I love to cook. My mother once said that, to be a good cook, you need two things: (1) good recipes and (2) good kitchen tools. Today, I’m tackling the latter of the two: here are five kitchen tools I can’t live without.
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1. My Slow Cooker
I think my #1 go-to kitchen gadget (other than my coffee maker) is my slow cooker.
On the days I have a lot going on, I throw dinner in the slow cooker in the morning and it’s magically ready by dinnertime. And slow cooker recipes are usually really easy to fix – just throw it in the crock and turn it on.
My favorite slow cooker recipe is what I call Salsa Chicken. All you do is put frozen chicken breasts (or fresh – but I keep frozen chicken on hand), a jar of salsa, and chicken broth to cover in the slow cooker. Cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours. Shred the chicken when ready. I use this chicken for all kinds of dinners – over rice, as taco filling, or as filling for enchiladas. You can also add black beans or corn to the chicken while it’s cooking for a heartier meal. Easy and tasty.
2. My Stand Mixer
I have a stand mixer and I couldn’t bake without it. It makes making cookies and cakes much easier. It’s like having an extra hand when baking. I use the blending, whisk, and dough attachments.
To “fancy” mine up, I added baking terms to it using scrapbook stickers. Believe it or not, you can also paint stand mixers!
3. Good Cooking Utensils
Good cooking tools are essential.
You don’t need a lot of them – just a few basics. You should have one good spatula (I like silicone ones – they work great!), one “flipper” spatula (I have a silicone one so that it won’t scratch my non-stick pan), one whisk, and a metal spoon. Those are the basics I use most often and, thus, could not cook without.
4. Cast-Iron Skillet
I’m a big fan of cooking in my cast iron skillet.
To me, the big benefit of the cast iron skillet is that it can go from stove-top to oven. I make cornbread this way all the time. It’s also good for cooking meat with a good sear on it (non-stick skillets won’t give you that same crusty goodness).
The key to keeping a cast iron skillet in good working order is to make sure it’s seasoned. There are plenty of tutorials out there to do this; it’s easy – just rub with oil and bake in the oven. Cleaning cast iron is as easy as rubbing it with salt and wiping it out. Take good care of it and it will give you good food forever.
5. My Food Processor
If you’ve ever grated cheese by hand, you know the value of a food processor!
Grating cheese – or anything, really – is so much easier in a food processor. And home-grated cheese is so much tastier than what you buy pre-grated at the grocery store!
The grating attachment is my favorite – for cheese, onions, or potatoes (the easiest way to make hash browns!). But all the attachments make chopping and mixing easy. I love this guy.
What is your go-to, favorite kitchen gadget or product? What can’t you live without? Share in the comments!