$57 by Fagor
Though it looks like a simple saucepan, a pressure cooker can be your kitchen's best friend this time of year. This is when comforting, slow-cooked meals like Texas-style chili, Asian short ribs and beer-braised chicken tastes best. Pressure cookers are especially handy for speeding up the cooking process for these time-consuming dishes and do the job in one easy-to-clean pot. Here's how it works: As the pressure builds inside the sealed pot, the liquid heats to a higher temperature before it boils (250°F, as opposed to 212°F). When exposed to this super-high heat, food breaks down faster. It not only reduces your cooking times by up to 70%, but it also locks in moisture and nutrients. Meaning easier, faster meals that are actually better for you too. And while you don't need to be a chef to master the process, you can use the same pressure cooker they use in their own kitchens. Fagor, a Spanish brand favored by top chefs, makes a variety of cookers, all of which are safe, simple and highly effective. This six-quart model makes for a good introductory pressure cooker with plenty of room and fool-proof safety features.