Over the years of learning in the kitchen, I’ve seen many gadgets come and go. You can hardly flip through the channels without seeing one of those infomercials showing a very helpless person miraculously saved by the newest kitchen appliance (funny article about that epidemic here…though I admit we had that bacon wave when I was a kid..and it made some good bacon)!
I have found, though, that most of those gadgets can be spared. I’d rather have the extra space in my kitchen and extra money in my wallet! These are the items I use more than anything else. They are versatile, affordable, and durable.
#1- Lodge Cast Iron Skillet (Amazon-$23.58)
This holds permanent residence on my stovetop. When the husband first asked me to buy this, I wasn’t easily convinced. I thought it would be too big and cumbersome, and I also thought it was going to be expensive. It is large and heavy, but so inexpensive that I couldn’t tell him no. Surely it was the best purchase of my life. I have made everything under the sun in this thing. Biscuits, cornbread, steak, breakfast, dessert. I’m convinced you can make counterfeit money with it! Not really, but it does make your food taste like a million bucks! If you’re one of the lucky ones who has a cast iron from your grandmother or other family member, I am jealous. And if you don’t have one, change that immediately! You won’t regret it.
#2- KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer (Amazon-$319.00)
I really enjoyed baking with my mom’s KitchenAid in high school. My favorite thing to make was the classic red check cookbook (Better Homes and Gardens) Snickerdoodles recipe. They’re like next level sugar cookies. The cinnamon sugar flavor makes them warm and inviting like Christmas. When I went off to college and didn’t have a KitchenAid at my disposal, the only kind of cookies I would really eat were either Chips Ahoy or the slice and bake variety. Then when I got married, having a nice mixer wasn’t much of a priority. I had a simple stand mixer for a while that got the job done, but didn’t have the heft or power of the KitchenAid. Apparently, Santa thought I was good last year, because this is what I got for Christmas! It has definitely made me more excited about baking and life in our kitchen.
#3- Wusthof Classic 2-Piece Prep Set (Amazon-$99.95)
I didn’t think it was possible to be in love with cutlery, but these knives are irresistible. They’re the only two I find necessary. We’ve had this set for about 5 years, and they are just now starting to get dull. Again, I have to attribute this purchase to my husband. He researches everything, and I mean everything. So when he is insistent on a purchase, I know I should take note, because it’s not something he’s considered lightly. And to date, he hasn’t steered me wrong! Knives can get so expensive, and these aren’t exactly cheap. But they are worth every penny!
$29.92 plus shipping from Amazon will save you hundreds of dollars each year on take-out! While there are countless crock recipes available, and I’ve yet to be disappointed by one, my favorite thing to make is the simplest. Take a roast of any kind and sear it (in that cast iron) on each side. Throw it in the crock pot, along with a quartered onion, 2 cloves garlic, a French Onion soup packet, a Cream of Mushroom soup can, and 2-3 cups of red wine. Set on low and 8 hours later, when you get home from work, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a fancy French restaurant.
#5-CorningWare French White 12-Piece Bake-and-Serve Gift Set (Amazon-$77.42)
At my bridal shower, I received 2-3 sets of bakeware and pyrex. My family said “oh, you’ll be so grateful for those, you’ll use them all the time”! I didn’t know how in the world I could ever want to use all of them so badly that I would actually need backups?! Then I learned that I loved to entertain! And loved to cook huge Thanksgiving dinners for 15+ people! There are times that I need 2-3 ovens to have room for all the things in my French White pieces! My favorite thing about them is that they do look beautiful going straight from oven to table.
So there you have it. What are some things in your kitchen that you could not live without?