Buying the right kitchen tools can really make a difference in the food that you serve and how easily and quickly you can make a meal for the family. When I married my husband (eons ago) we had a wedding gift registry like everyone else that included a set of pots, china, champagne flutes and that fondue set that we never used. All of the decisions about the items that I wanted for my new home were done in a rush and some of those products ended up being great and others not so much.
As time went on and items started showing too much wear, I made more educated decisions about each item and I researched everything…even a simple vegetable peeler. That’s actually what I love about online reviews- I can avoid making someone else’s mistake. Below are 5 of my favorite kitchen tools. I added a link to almost every item but I encourage you to do your own research so that you can find the best price and brand for your kitchen!
1. Good Knives
Buy the best knives that you can afford. They will last for years and this is something that you will use daily. Don’t buy knives without first holding them and making sure that they feel comfortable in your hand. I have had these knives for 10 years and they still work like day one. You don’t need to purchase a knife set or fill up all the slots of your knife block. Just purchase the individual knives that you will use most. My favorites are a medium sized santoku, a pairing knife and a serrated knife. My husband usually goes for the chefs knife but I find it a bit large for my hand.
Tip: Hand wash your knives. The dishwasher is convenient but the high heat of the drying cycle can damage the rivets of the knife and the blades can also get damaged with the high pressure of the jets, causing items to vibrate and clash against each other. Protect your investment by hand washing them which is so easy to do.
2. High quality Dutch Oven
Here is another workhorse in my kitchen! Le Creuset dutch ovens carry a hefty price tag but it is so worth it in my opinion. If you are only purchasing one dutch oven, choose one that is on the larger side so that you can really get your money’s worth as far as the versatility of the pan. To me dutch ovens equate slow comfort food and consistent results.
Tip: Le Creuset has outlets throughout the U.S. and although all the colors are not always available, the prices are lower.
3. Quality Skillets
I am not a fan of purchasing big sets of pots. You will end up using 3 of them all the time and the rest just take up space in your cabinet. My favorite skillets are All-Clad brand and I have purchased them one-by-one over the years. They are pricey but I have never had to replace them, they cook evenly and clean up beautifully.
Tip: Stores like Homegoods and Marshalls sometimes carry great quality pans at a discounted price.
I prefer stainless steel pans but I do have a few nonstick skillets for omelets and pancakes.
My other favorite tool which is not expensive at all are cast iron skillets. If treated properly you can hand these down from one generation to another. The downside is the weight but the upside is how durable and versatile they are.
4. Baking Sheet Pans
You can find a good baking sheet pan for less than $20.00. My favorite Half-Size Sheet Pan is from Vollrath because it’s the best I have found for the money. I use baking sheets all the time to roast vegetables, which I cook at a temperature between 400 and 425 degrees. Most baking sheets would buckle and then warp in that kind of heat. These brown food nicely and when I am done I soak the pans in a little water and they clean up beautifully.
As an accompaniment to the sheet pan, this cooling rack is my favorite and although it’s main use is to cool cookies, I use it to cook bacon in the oven. This cooling rack fits perfectly into the half sheet pan and I lay a whole pack of bacon on it, cook it in the oven, and avoid all the splatter that occurs when cooked on the stovetop.
5. Cutting Board
Find a cutting board with good online reviews. Wooden cutting boards are also the most gentle on knives and therefor preserve the edge of the knife more than other cutting board options. If you clean and oil your board regularly you won’t have to deal with a board that easily cracks which you would then have to dispose of. Tip: I have also found a lot of good cutting boards at Marshalls stores.
If you cook all the time (like I do) treat yourself to good tools. Think of how much one good restaurant meal is…usually the price of a good pan that will last for many years. Choose your tools wisely and let them help you in the kitchen!
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