Kitchen Tools I Love

Friends are always asking about what tools I use in my kitchen.  We all know my kitchen is LOADED with a plethora of kitchen tools/gadgets. Most are probably unnecessary, but hey…I like to collect.  I might need it someday, right??

1. Cast Iron Skillet

Observations/Analysis: Basically, if you don’t have one, you need to go out RIGHT NOW and buy one.  Yes, I’m serious. I use this baby for EVERYTHING.  From pancakes to fried fish, this skillet can do it all.  It also makes a mean grilled sandwich.  If seasoned correctly, it can serve as a non-stick pan. It cooks so evenly and HOT (when you need it to be).  It is also useful because it can go right into the oven if you need it to. I’ve made delicious meats by searing it in the pan and finishing it in the oven.  LODGE is a good brand, and they carry it in several, well known, stores. They last forever, but require a little tender lovin’ care when cleaning them.  DO NOT SCRUB.  This is what I do:  I wash it out with water and use a light scrubber to get chunks of food off.  Then I use a TINY bit of soap to wash VERY quickly.  I rinse, dry completely, and set on the gas burner on low heat until it is completely dry.  Then, I rub the inside with a little vegetable oil and hang back up on my rack.  It isn’t has hard as it seems.  It’s second nature to me now.  If you don’t do those steps, it can rust.  Which, by the way, you can fix too.  I’ve done it.

2. Handle Mitt

Observations/Analysis: Click HERE to see a picture of the item I’m about to analyze. It only made sense to have this as my next kitchen tool that I love. Not only do I use this on the handle of my cast iron skillet, but I use it for all my other skillets as well.  I sometimes will want to throw something in the oven and then continue cooking it on the stove (vise versa).  This Handle Mitt is perfect for that.  Obviously, it should not go into the oven with the pan, but it is great to put on to take the dish out.  I’ve also left it on if I need to move the pan around after.  Such a clever idea.  I know I’ve benefited from it!

3. Cuisinart Immersion Blender

Observations/Analysis: I am continually shocked at how often I use this gadget. It comes in handy for so many dishes.  I’ve used it for salad dressing, whip cream, chopping veggies, soups, salsas/dips, and various sauces…just to name a few. It comes with all the pieces shown for an extremely reasonable price.  Also, ALL the pieces are dishwasher safe.  It really is a time saver in the kitchen.  Instead of pouring a chunky soup into a blender, and dirtying more dishes, you can bring the blender to the soup.  When you’re done, take the blade part off and throw it in the dishwasher! Click HERE to see a demo on Bed Bath & Beyond’s website.  The blender is $49.99, but you can use a 20% off coupon.  I think they might also let you use a $5 off coupon too!  It can’t hurt to try.  I’ve tried other brands, but this IS the best one for the price!

4. Kuhn Rikon paring knives

Observations/Analysis:  This knife is EXTREMELY sharp…so be careful.  However, it is necessary to have sharp knives in the kitchen. Also, it is dishwasher safe.  This knife stays super sharp, and I have only sharpened them once or twice the several years I’ve had it.  It comes with a nice sheath to protect the blade if you keep it in a drawer.  This knife is so versatile, that I really use it for everything.  I keep my two in one slot in my knife block.  Also, they make great gifts/stocking stuffers!

5. Food Processor (any – small to large)

Observations/Analysis: This gadget does SO much.  I have a large Cuisinart like the one in the picture and a small one.  It was a gift from my wedding and I use it all the time.  It is dishwasher safe, so it is very easy to clean!  I use one of the attachments to shred cheese. Buying large blocks of cheese are cheaper than buying shredded cheese.  I also use my FP for salsa, hummus, and making dough for baking.  There are different blades and attachments for all tasks. It also slices VERY fast.  If you click HERE, there is a video by Cuisinart showing you all the awesome tasks you can complete with the food processor.

6. Le Creuset Dutch Oven

Observations/Analysis: I bought my first Le Creuset dutch oven when I was in college.  It cooked so evenly, I had to have more!  There was an outlet by my house that sold these pieces for half price (if not cheaper).  So, it was nice not paying full price.  I still haven’t paid full price for Le Creuset to this day.  The outlet sells the pieces that didn’t make it to more expensive distributors.  Mine had a small paint splattering, which was then labeled “not perfect”.  Basically, it was still the same pan. I’ve cooked some amazing recipes by Julia Child in this Dutch Oven.  You can start cooking with it on the stove and place it in the oven to finish.  The company really stands behind their product as well.  Click HERE and try to see if there is an outlet by you to pick up a piece today!

7. FoodSaver Vacuum Food Sealer

Mine came with all these goodies for $99.99!

Observations/Analysis: If meat is on sale at the grocery store, I usually buy a lot because of the price as many of you probably do. The issue is freezing it. The Ziploc/glad containers work well, but will still get freezer burn. Gallon size Ziploc bags will also have this happen.When you buy large meats you do not want to waste a large container, nor do you trust a gallon size bag to protect your meat for very long. I had an epiphany after my husband and I went to Alaska in July of 2010. We did a deep sea fishing trip for salmon, halibut and rock fish.  They vacuum sealed the fish and flash froze it. I am being COMPLETELY honest when I tell you we ate that fish until August of 2011. We still have some salmon, but I am going to open it at some point to see if it is still good.  When I read the Food Saver manual, it stated that if food is sealed properly it could last up to 2 years. I was very intimidated by the whole process, but this machine is EXTREMELY simple. I will post pictures when I use it, but now that I have it, I can’t imagine being without it. It is going to change the way I freeze my food and save me a ton of money in wasted food. I love love LOVE it!  Click HERE to go to the website for the model I have. There are reviews and product information. They are expensive through the website, but we found our at Menard’s on sale for $99.99.  Shop around…even Amazon can be more expensive.

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