If you had the kitchen of your dreams, wouldn’t you enjoy cooking so much more? Maybe you don’t need a brand-new house to have your dream kitchen — maybe you just need better tools.
In my late 20s, I started migrating from eating out every other night to savoring the home cooking experience. I accredit a lot of my enjoyment in the kitchen to having really great gadgets that minimize effort and maximize flavor. This is a list of my personal favorite kitchen pieces that have made me love the experience of preparing delicious dinners.
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These were on my Christmas list 2 years ago, and I’ve relished using them ever since. I previously had glass bowls because *aesthetics*, but I chipped the edges quite often, and that made them just plain dangerous to continue using. These bowls, however, have been dropped, ran through the dishwasher a lot, frozen, etc. dozens of times, and they’re just like new! And because they’re steel, you don’t have to worry about them breaking from hot food or the freezer, like you would with glass.
Click the link above or click here to buy these Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls.
For all the reasons above, stainless is my go-to food prep material. I previously had plastic ones, but when I used utensils to scoop out sticky things — for example, peanut butter — I scraped out little flakes of black plastic, too… YUCK! So luckily, I found these Stainless Steel Measuring Cups, too!
When I first started getting my HelloFresh recipes calling for “zested lime”, I thought they were so bougie… But once I started zesting, I couldn’t stop. I zest lemons in bundt cakes. I zest limes over carnitas tacos. I grate garlic for stir fry noodles. Zesting amplifies the flavor times 10. If there’s one thing you buy off this list, make it this Oxo Good Grips Zester.
Two words for you: MASHED. POTATOES. If you want to make the best light, fluffy, whipped mashed potatoes, then you need this blender. I started eating more sweet potatoes when I learned to make them so delectable! I also use it quite often for baking recipes.
You can buy this KitchenAid Cordless Hand Blender here.
Russell’s grandma got me cooking with this Silpat Premium Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat. Not only is it better for the environment — you can wash it in the dishwasher and reuse it infinitely — but it’s better for your wallet, because it saves you from buying 2 types of aluminum foil and a roll of parchment. And, of course, it’ll save you from replacing sheet pans so frequently — see next item.
In my adult years, I’ve torn through probably a dozen or so baking sheets, because they warped or wouldn’t bake my cookies evenly or both. Recently, I decided that instead of wasting $10 per year every year, it might be better for my food and wallet to buy a high-quality set that will last. Enter: the Nordic Ware Aluminum Baker’s Sheet Pans. Aluminum is your best bet for even heat distribution — translation: all your cookies on the sides will bake as uniform as your cookies in the center. Yum!
Note: To make these pans last a decade, hand wash them only after they’ve cooled. Yes, that means allowing the burnt stuff to dry first, which is admittedly a feat of self-control, but it’ll keep your pans from warping. 🙂
This is the set I’ve used for the past 4 years and aside from majorly burning something on the larger one, leading me to re-order it this month… it’s been great! **nervous laugh** But hey, it’s telling that I wanted the exact same one. I use it mostly to cook HelloFresh dishes, which require anything from sautéing to frying to searing. Calphalon is a very good brand!
Here’s a fun fact I learned in researching frying pans: the difference between a frying pan and a sauté pan is that a frying pan has slanted slides while a sauté pan has straight sides. Also, a frying pan is often called a skillet. Give me a shout-out when you win Jeopardy with this info…
Click to buy the Calphalon 2 Piece Classic Nonstick Frying Pan Set, Grey.
How many times have you cut into an uncooked potato, and you can hardly push your knife through it? There’s a reason why your knife set from college was only $25. Is it time for an upgrade? Definitely! The main reason you need a good knife set is for safety reasons. As the pro chefs will tell you, you’re much more likely to cut off a finger from a dull blade than a sharp one. This is the set I selected it after hours of research about blade composition, durability, and customer reviews. If you want to skip the Google blackhole I fell down, you can trust me and buy this J.A. Henckels International Modernist 14-pc. Self-Sharpening Knife Set.
Isn’t she a beaut?! My favorite gift from my wedding registry 4 years ago was a KitchenAid Stand Mixer. Prior to having one, I didn’t bake that much, because those recipes that call for “20 minutes on low ” just ain’t happening with a hand mixer. If you’re purchasing a stand mixer, the main variable to look at is the capacity of the bowl. It seems to me the bigger, the better, because you can always make a single recipe if you want, but for the times you need to bake a double-batch, you’ll thank me for this one!
Now, I would never insinuate that you “need” anything from this list, but I know these items have made cooking fun & easy for me, and I hope you’ll have fun in the kitchen again, too! You can click the photos or the links in each description to purchase directly from Amazon and have it in your mailbox in 2 days (ordinarily).
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