your casserole with aluminum foil.

Quick and Easy Cleanup After Cooking

After cooking, just let the pans cool to room temperature before washing. They clean up quickly and easily with just a sponge, mild liquid dish soap and hot water. Alternatively, you can fill them with hot, soapy water and let them sit until you're ready to do the dishes after you've finished your meal.

Space-Saving, Stackable Design For Convenient Storage, Even in Small Kitchens


All three pans can be stacked, a space-saving feature we love and took advantage of until my husband finally built us a wall-mounted bar of hanging hooks for storing our growing collection of nonstick pots, pans and lids in our very small galley kitchen.

Image of 3 Copper Chef Black Diamond square nonstick pans, stacked, with lids
The pans stack compactly in this space saving cookware design
©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved

When the two frying pans (flat bottom and grill pan) and the deep pan (more like a saucepan or pot) are stacked, the collective dimensions, including the long handles, are 19.5" X 10 X 7.75" — not a lot of space for two frying pans and a pot, each with 25% more cooking area than round equivalents!

Not All Brands of Copper Ceramic Coated Nonstick Cookware Perform Well!

As we expanded our collection, we tried pans with copper ceramic nonstick coating from a few other brands and discovered that, while they may all look similar (and, in some cases, nearly identical), the quality of some brands isn't on a par with that of Copper Chef. For example, we bought an 11" square griddle pan for my husband, who wanted it to make French toast, that looked like it matched our collection. However, it didn't have the built-in stainless steel induction plate, so it didn't heat up as quickly or evenly as our Copper Chef pans.

SHINEURI 5-piece set of nonstick saucepans and saute pan on Amazon
We love the SHINEURI 5 piece nonstick
copper cookware set we purchased
on Amazon
The good news is that we also discover some winners among the competitor brands. At the time, Copper Chef wasn't making any round pots or pans, and we wanted a set of small and medium covered nonstick saucepans to replace the ones we threw out, as well as a couple of small to medium size round skillets for making omelets and such.

I was delighted with both the quality and the appearance of the 5-piece set by SHINEURI that we purchased, which has the reverse color scheme of our Copper Chef Black Diamond pans and looks terrific with them. The 1.5 quart and 2.5 quart saucepans with glass lids and the open 8" sauté pan look as though they were designed and manufactured by the same designer and factory as the original Copper Chef pans. Even the slightly domed lids and hollow stainless steel handles look exactly like the original CC pans, and they also perform just as well as those, although not as well as the Black Diamond pans.

Fortunately, the Copper Chef Black Diamond line has since expanded and now includes round pots and pans.

Another high performer we purchased from a competing brand was the Home Hero 8" round nonstick skillet with glass lid, which also had the built-in stainless steel induction plate and has performed as well as our original Copper Chef pans, although it doesn't look quite as nice, in my opinion, and doesn't have the textured interior bottom or diamond-reinforced nonstick coating of the Black Diamond pans.

Copper Chef Black Diamond Nonstick Cookware Makes a Great Gift

We loved our 5-piece set of square Black Diamond pans so much that we bought two more sets as Christmas gifts, one for my in-laws and one for my brother. They agree with us that these are by far the best nonstick pans we've ever owned.

Set of copper cooking utensils with silicone tips for nonstick cookware on Amazon
You can buy this gorgeous set of
copper metal and black silicone
cooking utensils on Amazon

Anyone who cooks would likely be delighted to receive a set of these good-looking, durable, well-designed, nonstick pans. As a bonus, the company's packaging is attractive and perfect for gift-giving.

For an even more special gift, consider adding this set of beautiful set of copper cooking utensils with black silicone tips. I think they would look absolutely stunning with Copper Chef Black Diamond or original CC pans, or even similar pans from competing brands.

I admit that I'm really tempted to put these on my holiday wish list, even though I already own plenty of perfectly functional utensils suitable for nonstick pans. But they're so freakin' pretty. And they look as though they were custom designed to go with the Black Diamond pans, don't they?

If you prefer round pans to square ones, this Copper Chef Black Diamond 10-piece set is another excellent choice. It comes with 8-inch and 10-inch round skillets with curved sides (to make stirring foods and sliding or flipping omelets easier), a 2-quart sauce pan, a 4.5-quart casserole pan, three metal-rimmed tempered glass lids that can be mixed and matched to fit all four pans, plus a roasting rack and a nonstick-compatible serving spoon and slotted spatula. My husband and I both think we'd get a lot of use out of this set, which would complement our existing pieces nicely, and we hope to be able to add these pots and pans to our collection eventually.

Either set would be a wonderful gift for someone special — including yourself!

Care and Cleaning Tips

The manufacturer says these pans are dishwasher safe. However, I strongly recommend hand washing these (which is a breeze, using just a regular or silicone sponge and hot, soapy water as soon as the pan cools, or after soaking if you don't want to wash soon after using). Dishwasher detergent is abrasive, which is why glasses that are washed in the dishwasher frequently will become cloudy over time. The cloudiness is actually a result of the detergent gradually etching the surface of the glass!

When I noticed that my husband had repeatedly burned spilled Sloppy Joe mixture (and who knows what else) onto the underside of one of our original Copper Chef fry pans without cleaning off the burned-on food residue, I discovered the hard way that a Scotchbrite or similar scrubby sponge is too abrasive for cleaning the CeramiTech nonstick coating, which covers both the inside and outside of the Copper Chef pans (other than the stainless steel induction plate and handle). Also, if you use a steel wool pad to scour the induction plate on the bottom of the pan and don't take care to keep the steel wool away from the CeramiTech coating, the metal fibers in the pad will quickly remove the nonstick coating right down to the metal underneath.
Bottoms of original and Black Diamond Copper Chef nonstick fry pans after cleaning correctly and incorrectly
©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved

Pan on the left: Original Copper Chef fry pan
with repeatedly burned-on food, cleaned with
a scrubber sponge, plus overzealous scouring
of the built-in stainless steel induction plate
with steel wool scouring pan.

Pan on the right: Copper Chef Black Diamond pan,
cleaned with regular or silicone sponge, induction plate
scoured with steel wool pad. I scoured the perimeter of the
stainless steel induction plate to avoid accidentally
scouring off the nonstick coating on the surrounding areas.

Similarly, if you want the CeramiTech coating on your pans to retain its nonstick properties as long as possible, I recommend using only plastic or silicone cooking utensils designed for non-stick cookware with these pans, something Tristar, which manufactures Copper Chef and other cookware brands, also advises.

Closeup view of inside of Copper Chef Black Diamond nonstick grill pan
Close-up shot of the ridged interior bottom
 of the nonstick grill pan
©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved

As you can see from this close-up of our grill pan, our Copper Chef Black Diamond pans — which have been in heavy, daily use for a long time now — not only still perform beautifully but also hold up remarkably well, as long as you care for them properly!

The Inexpensive, DIY Pot and Lid Storage Rack My Husband Built for Our Copper Ceramic Nonstick Cookware

When our collection of copper ceramic nonstick coated pans continued to expand, my husband — my very own MacGyver — put together an inexpensive, space-saving pot rack next to our stove, using just leftover wood strips and some coat hooks. Sadly, the beautiful, half-round, French-looking wrought iron pot rack I had purchased long ago for my Manhattan apartment doesn't work in our ranch-style home now. (Not only do we have many more pots and pans to store, but we also have only a short, narrow "mini hallway" between the stove and the side entrance to our house, which opens into our kitchen. So, our pot rack needs to be fairly flush to the wall to allow the door to open.)

One of the things I really like about his design it that, because each coat hook has an upper and a lower hook, the lids to our collection of nonstick pots and pans now have a convenient "home" for storage when they're not in use, since the glass lids can't be stacked. As you can see, it even holds our two large stainless steel mesh spatter shields!

It was meant for functionality rather than looks, but you could easily stain and varnish the wood, and even use a router to shape a scalloped edge, if you like.
Homemade wall-mounted rack for storing pots, pans and lids
My clever husband's inexpensive DIY pot rack
for our nonstick pans, lids and spatter screens
©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved

Happy nonstick cooking!

Copper Chef Black Diamond Nonstick Cookware reviewed by
Margaret Schindel


You'll find a wide range of other reliable product reviews from our Review This Reviews contributors at ReviewThisProductReviews.com.


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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Easily Increase Your Vegetable Intake with a Spiralizer

how to make zucchini noodles with a vegetable spiralizer
Image by Lou of Lou's Designs
If you're looking to increase your vegetable intake or reduce some of the heavy carbs like pasta from your diet then a spiralizer could be the answer.  Let me review why I think you'll adore having a vegetable spiralizer - I personally love mine, I don't know why I didn't get one sooner.

At the time of writing this I'm doing the Arbonne 30 Day Plan to Healthy Living and Beyond and basically that means that (for this month at least) I can't eat pasta, I can eat zucchini however ... enter zoodles! 

I have been meaning to try and made zoodles aka zucchini noodles for ages which is the whole reason I purchased my vegetable spiralizer.

Making the zucchini noodles was so easy and I'm now seeing lots of other recipes using other vegetables in place of pasta.  What a cool way of getting your child to eat more vegetables than to make their spaghetti bolognaise with zoodles?

So my vegetable spiralizer came with three different blades like the Paderno World Cuisine one below, but you can also get them with 7 blades, Amazon's best selling vegetable spiralizer comes with 7 blades and is the second one featured.




The actual one that I have doesn't seem to be available online which is why I've given you two alternatives.  Now I've only used the blade to made noodles so I'd just get the 3 blade one personally, but...

They were super easy to make you simply placed the zucchini (or vegetable of choice) on the spiky guard, making sure that the other end is in the middle of the round thing that is going to basically core your zucchini so that it looks like a very weird toadstool after the noodles are all made.

The next step is to simply turn the handle, however if that is all you do you won't get very long noodles, you'll just get little curls (they don't say that in the instructions).  What you need to do is as you're turning the handle you need to also be applying a gentle pressure inwards (towards the vegetable) then it will work beautifully.

It is super quick and I simply popped the zoodles into boiling water for a few minutes - basically treating them like fresh pasta noodles.  I've since been told of other ways of cooking them that involve almost sauteing them in coconut oil, but I haven't tried that (and probably won't).

how to make zucchini noodles so that your kids want to eat their vegetables
Image by Louanne Cox, Arbonne Independent Consultant

I would recommend starting with zucchini as it's quite a bland vegetable which makes it ideal to replace spaghetti.  I would also recommend a pinch of salt in the water when cooking it, I didn't do this the first time and it was much better when I did do it.

You can use sweet potato, carrot, parsnips and who knows what other vegetable, just use your imagination.

I will be trying out sweet potato next as I think that will go really well with a number of dishes I enjoy.

Have you ever tired zoodles or thought about making them?  If so then why wait, just do it as Nike would say!

Let me know in the comments if you've tried any other vegetables as I'd love to hear how they went.


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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Thoughtful Thanksgiving Hostess Gifts

You're invited out to Thanksgiving dinner! Here are five thoughtful gifts your hostess really wants.

Reviewing Gifts Your Hostess Really Wants


You've been invited to a friend or family member's house for Thanksgiving dinner. Lucky you! So now you have a dilemma: what would be the perfect hostess gift to say thank you for the hospitality?

To make your job easier, I've  chosen five different gifts that I'd love to receive if I were serving as your Thanksgiving hostess this year. While your hostess may not have the same tastes that I have, I think there should be an idea or two here that will work to elicit a "Thanks for being so thoughtful!" response from your hostess.








Give the Gift of a Seasonal Spa Treatment


The Gift of a Seasonal Spa Treatment For Your Thanksgiving Hostess | ButterCosmetics on Etsy
ButterCosmetics on Etsy
Who wouldn't need a spa treatment following a busy Thanksgiving day, or even a long weekend, of cooking, eating, and entertaining? This is a first class gift item, handmade with the best, soothing, healing ingredients you'll find anywhere. Honestly, I'm not usually much of a spa gal, but I would love to treat myself with these bath and lip products. A Thanksgiving hostess gift definitely fit for a queen.


A Gift for the Thanksgiving Cook


Premium Vintage Serving Spoon from MilkandHoneyLuxuries on Etsy, a beautiful, thoughtful hostess gift.
MilkandHoneyLuxuries
Look at this "I'm Thankful For You" serving spoon. Show me a cook who doesn't need another serving spoon and I'll show you . . well, it doesn't matter because any hostess could use an additional big serving spoon at Thanksgiving dinner. And how special is this one? Hand stamped with the words, "I'm thankful for YOU" with a heart, this is beautiful and such a very thoughtful gift! This premium vintage serving spoon is made to order by the creative and well-known folks at Milk and Honey Luxuries. I adore it and bet your hostess will, too.


The Hostess Gift That Keeps on Giving


Pass the blessing along with this Thanksgiving hostess gift, a Giving Platter from DaySpring.
DaySpring Cards and Gifts
Gift your hostess with a plate of your own specialty cookies, candies, or bread presented atop this "Share" Giving Platter. How does it work? The hostess gift arrives on the plate, homemade or even store-bought by you. The printing on the plate says "share," and a simple canvas tag with a verse is included, tied with a ribbon of jute. The verse on the tag begins, "This plate has no real owner, its journey never ends. It travels on a spontaneous path to neighbors... family... friends."

So after Thanksgiving, when life has settled down for a few minutes, your hostess friend can add her own goodies and present the plate to yet another neighbor or friend. Perhaps the plate, eventually, will make its way back with you since, as the verse says, "its journey never ends." Consider this gift idea for a hostess who is known to be a "giver." She'll love passing the blessing along in the future.


A Simple "Thank You" Will Do 


Thank You figurine by Willow Tree and Dayspring, a thoughtful Thanksgiving hostess gift.
Thank You Figurine by Willow Tree
This "Thank You" figurine by Willow Tree on Dayspring would be a beautiful choice for a hostess. She's little, just 5 1/2 inches high, but her message ("So appreciative of all you do!") is a big one that will encourage and lift up your hostess each time her eye catches this thoughtful gift.

Artist and sculptor Susan Lodi creates every figure in her Willow Tree collection with expressions revealed through gestures and absence of facial features, so the recipient can interpret its meaning in a personal way. What a beautiful way to show your appreciation for the kindness your hostess shows you.


Say "Thank You" With Flowers


Beautiful, Fresh Fall Flowers from FTD and DaySpring
When in doubt, flowers are a tried and true thank-you gift for a hostess. This beautiful, fall-colored Give Thanks Fall Bouquet would make a perfect, seasonal choice for a Thanksgiving hostess. More arrangements are available at the link. Good news is that all you have to do is the ordering; FTD delivers!  


How did I do? I hope you've discovered the perfect gift for your Thanksgiving hostess this year. I'd love to know what you chose, so don't be shy about leaving a comment below. I hope both you and your hostess have a very happy Thanksgiving!

~ Susan


Still looking? Check out these Gift Reviews from our Review This! team.





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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Review of the KitchenAid Artisan Mixer

KitchenAid Artisan Review, or Why I Love My Blue KitchenAid Artisan Mixer!


My son gave me my KitchenAid Artisan mixer in Cobalt Blue for Christmas in 2006 and I have loved this stand mixer ever since. Of course the most important reason I love it so much is that my son gave it to me! Second would have to be that it's Cobalt Blue, one of my favorite colors! (My kitchen is Blue and White and Stainless Steel.) But even though that is plenty enough to make it one of my favorite appliances in the kitchen, there is so much more to love about the KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer!

Before I got it, I had 2 hand mixers and a food processor and a food grinder, but the KitchenAid stand mixer actually replaces the food processor and the food grinder for me. In fact, with the bread kneading attachment, it takes away the need for a bread maker, really, since the hard part of bread is the kneading. I use my bread kneading attachment all the time in the Winter when I make bread several times weekly. (It came with the mixer.) So that's 4 appliances in one! Cool, right?

And this mixer is strong! They say it has 325 watts of power. (Whatever that means!) What I know is that it whips everything fast with no problem whatsoever! Plus the head tilts back, so easy to get the bowl off the stand.

And about the attachments: Mine came with a wire whisk attachment that will whip cream in a few minutes with ease, the kneading attachment which they call the dough hook, and flat beater attachment that is for things that are truly hard to mix, like stiff cookie dough, or maybe meatloaf. It also came with a shield to keep food from spattering, and a chute for adding in more ingredients. It also comes with a 5-quart polished stainless steel bowl to add to the beauty of this mixer!

In the reviews I read on Amazon, some people noted that this mixer is very heavy so hard to put away and retrieve. Maybe so, but it's beautiful and so useful that it's fine to leave it out on the counter all the time in a place of honor; that's what I do. In fact if you've seen any of my recipes online, you have most probably seen it in some of the pictures, because I don't put it away, ever. It sits on the counter, right next to the wine. Priorities, you know?

KitchenAid Stand Mixer Colors



KitchenAid Stand mixer colors
KtchenAid Stand Mixer Colors


I love Blue, so my son gave me a Blue KitchenAid Mixer, but they are available in an array of colors to go with any kitchen or kitchen theme. You can see in the picture there are different shades of Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, Black, Gray, and even White. (Yes, they have more than one shade of White.) And there are Stainless Steel and Copper too. Here are just a few of the ones available! White, Black, Yellow, Tangerine, Espresso, Watermelon, Ice Blue, Almond, Aqua, Pink, Bayleaf Green, Cranberry, Blue Willow, Boysenberry, Silver, Copper, Cornflower, Blue, French Blue, Apple Green, Red, Gray, Stainless Steel.


*Note about the KitchenAid Mixers Sale


If you are searching for the sale on KitchenAid mixers, it usually happens in January and July. But you don't have to wait to get a great price on one. Amazon always has great deals and you can almost always work out a way to get FREE SHIPPING. On any item, click "More Options" to see other ways to buy it, including free shipping options.



Video Review of the Best KitchenAid Mixer


See why someone else agrees with me that the Artisan KitchenAid mixer is the best stand mixer! Of all the KitchenAid food mixers, it's the one with the most rave reviews!

Want to see it again, and check out the accessories that come with it? Just click on the link. Happy Cooking!




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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Oven Review

Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Pizza Oven Review
Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Pizza Oven Review

A Multi-Use Rotating Pizza Oven (and more) 


I first had my eye on the Presto Pizzazz a couple of years ago, thinking that it might be a fun kitchen gadget, something I'd use now and then to bake or re-heat pizza. I didn't buy it then because I decided that a one-purpose gadget wasn't a good investment of money or space in my kitchen.

But wait, there's more.

Recently, I came across this clever pizza cooker again, with a new, updated name. Now it's called the Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Pizza Oven. This time I read the outstanding reviews and realized that there was much more to the Presto Pizzazz than pizza. People love this thing and use it for lots of different convenience foods, and prepare food that you wouldn't even think of as being able to bake outside a conventional oven. Indeed, it's not just a one-purpose kitchen gadget, not at all!

So I bought the Pizzazz Plus and determined to test it out for myself.

First We Baked Pizza


First, we tried pizza (makes sense). I bought our favorite freshly-prepared pizza from the deli (actually they're previously frozen, thawed when you buy them, but they look fresh, taste amazing, and we like them a lot). I ended up adding a little bit of time to the recommended cooking time in the Presto Pizzaz Plus instruction booklet and we really loved the result. The crust was perfectly done on the bottom, the toppings hot, and the cheese bubbly. The frozen pizza that I tried later turned out very well, too.

I should mention that there are two heating elements on the oven, one above and one underneath the tray. It's up to you to choose upper, dual, or lower. So if the crust is done the way you like it but your piled-on pizza toppings need a bit more heat, simply choose "upper," add some time, and watch the pizza until it looks exactly as hot and bubbly as you want it to be.

Chocolate Chip Cookies Baked on the Presto Pizzazz Plus
Chocolate chip cookies
baking on the Presto Pizzazz Plus.
Then we moved on to cookies for dessert. Brilliant! I love being able to bake up just four to six cookies from a refrigerated package for the two of us as a quick dessert. Delicious result!

Tater tots make for a quick lunch or snack when baked on the Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Oven
Tater tots make for a quick lunch
or snack when baked on the
Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Oven.
The next day I chose tater tots to fix for a quick lunch. Again, the pizza oven, now a tater tots oven, performed as advertised using the settings and cooking time for "potato patties" in the convenience food cooking chart included with the instructions.

The breaded, cheese-stuffed jalapeno peppers that we tried next turned out great, too.

That night we tried frozen egg rolls to go with our stir-fry vegetables (honestly, we do eat "fresh" most of the time, but everybody's entitled to a little convenience food now and then). Again, score! And no preheating the conventional oven, which sped up dinner prep time considerably.

All the frozen convenience foods that we tried, even the cookies, turned out great. Saturday morning came the big test: cinnamon rolls, the "pop and fresh" kind. I almost didn't try them on the Pizzazz Plus because it seemed so unlikely that they'd turn out, but my husband encouraged me to be brave, to try and see what happens. Once again I was not only surprised but impressed. Eight cinnamon rolls with the recommended settings from the instruction book were a perfect fit and turned out beautifully, as you can see from the pictures below. And yes, they tasted great, too.

Presto Pizzazz Plus Cinnamon Rolls - before.
Presto Pizzazz Plus Cinnamon Rolls - before.
Presto Pizzazz Plus Cinnamon Rolls - after.
Presto Pizzazz Plus Cinnamon Rolls - after.

Presto Pizzazz Plus Tips


Here are seven things about the Pizzazz that are important to remember:

Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Oven with Instruction Book. Utensils not included.
Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Oven with Instruction Book.
Utensils are not included.
1. Place the Pizzazz Plus away from the edge of the counter. It's attractive to both kids and dogs, neither of which should be allowed to operate or even touch it without the permission (and supervision) of a responsible adult. Safety first!

2. Don't walk away from the Pizzazz Plus when it's in use. First reason, you might not hear the "ding" when it's done and, even though the heating coils turn off at the end of the timed cycle, the residual heat may will burn the food (I should have taken a picture). Second reason, see number one above.

3. Using potholders, lift and remove the tray from the Pizzazz when you're satisfied that the food is done and set it on a cooling rack or cutting board to let the food, and the tray, cool.

4. To avoid damaging the surface of the tray, don't use a pizza wheel or knife until you've moved the pizza to a cutting board. See number 5.

5. Treat the tray carefully to make it last. Store it in a safe place where it won't get scratched. Use only utensils that are designed to be used on non-stick surfaces to keep from damaging the surface. Consider investing in a silicone or plastic spatula and tongs (useful for turning tater-tots, egg rolls, etc.) to use with the Presto Pizzazz.

6. Read the instruction booklet that comes with the appliance. Test it using the times and methods on the cooking charts then adjust accordingly based on your own preferences.

7. Don't overload the cooking tray with food; leave space between individual tater tots, chicken nuggets, etc. For instance, six cookies, spaced evenly, bake much better than nine or 10 cookies that are too close together.

But Wait, There's More!


(Did I say that already?) There are many other foods you can bake on the Pizzazz Plus, I just haven't gotten to them all. Besides typical frozen snack foods, cookies, and cinnamon rolls, the instruction booklet suggests grilled sandwiches and quesadillas, and even includes instructions for making s'mores. What's not to like about that?!

When I first looked, I was amazed at how many 5-star reviews this convenient countertop pizza oven had received. Now I know why. The very handy Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Pizza Oven gets 5 stars from me and has earned my "Sassy Susan" Seal of Approval.

Did you enjoy the review? Does this appliance appeal to you? How would you use it? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

QUICK LINKS:
Buy the Presto Pizzazz Plus at Home Depot (Best price as I type this - subject to change)
Buy it at Walmart
Buy it at Amazon.com

~Susan
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The Presto Pizzazz Pizza Oven does more than bake pizza. Use it to prepare convenience foods and snacks, even cookies and cinnamon rolls!




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Thursday, July 16, 2015

OXO Good Grips Liquid Measuring Cup Review

The OXO Good Grips Angled Measuring Cup is my choice for best measuring cup. Read the review to learn what makes it so special.

When you work in the kitchen every day, as most of us do, it's important to have a good, easy-to-use, liquid measuring cup. While measuring cups are pretty easy to come by, just how easy is yours to use? 

Recently, after one time too many measuring water by pouring, then leaning over to read the markings on the side of the cup, then pouring a little bit of the water out, checking the markings again, then adding just a bit more since I poured too much out the first time, I had had enough of that frustrating routine. What I really disliked was having to lean over, contorting my body sideways so I could see the red marks on the side of the cup, then doing it all over again until I got the amount just right. My back didn't like the routine and neither did I.  

That day, after putting it off for much too long, I ordered an OXO Good Grips Angled Measuring Cup

When my package arrived, I couldn't wait to give it a try. I rinsed out the rather odd-looking cup, grabbed the water pitcher, and poured, aiming at the 1-cup mark. Voila!  I got the right amount of water on the first try! Why? Because all I had to do was stand up straight, pour slowly, and watch the target mark on the inner angled surface. When the water got to the target mark, I stopped. Perfect! I had just the amount that I needed. No bending!


Relief! I should have ordered an angled measuring cup a long time ago! 

This 3-piece OXO Angled Measuring Cups Set is a great gift idea.
This 3-piece OXO Angled Measuring Cup set
includes the 1, 2, and 4-cup measuring cups.
This liquid measuring cup is made of BPA-free plastic, has the comfortable OXO padded handle (great when your hands are wet or slippery), is dishwasher safe, microwave safe (except for oils or fats), and includes bright markings in ounces, cups, and milliliters (on the outside only). It's also available in multiple sizes. The three-cup set pictured here is a great package deal and includes one each of 1-cup, a 2-cup, and 4-cup cups with the patented inside markings that come in so very handy no matter what liquid you're using. 

Another feature that I really like about this cup is the indentation at the top, above the handle, for your thumb. It's comfortable to hold and easy to pour. Check out the picture below - that's my hand, my thumb, my OXO angled liquid measuring cup.

The comfortable non-slip handle with indentation for your thumb at the top makes this OXO angled measuring cup easy to hold, easy to pour.
One caution, based on reading customer reviews, is to not use hot oil-based liquids in the plastic cup to avoid cracking or breaking. I wouldn't, for instance, melt a stick of butter in the cup in the microwave as I occasionally do with my old glass measuring cup.  

An individual angled measuring cup or the three-piece OXO liquid measuring cup set would make a great gift for a bridal shower, for mom, or treat yourself. You'll love it and, believe me, you deserve it!






-- Susan Deppner






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