Let’s Talk About Kitchen Tools
Kitchen tools are necessary for every cook. Whether you are just moving in, or your kitchen is fully stocked, these tools should be in your kitchen.
Ah yes! The time has come again to get all those tools out for the Holiday cooking. These days are pretty hectic, so it’s important to have your kitchen tools on hand, and that they are clean and in working order.
I’m always surprised to see people buying cooking tools that only do one job. A friend of mine went out and bought a Quesadilla maker, that couldn’t be used for anything else, and she already had several frying pans that were perfectly suitable for the task. That, to me, is a waste of time and money.
So, what I’m going to talk about here are tools that you can use any time of year, and that can be used for many jobs. I have all these products in my kitchen.
Let’s Go Shopping!
I’ve done a lot of shopping for you, found the best prices, and the best products for kitchen tools. This is a no-brainer! You can shop for the products by clicking on the link provided, or the picture, the choice is yours. Do I get compensated? Yes, but not very much – I have to feed my kitchen addiction!
- Stand Mixer
- Food Processor
- Cookie Press
- Cookie Sheets
- Nesco Roaster Oven
- Electric Knife
- Measuring Tools
- KitchenAid Stand Mixer
- If you are going to get a stand mixer, this is the one you want. It has a very powerful motor that will not burn out even with the heartiest dough. You can buy attachments for your mixer that can turn it into a citrus juicer, a shredder, a pasta maker, and even an ice cream maker. We have a citrus juicer and I love using it in the summer when lemons are plentiful. The meat grinder for meats has saved me a bunch of money, and the pasta filler attachment is great for homemade pasta. I have a small kitchen with very limited counter space, but of all my kitchen tools, this is the one I use most and it has earned its place on my counter.
Cookie dough can burn out a hand mixer in a minute, even a good one. Chocolate chips and nuts can bring a lesser mixer to a smoking mess.
KitchenAid mixers come in two varieties, the kind where the whole top tilts up (Artisan and Classic), and the type where the bowl raises and lowers (Lift). If you’re going to be making large batches of dough, and you probably will, the lift series is the way to go.
What can you make in the stand mixer besides cakes?
- Cookie dough, especially the dough for cookies with things in them, like nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate.
- Stuffing is a breeze with the stand mixer. Let the mixer do all the mixing for you. Save your arms for hugging your loved ones.
- Cake! Everyone loves cake, especially with frosting. No tool does a better job with buttercream or meringue.
- Meatloaf – why get your hands dirty when your stand mixer does a better job?
- Mashed Potatoes – if you want really fluffy mashed potatoes, this is the way to go. I don’t have a ricer, and even without one, I still get nice, fluffy mashed potatoes every time.
- Braun Food Processor
I know that Cuisinart is the leader for home food processors. That’s okay, but if you want a workhorse that won’t die, then you want a Braun. This food processor has something no one else does – variable speed. That means that if you just want to chop onions you can, or you can speed it up and get onion puree. Hands down, it’s the best processor in the market. It’s made in Germany, so you know it’s good!
What can you make besides salsa?
- Pie dough – from a cookie crumb dough to a flour dough, this is the tool you want to use. Don’t use the ready-made cookie crumb dough, making it yourself gives you a lot more options. Want a gingerbread cookie crust? Just crush gingerbread cookies, add melted butter and you’re good to go.
- Biscuits – yes, you too can have fluffy biscuits instead of hockey pucks.
- Cookie Dough – if you want to make Spritz cookies, this is the perfect tool for making the dough.
- Cheese – grating a large amount of cheese by hand is a knuckle killer. Use your food processor.
- Puree – make velvety soups for your Holiday dinner by using fresh ingredients that you puree in your food processor.
- Nesco Roaster Oven
- We love our Nesco 18 Quart Roaster Oven. It’s used for my turkey on Thanksgiving and my ham at Christmas. I also have the buffet service and that comes in very handy for entertaining. You can roast your turkey in the Nesco, take it out, then put in the buffet service, and keep your sides warm. Perfection!
- Electric Knife
I have never used my electric knife to slice meat. I use mine to slice bread and cake. You get the evenest slices, without any effort. Of course, you can use it to slice meat, too.
- When you have a lot of meat to slice, say for a roast, even with a very sharp knife, it gets old quickly. An electric knife makes child’s play of slicing meat.
- Wilton Cookie Press
- There are other cookie presses on the market, but, this one is the best. These presses will make dozens of cookies and crackers in minutes. They are simple to use and the dough comes out perfectly every time.
- USA Cookie Sheets
- USA makes the best cookie sheets. These cookie sheets have a textured top that makes cookies bake more evenly and are easier to remove. All the USA pans last forever and are great quality.
Good, Sharp Knives
- Of all the kitchen tools, I cannot overemphasize the importance of good, sharp knives. The easiest way to cut yourself is to use a dull knife. I don’t recommend the “ever-sharp” kind of knives. Eventually, they do lose their edge, and since they “never” need sharpening, they are virtually impossible to sharpen when they do need it. I have both the sharpening steel that came with my knife set, and I also have a sharpening stone. I prefer the stone.
What kind of knives should you have? Get knives with a full tang for balance and durability. Knives that have three rivets are best. Hand wash and dry your knives to keep them from rusting.
What knives should you have?
- Chef’s knife – this is an all-purpose knife that has a lot of uses.
- Carving knife
- Boning knife
- Paring knife
- Serrated knife
- Utility knife
- Measuring Spoons
- It’s best to get the kind of measuring spoons that come with a ring so they are hung easily, and will not get lost. I have the metal ones for durability. These are especially necessary for making cakes as measurements have to be precise.
- Dry Measuring Cups
- Have measuring cups for dry goods. It’s a good idea to have the one with a ring that keeps them together. It’s also a good idea to have more than one set, sometimes you need to measure a liquid and something dry of the same amount.
- Liquid Measuring Cup
- It’s a good idea to have a good measuring cup in which you can measure boiling liquid. I like the graduated ones so you can see if you are looking down into the cup.
- You should have a scale to weight some dry ingredients, meats, etc. so you can get an accurate amount.
- Ok, this is the part where I tell you you should have a manual kitchen timer. I gave mine away when I got an Amazon Echo. The Echo can time different things and name them. You can say “Alexa, start a 10-minute timer for biscuits” and “Alexa, start a 20-minute timer for potatoes.” and “Alexa, remind me to go to the store at 1:30 today.” and “Alexa, should I wear a raincoat today?” I recommend the Echo Show because you can use it to find recipes, watch how-to YouTube videos, make video calls, etc. This is one of the kitchen tools that do duty all over my house.
- But, if you don’t want an AI for whatever reason, then, by all means, have a manual timer. It’s always a good idea to have a separate manual timer. Sometimes, you need to time more things than you have timer for. If you have little ones at home, it’s a good thing to keep the timer on a high shelf to discourage playing. Timers are also good to use to help your children get chores done on time.
- There are a few kinds of thermometers you should have.
- Instant Read Thermometer – Use this in the kitchen and for the grill. Make sure that meats are the right temperature.
- Candy Thermometer – Use this for getting the temperature of oil and sugar syrup. Get the kind with an adjustable clip, and metal parts that will not melt.
- Digital Probe Thermometer – These are great because you can set it and forget it. With one of these babies, there is no need to constantly open the oven door to check the temperature of your food.
- Oven Thermometer – It’s always a good idea to know that your oven is really the temperature you set it for. If your oven is not calibrated correctly, the oven thermometer will allow you to make your own adjustments.
- The worst thing about cloth mitts is they can get wet. Water is a great conductor of heat. I picked up a cloth mitt off the counter one day, not knowing a bit of the counter was wet. When I tried to grab something out of the oven, I got a nasty burn. I’ve sworn by silicon mitts ever since. I have three kinds, one actual hand mitt, two pot holders, and a pinch holder.
- You need a lot of bowls. You should have at least three large bowls, preferably stainless steel, and several smaller prep bowls. The kind that fit into each other are a good choice. Small silicone prep bowls are also a good idea to hold chopped garlic and spices. It’s also a good idea to have some simple plastic bowls for ingredients that don’t play nicely with metal.
- I swear by my Lotus Organizer. If you don’t have a Lotus Organizer, you should at least have some kind of meal planner, recipe keeper or grocery list manager. It will make your life a lot easier.
- With that said, sadly, IBM ended Lotus Organizer its life in 2017. You can still find it on the Internet if you wish. However, I can recommend both Out of Milk and AnyList as alternatives.
Well, I hope this list of products makes your holiday bright, if not a lot easier!