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    47 Smart Buys For Anyone Who Doesn’t Want To Cook But Has To

    ::groans in "we have food at home"::

    1. rapid defrosting tray so you won't have to put off cooking because your meat is still frozen. Put down the pizza place phone number and get back to your we-have-food-at-home plans. 

    Promising review: "I was a little concerned this was going to be one of those gifts that were hyped up but it’s not. It’s not going to thaw a huge chunk of meat in an hour but I have thawed a chunk of chicken in a few hours. The product itself isn’t very thick which I like as it doesn’t take up a lot of space for storage. It doesn’t warm up, but pulls the cold from the meat, which makes the product thaw (like putting meat in cold water to thaw it faster and not cook it)." —Savannah A. 

    Get it from Amazon for $17.90

    2. A Momofuku ramen noodles variety pack as a quick 'n' easy meal for when all you wanna do is open a packet, boil some water, and then chow down. This is one of my favorite lazy meals and I'll keep buying these as long as they keep making them. 

    person eating noodles out of a bowl
    Momofuku

    I tried out these noodles as part of the Ultimate Variety Pack and haven't looked back since. I want to ALWAYS have these in my kitchen cabinets. Yes, they're THAT good. I'm very lazy and have spent way too much money on takeout in my life, so I'm forever looking for a solution to help me get takeout-worthy food at home for the least amount of effort. These totally fit the bill. I also like to toss chopped scallions on top. I'll even even mix in sautéed veggies and chicken to help bulk up the dish...or just use up the stuff that I have that I know I need to eat. I adore them so much that I even bought my brother a big bundle of them for Christmas and he was VERY excited when he opened it because Momofuku and David Chang's amazing reputation precede them. 

    Get a 15-pack from Amazon for $39 (includes 5 servings each of 3 varieties) or get a 20-pack from Momofuku for $52 (includes 5 each of 3 varieties and three jars of chili crunch). Also check out some new noodle flavors.

    3. A reviewer-beloved veggie chopper can make onion tears and food prep mess a thing of the past! This way, you can actually pull off that Pinterest recipe you've been meaning to make instead of paying Uber Eats $30 for Taco Bell. (Sometimes that's worth it, though.) 

    Reviewer putting a potato on a flip top lid cutter and bringing the lid down to chop it into pieces
    Model pressing down on top to cut an onion

    Check out a TikTok of the veggie chopper in action. 

    Promising review: "Makes life so much easier. I can't imagine chopping onions or bell peppers by hand anymore, and it does so much more. We used to have a Prepworks chopper, which was a similar idea, but you had to press so hard to chop and it broke after not too long. This one requires very little effort to cut through the food and it has a generous container." —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $29.99 (clip the coupon on the product page to save $5).

    4. manual food chopper for quick work of herbs, fruits, veggies, and ice in case your knife skills could use some practice or you just wanna make food prep a lil' more fun.

    It's also dishwasher safe (top rack only!) so cleanup is super simple.

    Promising review: "This is great for cutting lots of veggies super fast. All you have to do is roughly chop down your veggies, toss them in, and give it four to five pulls for perfectly diced chunks for salsa or toppings on eggs or tacos. It comes with a handy cover too so all you have to do is rinse the blade and toss the container in the fridge or cooler." —Kevin B.

    Get it from Amazon for $12.73+ (available in three colors).

    5. A dishwasher magnet so you don't have to question everyone in the household about if the fish turner you wanna use for cooking dinner that's in the dishwasher is actually clean or not. 

    GIF of finger sliding the indicator from clean to dirty
    Sally Elshorafa / BuzzFeed

    Promising review: "I got this because my mother has dementia and she kept putting away dirty dishes 🤦🏽‍♀️. And believe it or not, she has actually been using it and it definitely has been working! So I highly suggest buying this for parents or someone you know who has a similar problem!" —Raquel

    Get it from Amazon for $6.39 (also available in black).

    Also check out a version that's completely silver without the red or green for $20.95.

    6. A trio lasagna pan so everyone in the fam will get their own fave version of lasagna for dinner without *too* much fuss or cooking way too much of the veggie option and then have to see the leftovers in your freezer for the next few months. 

    FYI, you can use these for brownies, blondies, and bread too. This is also great for making several kinds of lasagna at once if you and other fam members have different preferences!

    Promising review: "I loved everything about this pan. It's versatile. I can put three different cake mixes in each well, or meat loaves, etc. I really love this pan! A very happy customer." —Lisa F.

    Get it from Amazon for $16.09.

    7. magnetic stove shelf that's the perfect amount of room to keep your most used spices and encourage you to use all those "hmm, yeah, this is interesting" spice mixes you picked up from Trader Joe's the other week. 

    StoveShelf is a small business and these shelves are built to last a lifetime. 

    Promising review: "This is an excellent buy. The shelf helped me declutter my cabinet and it is an awesome storage space for my more-often-used spices. It is sturdy, easily installed, and attractive. I recommend this shelf." —Pamella R. 

    Get it from Amazon for $37.99 (available in three styles and three sizes).

    8. A Just Spices starter set with eight blends you can use to jazz up your go-tos. It comes with a free spice guide to give you ALL kinds of ideas. For a starter, the Avocado Topping will transform a quick n dirty avocado toast or grain bowl situation. Because I can't be the only one who's exited out of a recipe I googled because it has eight spices in it that I don't currently own. 

    packaging with spice blends
    Just Spices

    The set comes with the following spice blends: Chicken Allrounder; BBQ Allrounder; Vegetable Allrounder; Italian Allrounder; Avocado Topping; Casserole Allrounder; Stir Fry; Mexican Allrounder.

    Get it from Just Spices for $54.99.

    9. A electric air fryer with tons of onion rings and other scrumptious possibilities that'll have you looking at every piece of food you have in the house differently instead of putting on shoes to go through the drive-thru.

    the air fryer on a countertop
    A plate of crispy fritters fresh out of the air fryer.

    Promising review: "Once I started using this, I couldn't stop! I love it so much! It really does get things crispy! I have cooked chicken wings, tacos, zucchini fries, bacon, and more in it, and everything comes out great! You do have to play around with the temp and timing of stuff but once you get the hang of it, it's easy peasy! The digital buttons make it easy and it's nice to have different options instead of just off/on like with some fryers. And it actually isn't too heavy so I can move it on and off my counter easy, too. I think it's a great way to crisp food without turning on my hot oven in the summer! Would definitely recommend!" —willmatic84

    Get it from Amazon for $75.63+ (clip the coupon on the product page to save 20% on select styles; available in two sizes and four colors).

    10. Plus, a magnetic air fryer cheat sheet so you can merely glance at it as a kitchen helper instead of scrolling through your Pinterest board for that ONE recipe. 

    Promising review: "Bought an air fryer several months ago which I haven't used a whole lot because it came with only a few recipes but not enough info on other items to cook. The Lotteli cheat sheet gives you cooking times and temperatures for a lot of your common everyday foods in a magnetized easy-to-read, two-sheet combo that fills in where the air fryer pamphlet that came with the unit leaves out. I also bought an air fryer cookbook but this only comes with specific recipes, whereas the cheat sheet fills in the void for quick basic needs. Very happy with this purchase! 😁" —B. Frank Smith

    Get it from Amazon for $7.95+ (available in two colors). 

    11. A set of silicone air fryer liners that'll even more convince you to go ahead and use that special little countertop appliance to create something that feels and *tastes* extra special. Anyone who's tried to hand-wash the basket of an air fryer will get why these are a great idea. Just pop 'em in the dishwasher!

    Promising review: "I was tired of cleaning the whole air fryer container. They work great, keeping all greases and crumbs inside, and make it easier to clean. The only bad thing (and this may just be me) is the ridges/ripples on the bottom of the inside of the liner. When you try to wash it in the sink, don’t put the stream of water right on those unless you want to take a small bath. Other than that, these are fantastic. My boyfriend also says that it seems to make everything crispier, and we love that." Jordan Hixson

    Get a set of three from Amazon for $12.99+ (available in four color combinations and two sizes). 

    12. A rapid egg cooker to get your favorite breakfast or salad topping *just* how you like it, rather than tossing improperly cooked eggs (for the millionth time). Turns out that the thing you really needed to amp up your at-home lunch salads was hard-boiled eggs. 

    the egg cooker
    Amazon

    Promising review: "If hard-boiled eggs are at all a part of your life, this device will change everything. Reclaim lost hours, catch up on missed TV, reconnect with old friends and family. Anything is possible with the free time you'll find at your disposal as you drop six eggs into this beast, press a button, and then walk away. What will you do? High-intensity exercise? Model building? Learn a second language? I hear your concern. 'What if I become so engrossed in my newfound love of taxonomy that I forget about my eggs?' Fear not, efficient chef. Like the horn of Gabriel himself, the unmistakable tone of this technological marvel could rouse the dead and bring you running to your fresh-and-ready ova's side. The Dash Go Rapid Egg Cooker is what mankind has been working toward since the first roundish stone was shaped into a wheel. Witness the apex of human innovation! Did not love the poaching tray." —J. Mercer Crenshaw

    Get it from Amazon for $16.17+ (available in eight colors). Also check out the double-decker version.

    13. A silicone baking mat might just become your sheet pan's BFF because this'll replace a roll (and then some) of aluminum foil used as a pan lining. I own these mats and have used them for basically every single thing that you could bake in an oven, whether that's roasted veggies, salmon, or really anything from the frozen-food aisle. 

    A reviewer's vegetable and mozzarella sticks cooking on a sheet pan
    A reviewer's croissants cooked on a sheet pan

    Promising review: "I use these mats many times a day. They make cleanup super easy, which is really important in my hectic life. They wipe off easily with just water." —Tasia Lung

    Get a set of two from Amazon for $14.29.

    14. Plus, a set of nonstick, heat-safe sheet pan dividers that'll act like little trays to contain various veggies that cook at different time intervals all on the same pan so there's WAY less coordination. 

    a model holding a sheet pan with four silicone dividers each filled with a different type of food
    Amazon

    Check out a TikTok of the nonstick sheet pan dividers in action. 

    Promising review: "Brilliant. 100,000% recommend them! They let me separate veggies by how long they take to cook so they are all ready at the same time and nothing is over- or undercooked. I love these cheat sheets. They are a great tool for my kitchen." —yule

    Get a set of four from Amazon for $29.99

    15. An instant-read meat thermometer to help you FINALLY cook the perfect steak for a gourmet-tasting meal that you're not paying someone else to make. OR just not give your family food poisoning again from undercooked meat!

    Promising review: "Couldn't be easier to use, really. I tested it with ice water and boiling water, and it seems to be pretty accurate. I've already cooked some steaks using it and they came out perfect. Plan to use it a lot with my smoker and expect good results there too. I love that it has the magnets so I can stick on the fridge, the grill, or the smoker, and it's always handy. And you really can't beat the price at under $10!" —FCC

    Get it from Amazon for $13.99+ (available in two colors).

    16. Some jarred truffle-infused pasta sauce for quite possibly the fanciest take on an easy, reliable pantry meal.

    plate of spaghetti with the sauce
    Amazon

    The Pomodoro sauce is hearty without any spice. And the Arrabbiata sauce delivers the heat. I've tried both of these flavors of Truff pasta sauce and they are SO good. It likely goes without saying but if you don't like truffles, you won't like this. It is VERY truffle-y. I'm also a big fan of the Truff hot sauce from the same brand. Most of the time I make a meal of whatever pasta and jarred sauce I happen to have as a last resort, but I look forward to eating pasta with this delish sauce — even if it's just noodles and sauce with not even a sprinkle of Parm to dress it up! It'll cost ya more than Prego or other store-bought sauces. But it's worth it as a treat!

    Get two jars from Amazon for $29.99.

    17. A mini steamer can help you whip up some easy meal sides in the microwave for when you're like, "I need some veggies," but really don't need to spend $20 on a fancy "bowl" meal.

    steamer with broccoli, carrots, and snow peas in it