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uses for food processor

I recently inherited a very large food processor with all sorts of blades and attachments (juicing mechanism, etc.) and I'm not sure what I would use it for.

At the moment, I already have an immersion blender/mini food processor which I use for making peanut butter and smoothies. We're also expecting our first baby soon so I imagine we might get into making baby food.

Chowhounds out there, what do YOU do with your very large food processor?

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  1. mayonnaise, pasta dough, pie dough, slicing things in large quantities where shape doesn't matter, grating large amounts of cheese and probably other things I can't think of

    1. We use ours for making "ground" turkey, pork, hamburger, chicken, etc. in addition to dough, slicing, shredding, and the like. The ground meats are not the same in texture as what one usually associates with ground and if you are not careful, you can change meat into something resembling pate.

      1. Shredding/ grating vegetables -- e.g., potatoes for latkes, cabbage & carrots for cole slaw
        Making bread crumbs
        Pizza dough (Bittman recipe)

        1. Pasta dough
          Pie crust
          Shredded zucchini
          Hummus
          Bread crumbs
          I would probably not make most of these items without the large FP

          1. There is a good cookbook currently out of print that I always recommend and it is by Abbey Mandel. Ebay usually has a few, It was originally written for Cuisinart.

            1. Check out this thread; it'll give you tons of ideas: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/766114

              1. In addition to some of the things already mentioned, I use mine to make pesto and bread crumbs.

                1. I use mine to grind up leftover roasted meat, whether it's pork loin, turkey thighs, roast beef, chicken, etc. Then I use the cooked ground meat in place of raw to make all kinds of things. Enchiladas, shepherds' pie, moussaka, tamale pie, you get the idea.

                  1. I just used mine a minute ago to help me make homemade bird suet for our feeders - ha! I used the processor to make peanut butter out of roasted unsalted peanuts, and also to coarsely chop up raisins and more nuts to add to the suet base.

                    In addition to the uses mentioned in other replies, I use mine to shred blocks of cheese with the shredder attachment. I know, buying a big block of cheese doesn't scream ARTISANAL, but sometimes you want shredded cheddar or Swiss or whatever for recipes and a decent cheese bought in bulk size will do and it's much better if you can pick your own favorite cheese that actually has flavor, instead of that tasteless confetti they sell as shredded cheese at chain grocery stores. It's much more frugal (usually) to buy a large block of your preferred cheese and shred it yourself in the processor. I cut the block up into pieces I can pass through the processor's feed tube and then shred. Within a couple minutes I have enough shredded cheese to last at least a couple weeks. I keep the shredded cheese on hand in the fridge in a covered glass container. I also get more control over the quality of the cheese I'm shredding, as well as more choices. Also, shredding carrots for carrot cake, which is an often-requested SO favorite. Shredding by hand has never been my favorite part of food prep, can you tell? The processor saves me.

                    And as others have said, it makes quick work of pie crusts or crumb toppings -- probably my favorite use after years of doing it by hand. I think the pie crust simplicity converted me to FP use, seriously.

                    I also used my FP to purée some of our plum tree bounty last week, and then passed the purée through a fine sieve. I used the purée for sorbets and froze some for later use. I'll probably purée some garden tomatoes, too. I'm sure others will jump in with baby food recipes and tips for purées, too.

                    1. Make gyro meat.

                      Make buckeyes.

                      Totally totally bad for you, but 2 delicious applications!

                      I'm afraid I use my Borner V-slicer for all my veggie slicing needs these days, and a Presto salad shooter for grating cheese. The Presto works better for grating soft cheeses because it's SLOWER (fewer RPMs) than a big honking food processor, so it shaves instead of gumming up. I use the Borner Thin Julienne slicer, which is separate from the V-slicer, for grating veggies, making sweet potato strands for Thai style salads and stir fries, and the best ever hash browns. It's easier to clean, the safety guard is easy to use and utterly safe, and it takes up a LOT less room than the food processor.

                      Ooops, sorry! This is supposed to be about what TO do with a food processor, not what NOT to do with it, LOL!

                      1. Thank you everyone for the ideas and for kindly directing me to links with more info. I’ve never tried to make my own dough or minced meat so will have to give that a go.

                        Now if only I could get it to carve up a whole chicken for me, I'd be all set!

                        1. I grated carrots to make carrot cake and carrot fritters over the weekend.

                          1. I used mine a couple of days ago for slicing up about 3 pounds of onions for my brisket recipe. When making tacos, I use it for shredding lettuce, grating cheese and chopping onions. It's indispensable for shredding potatoes for latkes. It's perfect for making your own baby food -- I used to freeze portions in ice cube trays.

                            I think a food processor is one of those things that you might not long for, but once you have one, you find countless ways to use it.

                            11 Replies
                            1. re: CindyJ

                              That hasn't been my experience. They're big, clunky, hard to clean, and I haven't met one yet that doesn't require you to chop most veggies up smaller to fit down the feed tube.

                              Whereas with my Borner V-slicer, I can slice or julienne (even cube with minimal prep) just about anything without doing any more than peeling it. It takes up about 2x6 on the counter behind my dishrack. It washes off with soap and a scrub brush in a minute or two. And it weighs well under a pound, even when it's in its holder with the two blades and the slicer deck.

                              There are things my food processor does that a mandoline will never do, but I rarely do those things. Making buckeyes and gyro meat is about the only use I have for a food processor anymore.

                              1. re: KitchenBarbarian

                                Sigh! My husband and I agreed that we'll put it on the counter and if I don't use it within the month, then we'll give it away. However, it's so big (and has so many confusing attachments) that I have yet to get out of the bag.

                                I suppose I have to consider my personal cooking repertoire as well. Until now, I have never had to grind my own meat or make my own pizza dough. Hmm....

                                1. re: karinl

                                  A mixer's all you need for pizza dough, but I have to admit I let my Zo do that for me. I even have all the dry ingredients pre-measured in old sour cream containers so all I have to do is weigh out the water, dump in the yeast and oil, and empty a container into the machine, set it on the dough cycle, and let 'er rip.

                                  For slicing, unless you are very very picky about having infinite settings for widths/thicknesses, my Borner V-1001 slicer does it all. You can get slices a bit more than 1/8" thick (3.5mm) and a bit over 1/4" (7mm). It comes with 2 julienne inserts that give you juliennes in the same sizes, plus there are 2 extra julienne inserts you can get for it which give you both a smaller (1.6mm = 1/16") and a larger 10mm (0.4 inches) julienne. That larger is like a steak-fry type of shape - you're limited in how deep you can go because of the design of the V1001 - the rails you slide the insert in will only let you go so low.

                                  The only problem I see with the extra blades is they don't make a storage caddy for them. Which is weird, but whatever. They are imported directly from the factory by only one place in the US that I know of, which is http://www.simplygoodstuff.com

                                  Apparently they CAN sell you an extra V-1001 holder to store the extra blades in, but you can only order it over the phone, they don't have it on their website.

                                  I'm not an employee of Swissmar, Borner, or that simplygoodstuff website (I actually bought all the Borner stuff I have up to now from Amazon), but I waited for literally decades before getting a mandoline, partly because I was afraid of them and partly because the really good ones were (I thought) all REALLY expensive. Plus, I had the Cuisinart, with all the blades, even though I ended up hardly ever using it because of the problems mentioned above.

                                  Then I had to move in with my son due to health problems and my Cuisinart got left behind. I ended up buying the Borner in a desperate attempt to come up with a way to get around some fatigue and dexterity issues, and I regret only that I waited 30 years to get one of these, LOL!

                                  I also have the Thin Julienne slicer which makes super thin shreds, perfect for stir fry, asian salads, and hash browns. I can shred enough potatoes for hash browns for 2 in less time than it takes to peel the potatoes. I don't even have to do the old Julia Child Squeeze-the-water-out-of-the-shredded-potatoes trick, the shreds are so fine, they make perfect hash browns without bothering with that (better, in fact).

                                  If you want super super thin slices they have a separate standalone Disc Slicer that makes slices thin enough to make American-style potato chips.

                                  I've only had the Borner for about a year and a half, and I've already used it for slicing veggies more often than the Cuisinart I've had for 30 years.

                                  Part of what makes this slicer so useful to me is the safety holder for the veggies. It is easy to use and there is no way I could possibly hurt myself while using it. There's been a lot of complaint on Amazon about no seller providing that separately for a reasonable price (it runs about $15 with shipping from the only Amazon source) but it's only $5 or $6 from the simplygoodstuff site and their shipping is only $3 - I think that's their shipping cost, period paragraph, even if you buy a bunch of stuff.

                                  Anyway. I do like my Cuisinart but its limited in how useful it actually is mostly because of the feeding tube issues. If it weren't for that, I WOULD use it more for slicing, but as it is - my Borner gets all those jobs. By the time I haul out the Cuisinart, cut the veggies up in sizes that will fit into the feeding tube, get everything processed, break it down, clean it, and get it put away, by using the Borner instead, I'd have the dish entirely cooked and be lounging with my feet up and a plate of stir fry, watching Netflix, LOL!

                                  EDIT: BTW, whatever you do, DO NOT get either of the two all-plastic Borner graters. These are the Twin Grater and the Hash Brown Grater (definitely NOT the best option for hash browns anyway). I've been told by a Borner rep that they had so many complaints about the Twin Grater that they no longer manufacture it at all. I'm guessing, but have not asked, that the same is probably true of the Hash Brown Grater, because I have it too and it only works marginally better than the Twin Grater. They are still available for sale, probably because there is outstanding inventory on them. DO NOT BUY! Get the thin Julienne slicer for hash browns. And the safety grip, if you don't already have one. Always use the safety grip.

                                  Only Borner products with actual metal blades work well. And they work REALLY well, LOL!

                                  1. re: karinl

                                    Do you have cabinet space where you can store it? Since I got an immersion blender, especially, I don't use my FP as often but there are certain tasks (see above) for which it is really the best tool. I keep mine in a cabinet (I'm blessed with a large kitchen), and pull it out when I need it -- about every 2 weeks, because potato pancakes are part of my regular repertoire of sides during the week, and because I've recently been trying my hand at home-made pizza. Even before then, it was like my large turkey roaster, which I only use about 1/year for Thanksgiving -- the best tool for making large quantities of bread crumbs for stuffing, and while it was out, also chopping up the onions and celery for the stuffing.

                                    1. re: karinl

                                      Rather than deal with all the attachments, I would suggest focusing on the two most people use the most--grater and chopping blade. For me, the chopping blade is what I use 95% of the time, so that's what is always in place when I put the FP away (mine is stored in the hall pantry). With that I can puree anything, make dips, salsa and spreads, pastry and pasta dough, fresh bread crumbs and all the ingredients--except the meat--for pate and meat loaf. Whether you will use it often is based upon the kind of cooking you do.

                                    2. re: KitchenBarbarian

                                      The 3 pounds of onions I sliced in the FP the other day fit very nicely into the feed tube whole, without any trimming. If I'm shredding cabbage or lettuce I do cut it into quarters first, but I'd have to do that with a mandoline as well. As for cleaning it -- well, the bowl and cover go into the dishwasher, and the blades aren't difficult to clean.

                                      I don't keep my FP out on the kitchen counter for the same reason as I don't keep my toaster, stand mixer, immersion blender, bread machine or knife sharpener out -- they'd take up too much valuable counter space and if I don't use them every day, it makes no sense to have them out. I have very deep kitchen drawers where all that equipment resides.

                                      1. re: CindyJ

                                        Which food processor do you have? Maybe they're making one with a giant feed tube now, but I have never seen one that would take a whole potato or a whole onion - at least not the size of the ones *I* buy. They're a good 4" across, usually.

                                        I do have to cut a cabbage into quarters for the V-slicer, but there's no way 1/4 cabbage would fit in my Cuisinart.

                                        1. re: KitchenBarbarian

                                          I have a pretty old Cuisinart -- DLC-7. I just measured the feed tube. It's oval and the opening measures 4.5" by 2.75". I couldn't fit a whole Vidalia onion in there, but medium-sized yellow onions fit just fine.

                                          1. re: CindyJ

                                            That's probably the same one I have. DLC-7? DLC-8? DLC-10? Something like that. I've had it for 30 years.

                                            Can't get a whole potato or a whole onion down the feed tube, it's too narrow. It's the 2.75" width that screws it all up.

                                            Mechanically it's fine. It's this insistence on protecting ourselves from ourselves with the narrow feed tubes that ruins it for me. Even the new ones that are supposed to have wider feed tubes don't really have MUCH wider feed tubes.

                                            1. re: CindyJ

                                              I never used mine for grating/shredding until this summer when I discovered the feed tube is the perfect size for zucchini and carrot, both of which go into my healthy muffins. Once those are all grated, I change to the blade (without washing the bowl) and process the wet ingredients including half the vegetables. Makes it all a lot easier.

                                      2. re: CindyJ

                                        I've had a Cuisimart "Pro Classic" for over 20 years, but I very rarely use it... once a year perhaps. It's in the basement alongside my other rarely used appliances (electric pasta maker, electric rotating vacuum marinator, ....).

                                      3. In addition to the usual hummus and pesto, I use mine to make butter.

                                        With room-temperature cream, I go from cream to butter in about 2 minutes, and rinsing is a breeze.

                                        Just make sure you have some Dawn detergent handy to clean the butter off all those plastic parts.

                                        I agree with those who say that food processors are too big, too complicated, and too hard to clean. But when it's the right tool, it's definitely worth the trouble.