These are the kitchen tools I reach for on a regular basis.
Honestly, I couldn't cook dinner without these items, especially when it comes to weeknight meals. They help me stay organized, but most importantly, they are multi-taskers. And necessary for every cook out there. Here are my favorite kitchen tools to help me get through my weeknight cooking.
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When we moved into our first apartment, we had accumulated a lot of mismatched dishwares and plastic containers. After losing most of the containers and corresponding lids, I FINALLY bought my own set and recycled every other container we owned. This was the best decision I have made in my kitchen. I'm using less single-use, zip-top, plastic bags, and it has become so easy to find what I am looking for. While the Rubbermaid set is still plastic, I know they will last me a very long time because these containers are stain-resistant; however, they are still plastic. For a more eco-friendly option, stainless steel containers are a great option, and something I will definitely be ordering in the future to help reduce my plastic waste. If you're looking for more sustainable kitchen swaps, check out my post on sustainable, reusable kitchen essentials you NEED.
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Cast iron skillet
The versatility of cast iron is really unmatched when it comes to cooking. You can use it for both baking and frying. Plus, cast iron has the ability to last forever. When it comes to cast iron pans, my favorite brand is Lodge. Another reason I love cast iron is that it makes a beautiful serving dish. For that, I really like the Finex cast iron pans because of the hexagon shape.
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To continue with cast iron products, an enameled cast iron dutch oven. The enamel coating gives this cookware a nonstick coating and creates a more durable surface resistant to scratches and chips. It also means this does not need to be seasoned like traditional cast iron. I tested out the Amazon brand pot, and I think it's a great budget-friendly option! I like a 4.5 qt. - 5 qt. sized dutch oven.
Stainless steel mixing bowls
Specifically, stainless steel nesting bowls with high walls. I use these to prep vegetables, marinate meats, discard scraps and occasionally make stovetop popcorn.
Do you see a theme here? Ramekins can be used as prep bowls or as baking dishes. Versatility is key!
This may be the most used tool in my kitchen that's not my chef's knife. I mainly use mine to grate aromatics like garlic, ginger or citrus fruits. ...and cheese, delicious cheese.
p.s. It's so much better than using a garlic press.
I've had this one forever, and my only complaint is that it can be hard to clean if you're not careful. However, I love that this is an all-in-one system instead of having completely separate machines. Works great for making smoothies, sauces, and pesto. Once this one quits working, I think I'll finally invest in a Vitamix or Blendtec blender.
Plates are a weird thing to recommend, but a set of oven-safe "plate bowls" has been a godsend in my kitchen. The walls hold the mess, and I can use these to warm up food in the oven.
A stand mixer was not something I thought was necessary because I am not a baker. I was wrong. I use it for shredding meats, beating eggs, whipping cream or egg whites, making crepes and dough to name a few things. If you do any sort of meal prep, this thing is a lifesaver.
Dry measuring cup
This is something I went without for a very long time, but it makes meal prep incredibly easy. Plus, I can measure out my dry ingredients. I prefer metal ones with embossed lettering to ensure that the measurement never rubs off, and I think they last much longer.
A spider is a large basket-like spoon that is great for scooping pasta or veggies out of a large pot. I have a slotted spoon that I use for smaller jobs like beans.
Fine mesh strainers
I have three different sizes, but I get the most use out of the small one. I use it for sifting powder products, catching seeds while straining citrus juice and making poached eggs.
All sizes are useful for cooking, baking or creating additional surface atop your stove. Before cooking, I protect my baking sheets with a sheet of aluminum foil and parchment paper. Again, makes for easy cleanup and keeps my baking sheets looking newer longer.
I occasionally buy spices, whole, because they are more versatile than pre-ground spices since I can vary how much I want to grind my spice if I’m not using it whole. I use an adjustable coffee grinder because it allows me to choose how fine I want my herbs to be ground.
A simple budget-friendly kitchen scale to aid in portion control or precise baking.