One thing that struck me as I started to cook more was the necessity of good quality tools in the kitchen. While there are certainly many fun “gadgets,” depending on the space you have, I would focus on quality over quantity. Find items that can serve many purposes rather than items that are only good for one use. Here are some products that I can’t live without:
Blendtec Blender – A high quality, high speed blender is a MUST for from scratch cooking. You can mix batters, make nut butters, make soups, smoothies, etc. We had a really nice KitchenAid from our wedding, but it was pretty much only good for basic smoothies and margaritas. My Mom did tons of research between a Vitamix and Blendtec and landed on this one for me for Christmas a few years ago. It has been amazing!
Hamilton Set n Forget Slow Cooker – I have had this slow cooker for almost five years and absolutely love it. You can purchase more fancy (read: expensive) slow cookers, but this one really gets the job done for the price. I love that you can program it and it will do all the “thinking” for you while you are away at work, errands, etc.
InstantPot – I got this amazing electric pressure cooker for Christmas and I am OBSESSED. My favorite use is making shredded chicken from frozen chicken breasts, which I have done often because I always forget to thaw my chicken :/ Really, the possibilities with this are endless…. spaghetti squash in 9 minutes (what?!), hard boiled eggs that peel easy, pulled pork, the list goes on. Another tip: You can convert most slow cooker soup recipes to the InstantPot with the 30 minutes “Soup” function! (Short on space? Skip the slow cooker listed above and purchase this lid to use your InstantPot as a slow cooker too!)
Food Processor – When making so many things from scratch, a great food processor is a must. We (and I think the rest of the world) have the Cuisinart 14 cup food processor. It is a classic, and definitely gets the job done.
Dutch Oven – A solid dutch oven can be used for stove top cooking and popped right into the oven. I have this more basic version from Lodge – use it all the time – and it has worked great. You can, of course, go all out and pay way more, but this works for us. (Home Goods and TJ Maxx are also great places to look for dutch ovens and other cast iron products!)
Quality Kitchen Knife – True Story: My husband was a Cutco salesman in college which means he acquired thousands of dollars in knives, which I have been the beneficiary of 🙂 It was really nice to have so many amazing knives early in our marriage. If you can get your hands on Cutco knives, do so!! However, my aunt got us this amazing Shun chef’s knife, and we are also obsessed. It is so versatile!!
Large Cutting Board – With tons of cooking comes tons of food prep. A large cutting board is a total necessity.
Quality Pots & Pans – We got a wonderful Calphalon nonstick set for our wedding and I also invested in a cast iron skillet. Nearly five years in and they are all still performing great. I think we will probably invest in some new pans in a few years, but these have served us well!
Prep Bowls – I may have a bowl addiction (if you ask my husband!)
Let me know if there is anything on this list that you use, or if you use something that you think I should try!
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