Of course, you can also put the Instant Pot -- everyone's favorite kitchen gadget -- to work. I use it to make mashed potatoes -- Marcus' favorite part of the holiday meal and the dish I've hated since I was a kid. (I've always loved Brussels sprouts though. Go figure.) Marcus likes to say that makes me not a true American yet I faithfully make this dish each year.
Some might recommend using a pressure cooker because it cuts down on time, but I prefer it because it concentrates the potatoes' flavor. Russets or Yukon Gold are the best types to use because their high starch content makes for creamier results. Peel and slice those suckers evenly, then slap them into the cooker's steamer basket with a little water in the bottom of the machine and cook on high for five minutes or so. Be sure to use a ricer afterward to keep them fluffy -- not gluey the way a food processor might -- and add plenty of butter and half and half. We keep a strict ratio of half potato/half dairy in our house.
Instant Pot LUX60V3 V3
With an impressive cult following, the Instant Pot has transformed the plug-in pressure cooker into the It gadget of the 21st century. For only $65, it pressure cooks, slow cooks, sautés, and even makes lube. It's got self-regulating safety features and is dishwasher safe although it can be a chore to clean all of its bits and bobs.
It's also not the holidays without traditional green bean casserole with those weird, dehydrated onions on top. I update the dish by abolishing all canned vegetables. You'd be amazed what flavor fresh beans lend to a classic.
Every authority will tell you to blanche most greenery in salt water before cooking it, because the high temperatures and sodium break down the pectin in the cell walls, leaving softer vegetables behind. But it's so retro to heat a big pot of boiling water, and it takes forever. I like to use one of my many electric kettles to boil water at the same time as I heat up more on the stove -- a basic hack, for sure, but one of the most useful time-savers I know of. This way the pot is ready in less than five minutes.
Put a rubber band around the beans so you don't spend forever fishing them out, dump 'em in, and then shock them in ice water a few minutes later to stop the cooking process. Snip them quickly using kitchen shears rather than a knife and cutting board (also a good trick if you're making stuffing). Just don't tell me if you use canned cream of mushroom soup in the finished product.
Bonavita BV382510V 1.0L gooseneck kettle
If you're going to get an electric kettle, you might as well get the most useful one out there. Coffee aficionados prefer this gooseneck variety, at $51, because it gives you the most control over your pour, heats quickly, and is adjustable in increments of one degree.
Oxo Good Grips kitchen shears/scissors
Whether you're snipping rosemary sprigs or spatchcocking a chicken, it comes in handy to have a quality pair of shears made specifically for the kitchen. Oxo's stainless steel ones do the trick, with micro-serrated blades that don't slip and are strong enough to cut through meat bones. It's also always satisfying to separate the blades easily and throw them in the dishwasher after you're finished cooking. Just handle the sharp blades with care.