Whether you’re an every night cook or a once a week cook, you need to have the right tools in the kitchen to save you time and help you prepare the most delicious foods. I would consider myself (at this stage of life) to be a pretty simple cook, meaning I don’t get too fancy with what I make. With that in mind, I created a list of my top 10 kitchen gadgets that I can’t live without on my quest to make delicious, simple, everyday foods.
Everyone needs a good blender…a GOOD blender. When I worked at Whole Foods I spent most of my paycheck and invested in a Vitamix (after being wowed by the two peppy show people). After the initial sticker shock I fell in love with the power, whirl and whiz of this beautiful machine. A good blender can make smoothies, sauces, soups, dips, dressings, nut butters, marinades and more. They can chop, dice, puree, crush, blend, grind, smooth and whip. I use mine at least 3 times a week, making it a must have in my kitchen.
2. Miraculous Garlic Peeler
I don’t even know how this little, simple tool works so well. If you love garlic as much as I do then you need one of these! Peeling garlic is annoying. This little tube of rubber makes peeling garlic quick and easy and it makes no sense how it does it. Simply put a clove of garlic inside, roll the tube with your hand and voila, out pops a pretty white clove separate from its skin. This might change your life.
3. Salad Spinner
If you’re a faithful reader of this blog, then you know how much I love salad. Salad does not taste as good if the lettuce is all wet. A salad spinner, if you’re a newb, is a simple device that spins your lettuce around quickly to remove all excess water, leaving you with perfectly dry, ready to go lettuce. I love this gadget so much I give it as wedding gifts. I hope they like it as much as I do.
4. Good Knives
As one of our wedding gifts we got a nice set of Martha Stewart knives. Before we had these we had a sad selection of mismatched, dull knives that could barely cut a piece of bread. These new, colorful, bright and shiny knives slice and dice through potatoes, squash, lettuce, fruit, breads, cheeses and meats. Make your kitchen life easier by investing in some good, quality knives!
5. Non-Stick Pans
If you’ve ever had a crappy non non-stick pan, then you know how annoying and dumb they are. Stop the scraping and scrubbing and go get yourself a set of real non-stick pots and pans. They will last you through years of fried eggs, pancakes, grilled cheeses, stir frys and hamburgers. And we all love those.
No, not the instrument. If you’re a fan of homemade potato chips, or you just hate slicing things, then you need this clever tool. Quickly slice thin pieces of fruit and vegetables with ease without using a knife and a steady hand. I just recently got one these for Christmas and I’m still learning all of its tricks, but so far, it’s been a huge time saver and makes Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips a whole lot easier to make.
7. Set of Colorful Mixing Bowls
Mixing bowls are a kitchen staple. You’ll use them for batters, doughs, mixes, scrambles, and basically everything else in the kitchen. Most come in a set of three different sizes with a pourable spout. I use mine literally everyday so I can’t not include this obvious, yet necessary kitchen gadget on this list of must-haves. Be fun and get a colorful set and look for ones made out of recycled plastic like these from Preserve.
8. Super Absorbent Drying Mat
This is kind of a smaller one, but in our tiny kitchen I use this super absorbent mat to dry our pots and pans. I used to use towels, but not only did things not dry, the towel started to stink and no one wants stinky clean pots and pans. My mom introduced me to this mat and it magically sucks the moisture out and is easy to clean in your washing machine. A small one, but a good one!
9. Small Strainer
Strainers are great for draining pasta noodles, vegetables, potatoes and other large items. However, I use my smaller, handheld strainer more often than the large one. With mesh that has smaller holes, this strainer makes it easier to drain canned goods, works as a sieve to get seeds out of smoothies, helps remove liquid from shredded veggies and works best for pastas or other grains that would otherwise fall through the holes of a larger strainer.
10. Silicone Baking Mat
There’s nothing more annoying than a freshly baked batch of cookies that are stuck to your baking sheet. All that hard work. All that delicious dough now stuck like glue to your sheet leaving misshapen cookies in its wake. Well, thankfully some genius invented a silicone mat that you put on top of your baking sheet to keep things from sticking. Brilliant! Some even has measurements and a cookie map so you know where to place your dough on the sheet without them forming one giant baked good. Buy a couple of these, you won’t regret it.