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Let’s have some fun. Whether you’re a kitchen prodigy or a well-seasoned chef you’re going to get some value from this post. Before I share with you the 10 must have kitchen items that every cook should have in their kitchen and how to make good use of them let’s discover if you are a prime candidate to have your own cooking show, or whether you’re still having a hard time trying to boil water.
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There are so many kitchen products on the market today that deciding on which ones you’ll actually use versus the ones that will be dust collectors can be a daunting task. Take a look at the 10 kitchen items I feel are essential to have in your kitchen listed below. This list is by no means exhaustive and I’d love to hear the items that you feel are “must haves” or that you simply couldn’t live without so be sure to leave a comment below.
1. Food Processor
To be honest I don’t know how anyone who does a lot of cooking gets buy without a quality food processor. In fact, I felt this item was so necessary that we held a Cuisnart Food Processor Giveaway contest and actually gave away this item to one lucky participant. I’ve also given you 7 great uses for a food processor in a previous article. If you love making homemade dips or salsas or find yourself doing a lot of chopping, mincing, slicing and shredding then a food processor will save you a lot of time in the kitchen. Just make sure you have about 1 to 1/2 cubic feet of counter space set aside to store this item so it doesn’t become a nuisance.
2. Crock Pot
Crock pots also known as slow cookers have a variety of benefits. They allow you to buy less expensive cuts of meat because you can tenderize the meat by cooking them on a lower heat for extended periods of time. They use less wattage than you would use running a standard oven. They are great for mixing leftovers by simply putting them in the slow cooker and creating an entirely new meal. They are great candidates for preparing healthier stews and soups. Overall, crock pots save you time because you can start your cooking in the morning and have a delicious and tasty meal by the time you get home from work. You can even cook ribs in a crock pot, how cool is that?
3. Salad Spinner
I love good salads and one reason I look forward to eating them is because they are much easier to prepare with a salad spinner. It not only washes the greens but easily gets rid of any excess water just by pushing a button. If you’ve ever had to “pat dry” a salad after washing it then you know how little fun that can be. A lot of excess water left on the salad makes it heavy. Salad spinners are my preferred way of getting a perfectly washed salad every time.
A Wok is a pretty useful utility to any kitchen. Why? Because with a regular frying pan the sides are much lower and the surface area is really not as large. With a Wok you have the deep sides which leave plenty of room for stirring. When you do your stir fry you’re not spilling your vegetables out on your stovetop. It has a great capacity and sometimes some cooks will even make their soups in them because its the largest pot they have in the kitchen. It’s a very versatile kitchen aid that is also good for steaming and roasting food as well.
5. Immersion Blender
One of the best things about an Immersion hand blender is its ease of use. It allows you to blend almost anything in bowl or pitcher. It’s also very lightweight and easy to handle. What’s easier than placing a blender like this in a bowl and turning it on. Sometimes either you just don’t feel like it or its not practical to pull out that heavy mixer or blender with its myriad of attachments. Lastly, these blenders are much easier to clean up and some of them can even be dishwasher safe.
6. Kitchen Thermometer
A good digital thermometer can save the day and keep you from serving uncooked meat to family and friends. It takes all the guessing out of knowing when the meat is done especially if you are using ovens that you aren’t familiar with. Uncooked poultry can easily transfer unwanted bacteria to eaters. Thermometers are the easiest way to ensure your food is served at a safe temperature every time. Just because your meat looks good on the outside doesn’t mean that its cooked all the way through and that’s what makes this kitchen item a smart choice.
7. Kitchen Shears
At some point along your cooking journey you will wish you had a reliable pair of kitchen shears around. This is a handy kitchen gadget to have around to cut up a chicken, slicing pizza, snipping some herbs, cutting a piece of twine in two, or perhaps trimming the stems on a bouquet of roses. These shears are not your typical pair of scissors that you’d find on your children’s school supply list, they are much stronger and sturdier. They’ll easily snap a chicken’s bone in two. Once you have a pair of shears in your kitchen you may be surprised at how often you reach for them. The other good thing about kitchen shears is they can also be sharpened so they can serve your kitchen needs for many years to come.
8. Pasta Maker
Having your own pasta machine is definitely worth the extra effort. Your going to enjoy much better flavor and texture that’s just not achievable with dried pasta that you can buy at your local supermarket. Making homemade pasta can be a lot of fun, you get to add your own ingredients and its one of those tasks that you can even employ the help of your children. The hand cranked pasta machine is the most affordable one but you can also get an attachment for a stand mixer but the price goes up from there.
9. Stand Mixer
Stand mixers have definitely evolved overtime but I remember the delight I use to get from scraping the bowl after mom finished whipping up her chocolate cake frosting. If you plan on getting married anytime soon this may one of those items to put on your wedding list as they can be quite useful. You’ll want a stand mixer if you do a lot of work in the kitchen. This gadget is a real workhorse. It’s going to cut through doughs, batters, and whip up eggs and cream like no other kitchen item.
10. Food Dehydrator
A food dehydrator is a low-cost solution to canning jams, jellies, pasta, pickles and salsa . When you dehydrate food you are removing most of the moisture by using low heat. This allows your jarred food to keep for much longer periods of time even while being stored at room temperature. You’re able to capture the essence of fresh and organic food today in preparation for enjoying it at some point in the future. A food dehydrator also allows you enjoy lots of fresh snacks as well as fruits and veggies.
- Wooden Spoon – most chefs prefer the general feel of wooden spoons over plastic, stainless steel or silicone.
- Strainers – Essential tools for straining out liquid and leaving solid foods in tact.
- Peeler – Try peeling a sack of potatoes by hand and you’ll know why you need one of these in your kitchen drawer.
- Whisk - Excellent for bringing ingredients together that typically don’t mix well.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons – Unless your really good at winging it and still having your recipes turn out right you’d better invest in a set of measuring tools.
- Mixing Bowls – A great way to cook up a meal in an easy way without a whole lost of mess to clean up.
- Cast Iron Skillets and Pans – No chemical coatings to mess with and perfect for cooking food over an open flame.
- Kitchen Knives – The kitchen knife is the most basic cooking that you don’t want to skimp on because a good set of knives will make your time in the kitchen much more pleasurable.