Whether you bought your small-scale blender to transform your diet or you were just looking for a cheaper substitute to $200+ high-speed models, there’s a chance you are under-utilizing your purchase.

At this point, you’ve probably realized that anything in your fridge can become a breakfast smoothie with the right amount of frozen bananas, liquids, and determination. But how often to you find yourself pulling out the machine for other jobs throughout the day?

I have good news for you: Your blender can do more.

Your blender can help you create a perfect-sized meal for a party of one, or an easy relish, dip, or sauce for a big family meal.

Before I get into the specifics, it is important to understand that smaller blender models can’t handle all of the same jobs that their heavy-duty, high-powered counterparts can. They aren’t designed to hold any hot (or even warm) contents because there is no way for steam to escape. Wait for all of your ingredients to cool down completely before throwing them in the blending cup.

Read more: Clean A Blender The Easy Way

With small blenders, you can’t stream liquids in as the blender keeps whirring away. You’ll need more liquids than usual to ensure that the blade doesn’t get stuck. You also shouldn’t even leave it running for more than a minute at a time, which causes the motor to overheat. Stop the blender and shake the contents every 30 seconds, if possible.

We’re not trying to scare you, but safety manuals are included for a reason. Read them. Love them.

People may have different opinions about these blenders versus the larger and more powerful models, but there is no debate when it comes to the price, size, and ease of cleaning of smaller blenders. With a few small recipe adjustments, there is little your mini blender can’t do.

Whip up breakfast:

  • To enhance your morning cup of coffee, froth cold milk until creamy and fluffy and pour overtop. If you prefer a morning matcha, blend almond milk, matcha and honey together until foamy and airy.
  • Throw eggs into the blender with a splash of milk, cheese, or both to get light and airy before scrambling in a skillet.

Blend instead of mixing:

  • For thin batters like crepes, muffins, and pancakes, your blender can make cooking breakfast easier. Just be sure not to overmix! Try these Chicken and Herb Crepes or Green Smoothie Muffins. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even go vegan.
  • Blend up a mixed berry compote using any ripe fruit and maple syrup to top your pancakes or crepes.

Juice instead of blending:

  • Turns out, all you need to turn your blender into a juicer is a mesh strainer and a little will power. Here is your complete guide to making fresh juice without a juicer.
  • If you drink more almond milk than water, it might be time to start making your own. Here’s how.

Feed your kiddos:

  • Instead of buying processed and packaged baby food at the store, make your own DIY Baby Food in the blender.
  • Although we’re taking the focus off of smoothies here, if you find a smoothie recipe your kids love, getting them to eat their fruits and veggies becomes that much easier. Here are a few kid-friendly recipes we think they’ll love.

Home-make dips:

  • You’ve heard it time and time again, but store-bought hummus doesn’t hold a candle to homemade. Adding cold water to your recipe lends a bit of extra fluff to the chickpea spread and guarantees a consistent blend. Did you know hummus can have a sweet side too?
  • For the brightest and most flavorful salsa, make it fresh. Throw tomatoes, onions, peppers, and seasonings into your blender cup with any other ingredients you fancy. If you like it on the chunkier side, blend in 10 second intervals to avoid overmixing.

Dress your greens:

  • Using a small-scale blender, you can create unique salad dressings with whole ingredients like ginger, blueberries, or avocado. Make a large batch that you can store in the fridge until it’s all used up. You can even throw in fresh herbs, like in this Creamy Basil Dressing.

Get saucey:

  • Next pizza night, skip the store-bought tomato sauce. Cook this Tomato Sauce in your slow cooker, then blend in batches after it cools. It can stay in your freezer for weeks, ready for any last-minute pasta dinner.
  • Are your fresh herbs about to go to waste? Blend them with nuts, a bit of cheese, and a whole lot of olive oil to make a flavorful, vibrant pesto. Our Parsley Mint Pistachio Pesto, for example, is full of unconventional, yet beautiful flavors.

Make small-batch soups:

  • Making fresh soup for dinner is just as easy as making a smoothie for breakfast. Blend the ingredients together while at room temperature, then heat in the microwave or on the stovetop. Try our Creamy Butternut Squash-Leek Bisque, Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup, or a concoction made from whatever you have in the fridge. In fact, you don’t even need a recipe to create creamy vegetable soups.
  • Because your small-scale blender can’t take hot items, it’s perfect for making chilled summer soups like gazpacho. We’re big fans of our Avocado Gazpacho with Sourdough Croutons, Cucumber Gazpacho with Blue Crab, and Strawberry Gazpacho, to name a few.

Treat yourself:

  • If you’re looking for a light dessert, whip up frozen bananas with milk or almond milk for a creamy “nice-cream” treat. Blend in chocolate chips or chopped nuts to add some texture.
  • For a more decadent end to the day, blend up a batch of milkshakes with your favorite icecream, milk, and any delicious mix-ins. For example, our Tagalong Milkshake and Birthday Cake Shake call for cookies and cake-mix as flavor additions.
  • Addicted to frappuccinos? Save money by whipping up your own. With leftover coffee, sugar, vanilla, ice and milk in the blender, you’ll have a homemade frappuccino faster than it would take to stand in line.

Shake things up:

  • Morning smoothies are all well and good, but we can’t help but want to spice things up in the evening. Keep things light with a Frozen Watermelon Margarita, or go toward the darker side with our Boozy Frozen Hot Chocolate.

A few extras:

  • In a bind looking for breadcrumbs? Blend a few pieces of chopped, stale bread in your blender and let the blade go to work. You may need to shake the blender cup to make sure nothing gets stuck.
  • If you’re making a meat marinade using whole ingredients like garlic, onion or herbs, start by blending the mixture to disperse the pungent flavors throughout. For even more marinating advice, here’s our master guide to whipping up marinades.
  • Because some cooked ingredients may need to cool for long periods of time before blending, it’s a good idea to prep your ingredients ahead of time (even overnight) so they’re ready-to-go at meal time. You heard that right. Another chance to meal prep.

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