I hope everyone had a great weekend!
What is everyone doing for Thanksgiving? We have a tradition of doing a Thanksgiving meal the weekend before Thanksgiving where my Mom’s side of the family joins. So the good news about this is I’ll be able to share some Thanksgiving recipes later this week so you’ll have them in time for Thanksgiving. I know people are doing smaller Thanksgiving get togethers this year but I still think its fun, maybe even more so now with more time and less stress, to get in the kitchen and prepare a nice meal even if it’s on a smaller scale. And IMO the best part about a Thanksgiving meal is the leftovers!
I thought it would be fun to write a blog post about my personal kitchen essentials. I think kitchen supplies make great gifts, and a bonus is I bet some of these items below will be on sale on black Friday!
These are the tools/pots/pans etc that I use most often and think they can make anyone’s experience in the kitchen more efficient and enjoyable! So without further ado..
My Kitchen Essentials
This is without a doubt, my favorite kitchen appliance. You can chop, shred, slice, grind, blend, etc to make recipes with ease. My favorite things to make with the help of a food processor : any of my dips (more specifically my charred scallion whipped feta) , homemade nut butters, veggie burgers, breadcrumbs, grating cheeses, the options are endless. Once you own one, I promise you will use it all the time and wonder how you ever went without one! I actually have my Nanny’s (who sadly passed away almost 6 years ago..) food processor and its still kicking! My machine has to be at least 30 years old and it STILL works. It comes with various attachments and can be put through the dishwasher. It’s the best. Cuisinart, sponsor me, I’M YOUR NUMBER ONE FAN.
An investment worth making..We actually scored ours on a black Friday sale last year for $200 when these blenders can cost as high as $600. It really is the best high speed blender on the market. We primarily use ours for smoothies, but they are great for make sauces, pureeing soups, grinding spices, etc. They are also great for making frozen drinks….just saying 😉 This is another kitchen tool that will last forever.
Be still my heart. This was a Christmas gift last year and I am in love. I had been wanting a dutch oven for a while. They are the perfect pot to make soups, stews, roasts, braising meats, or attempting to bake sourdough (which I no longer attempt HAH). The best part about a dutch oven is they can go in the oven as well as be used on the stove top. They are also a beautiful piece to display in your kitchen. The other main competitor to Staub is Le Crueset. They are both very similar in style and look. Le Creuset does have more varying sizes of their dutch ovens, including this braiser pan that is currently on my wish list!
Cast Iron skillets are the absolute best. Another kitchen item that lasts forever. I actually have my Papa’s cast iron skillet. You can buy simple cast iron skillets for cheap and they can be used on the stove top as well as be put in the oven. The 15 inch skillet is a great size for roasting a chicken, making a skillet pizza or cookie, making bacon, hash browns, etc. Everything cooked in a cast iron just has such great flavor and gets a nice char.
Before you click the link and see sticker shock hear me out..These are the best skillets on the market that will last you a lifetime. This set come with various sizes that are great for different uses. A small soup pot is an essential item for heating up soup, or my personal favorite use, making Annie’s mac and cheese! These pan sets go on sale frequently, and if you’re getting married I think this is a must to put on your registry. Some kind, kind person will gift it to you 🙂
Non stick pans serve a purpose for very specific items (Please don’t only own non stick pans..they are not meant for all items!) . Non stick skillets are great for frying eggs, scrambling eggs, making pancakes, omelets, heating up leftovers etc. These are the type of pans that you don’t need to spend a lot of money and can still get good quality. Having various sizes is nice. I never though I would use the really small non stick skillet but I actually use it quite frequently for over easy eggs.
Another must have item. I think you can find good baking sheets for relatively cheap and they are a great item to have multiple of. Whether baking cookies, roasting vegetables, making bacon, there is always a good use for a baking sheet. Some bonus items that I also highly recommend: a wire rack that fits the baking sheet (perfect for draining fried items, cooking bacon on, etc), and parchment paper sheets (these are a game CHANGER, maybe a bit wasteful but they save a lot of cleaning and are just so handy to have).
A staple in all kitchen’s. I have had these bowls I believe since college and they are still one of my most used items. I absolutely love them. I also think its nice to have a set of glass mixing bowls since they can easily be used in the microwave and also as a double boiler for melting chocolate, etc.
Wooden spoons are my favorite to cook with. I’m not entirely sure why but they always come in handy. I like this set because it comes with some fun matching spatulas which are another important kitchen tool!
Repeat after me, THE ONLY KNIFE YOU NEED IS A GOOD CHEF’S KNIFE!! Ok, now repeat after me again, THE ONLY KNIFE YOU NEED IS A GOOD CHEF’S KNIFE. Sorry to be redundant but you are SO much better off investing in one good chef’s knife than buying a whole chef’s knife set. You will reach for your chef’s knife 9 times out of 10. Shun is a great brand, as well as global knives (great quality and a bit more affordable) , and mac knives.
We have approximately 5 microplane’s in our 600 square foot one bedroom apartment. Necessary? Definitely not. Maju says he has acquired them over his chef career, so if you need one, just come on by! But clearly this is a very handy tool. Used primarily for zesting citrus (which a lot of recipes call for) but can also be used finely grate cheese, and great fresh nutmeg. This is the most classic size, but I also have this size which is better for grating cheese.
There are few things more annoying when cooking then a small cutting board that doesn’t fit anything on it in my opinion. I love the look of this wood cutting board because it can double as a beautiful platter for cheese, meats, etc. I think small cutting boards serve their purpose, and also strongly believe that smaller cutting boards should always be plastic. I love the oxo good grip plastic cutting boards.
A simple tool that you don’t realize you need until you have it. No more worrying about lemon seeds getting in your dish. Perfect for squeezing limes for margaritas.
A good set of baking dishes that can double as a serving dish is a win win. I love that with this set the largest pan that would be great for dishes like lasagna, baked pasta, enchiladas, or any type of casserole, comes with a fitted lid that serves multiple purposes. I recently got this staub oval baking dish from the Sur la Table sale and it’s already one of my most used items.
Tongs are a crucial kitchen tool and I like to have multiple sizes because they each serve a different purpose. Longer tongs are great for grilling, and smaller tongs are great for indoor cooking uses.
According to my chef boyfriend this is the best peeler on the market (and also one of the cheapest). Don’t waste your time buying a fancy expensive peeler, this one does the job!
Mesh strainers are great for draining beans, washing grains, washing fruit, straining pasta, sifting flour, and many more uses. I grab for these all the time.
- Whisks: Self explanatory!
- Set of Measuring Spoons: I like having a set that is attached to each other. Also measuring cups, liquid measuring cups, and a scale is super handy to have! A lot of baking recipes will have measurements in grams which is where a scale is needed. It’s great for accuracy.
- Kitchen Aid: A great registry item. There are various attachments you can buy (a grinder, spiralizer, pasta roller, etc) if you’re looking for a challenge. If you are into baking, a kitchen aid is very essential!
- Shun Utility Knife: This is my second most used knife next to my chef’s knife. Perfect for smaller chopping tasks like cutting up fruit, slicing tomatoes, etc.
- Bread Knife: If you only own 3 knives they should be a chef’s knife, utility knife, and a bread knife. No need to spend a lot of money on a bread knife, but they do come in handy!
- Loaf Pan: Obviously not the most essential but if you’re into baking bread, more specifically banana bread, or making meatloaf, this becomes an essential item!
- Set of baking pans: Great for baking brownies, cakes, casseroles, etc.
- Springform Pan: This is definitely more of a baker’s item, but you may be surprised at how many recipes call for a springform pan. Most cheesecake recipes call for a springform pan, and if you ever make a baked spaghetti pie you will need one of these.
- Roasting Pan: You may only use this once a year for roasting a turkey. So maybe just put it on your registry and forget about it until the Holiday season hah.
- Slow Cooker: To be honest, I have not used my crock pot since college, but I do think they come in handy especially if you work all day and want dinner ready and waiting for you when you get home. The new and improved version of the slow cooker that everyone seems to be buying these days is the instant pot. I don’t own one, nor do I plan on it, but I’ve heard they are a handy tool!
I think that just about does it! If you have read this whole thing, I appreciate you! I hope this helps inspire some gift giving this season or even just treating yourself to upgrade your own kitchen. I will do another post with more “fun” kitchen gifts. Another great gift is one of these cookbooks!
Enjoy your day everyone!