Re-envisioning The Blender

By Teresa Cortes

September 19, 2014 5 min read

While the blender typically evokes images of frothy drinks, a recent surge in recipe ideas for the blender proves its capabilities beyond the ordinary fruit smoothie. A common household appliance that many associate with just one task, the blender has evolved into the Swiss army knife of appliances. That is, much like its predecessor of one-stop cooking, the slow cooker, blenders can also be used to fashion an entire meal from start to finish. From appetizer to after-dinner dessert, see just how easy it is to create a wonderful and complete meal with just your blender!

--Appetizers. Recipes for delicious dips and spreads made in the blender are abundant. From hummus to salsa, there is no easier way to customize some of your favorite appetizers than by preparing them in the blender yourself. This recipe, by The Cooking Mom, is an easy-to-follow guide for creating a salsa using your blender.

BLENDER SALSA

1 can (14 ounces diced tomatoes with juice)

1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes with green chiles

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic

1 fresh jalape?o pepper, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon cumin

1 big handful of cilantro

Juice of one lime

Put all of the ingredients in a food processor or good blender. Pulse for 30 seconds or so until the ingredients are finely chopped.

Serve with tortilla chips for dipping. Keeps in the fridge for a few days.

--Salad dressing. Salad dressings are a great way to enjoy healthy greens in a variety of ways. The ease of throwing salad dressing together in the blender makes devouring this pre-dinner salad all the more enjoyable. This Caesar dressing, by Wellness Mama, shows you how to do just that.

CREAMY HOMEMADE CAESAR

1 egg yolk at room temperature (very important it is not cold!)

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon mustard or mustard powder

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, finely crushed

2 teaspoons Worcestershire

2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Salt, pepper and spices to taste.

Whisk egg yolk with blender on low speed. Once creamy, add vinegar and other ingredients and blend until creamy again.

Slowly add oil, stirring constantly until incorporated. If it doesn't incorporate well, your egg might still have been too cold!

--Entree. Perhaps the most popular of blender dinner recipes are for soup. Using a blender, any combination of vegetables and broths can be blended together to create a delicious dinner in no time. This broccoli cheddar soup recipe is a prime example of how you can quickly mix your favorite ingredients together to form a delicious dinner in no time!

EASY BROCCOLI CHEDDAR SOUP

2 1/2 cups broccoli florets, steamed until just tender

2/3 cup julienned carrots

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

1/2 cup grated cheddar (freshly grated is best)

1 cube (or equivalent) chicken bouillon

1 cup milk

1/3 cup olive oil

In the bowl of a high-speed blender that heats (I use a Vitamix), add 1 1/2 cups broccoli along with the carrots, onion, cheddar, bouillon and milk. Per manufacturer's directions, turn on the blender and blend until smooth and hot -- about 5 or 6 minutes. On the Vitamix, this means turning the blender on its lowest setting and increasing the speed slowly to its highest setting before flipping the switch to high. This may vary depending on your blender.

Once heated, stir in the remaining 1 cup of steamed broccoli. Enjoy.

--Dessert. No meal would be complete without dessert. One of the most delicious and easily customizable dessert recipes for the blender is the milkshake. You can enjoy virtually any flavor you prefer by adding ingredients of your choosing. Take this chocolate-chip cookie milkshake recipe, by Two Peas and Their Pod, for inspiration!

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE MILKSHAKE

2 cups vanilla ice cream

3 chocolate chip cookies, broken up

1/4 cup chocolate chips

1 cup milk

Whipped cream, chocolate chips and extra cookies for garnish, if desired

Place vanilla ice cream, cookies, chocolate chips, and milk in blender. Make sure the lid is on tight, and blend until smooth.

Pour chocolate-chip cookie milkshake in glasses. Garnish with whipped cream, chocolate chips and half of a chocolate-chip cookie, if desired. Serve immediately.

The blender provides access to a number of wonderful and easily customizable recipes. Its simple yet versatile function makes it easy to construct a complete meal of your choosing, as seen by the recipes above. So gather your ingredients and let the blending begin!

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