TECH BYTE: Best Small Appliances for Home Cooking


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — The coronavirus pandemic has forced us to stay at home a lot more.

And that, of course, means more home cooked meals.

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Who says convenience can’t be healthy too?

Best Buy’s Nathan Roach says the Ninja Cyclonic Grill is your perfect cooking tool for when you’re spending more time at home.

“Rather than going out and trying to actually grill while it’s cold, it’s raining, it’s snowing, you’ll be able to do everything right inside,” Roach said. “You can cook steaks, burgers, chicken. You can do vegetables, really anything that you want to do, and it allows you to focus on dinner at home, while not having to go out and get dinner every night.”

Not only can you use this grill inside, but it also doubles as an air fryer.

“A lot of them will have air fryers built in,” he said. “There’s a lot of counter top models that not only can it toast, but it can do air frying, it can be a grill, so there’s a lot of great options out there. Even for folks that don’t want to cook. It makes it very easy to use, and it’s something that anybody can excel at.”

Roach says other hot items for some good at-home cooking include Kitchen-Aid mixers, along with Ninja blenders and food processors.

“You can even make soup in some of the blenders that we have now,” Roach said. “Vitamix, for example, actually has a cooking option within theirs, so you can actually blend all of your ingredients together, and make a soup or a stew right there in it, without having to transfer it to another device, which is pretty awesome.”

And of course you can use it to make smoothies too. Blenders are a great for adding more fruit to your diet.

“If we’re not going out as much. We’re not getting out to the gym as much, I think it’s important, especially as we move through the holidays, to make sure we’re doing the things to stay healthy, and a lot of those devices give you that opportunity to be able to keep the nutrition in your body, and really just help yourself continue to move through the next few months.”

With the right device – like an air fryer – fried food can be a little healthier too.

“You can just throw some fries in, make it real easy,” Roach said. “You’re not dealing with grease. You’re not dealing with anything — it’s very similar to an oven. It makes it super quick and easy, and it’s delicious too.”

And if you’re tired of all the clutter on your kitchen counter, the Instant Pot is multiple cooking devices in one.

“We have an Instant Pot now that’s not only a pressure cooker, it’s not only a Crockpot, it’s also an air fryer, and it also has the crisper on top as well.”

Now you have no excuse for making the same meals every day.

You can even control some of these appliances – like the Instant Pot, for example – using your smartphone or tablet.

Now cooking on the go isn’t just for fast food.

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You can watch Emily Cassulo weeknights on News 12 Now starting at 5:30. Emily also does stories on different tech products and issues for Tech Byte, which airs Mondays on News 12 Now. She joined the WDEF news team in September 2016 from News 12’s sister station in Columbus, Mississippi, where she worked as an anchor, producer and reporter. Emily is no stranger to the Volunteer State. Before moving to Mississippi, she worked at WBBJ-TV, covering crime and severe weather throughout West Tennessee. She loves living in Chattanooga, and exploring what the Scenic City has to offer. Emily is a Florida native, graduating from the University of Central Florida with a degree in broadcast journalism and minor in political science. While in college, Emily worked part-time as a reporter/web producer at News/Talk 96.5 WDBO. She broke her first news story there, which made national headlines, and covered the 2010 Central Florida congressional elections and the high-profile Casey Anthony trial. When she’s not busy reporting, Emily enjoys shopping, reading, playing the piano, and spending time with family and friends. Feel free to e-mail her at if you have any story ideas or just want to say ‘Hi.’