Happy Friday, Friends! I’ve been asked many times about my must-haves for a well-stocked kitchen, so today I’m sharing ten, versatile items that I use all the time. I love to try new gadgets and appliances, but these have stood the test of time.
Cast Iron Skillet: If you’ve never had a steak cooked on a cast iron skillet, you’re missing out. A cast iron skillet is amazing for getting the perfect sear on meat because it gets very hot and heats evenly. Plus, it can be used for sautéing, frying, and baking in the oven. Over time, they develop the perfect season, because they aren’t supposed to be washed with soap. Instead, you just rinse it and heat it back up to kill bacteria. I use a cast iron skillet to make everything from biscuits to breakfast hash.
Air Fryer: Air Fryers came on the scene a couple years ago, but have proven to be a fabulous, multi-use tool. The name can be misleading, because they aren’t really a fryer, but more of a convection oven. They can give you that crispy, fried, taste on vegetables, but also can make a juicy piece of chicken or perfectly cooked steak– it’s amazing. It’s an alternative to heating up the whole kitchen with the oven, or helpful when you do have something in the oven and need to cook a side at the same time.
Instant Pot: This is another trending appliance that I’ve been using regularly for a few years now. Last week, I taught my mom how to use it to cook hard-boiled eggs! If you aren’t familiar with the Instant Pot, it’s a pressure cooker and slow cooker in one that cooks very quickly. Here are some of my favorite Instant Pot Recipes:
- Instant Pot Butter Chicken
- Instant Pot Pork Carnitas
- Instant Pot Mexican Shredded Beef
- Instant Pot Healthy Jambalaya
- Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- Instant Pot Chicken Pot Pie Soup
- Instant Pot Pad Thai
Knife Set: Everyone needs a good knife set. Whether you cook often or just love a freshly-chopped apple and cheese, you need a good knife. The key is to keep them in good shape by hand-washing and sharpening them regularly. I recommend a set that comes with a knife block for your counter to keep them easy to access.
Immersion Blender: This affordable tool is a game-changer in the kitchen. It’s a hand-held gadget that blends, purees, and whips. If you have a blender, you might be thinking why do I need another one? An immersion blender is my secret to amazing homemade soups, like my Healthy Broccoli Cheese Soup. You don’t have to pour hot ingredients into another blending container, you simply use the immersion blender in the pot you were cooking in. It works beautifully. I also use it to make homemade sauces.
Sheet Pans: This almost goes without saying, but I couldn’t leave them off the list because I use them so often. Every kitchen needs a few sizes of sheet pans for cooking and baking. You might have noticed that I love things that help making cooking simpler. I would say at least once a week I make a sheet pan meal.
Coffee Maker: I truly should have put this at the top of the list because coffee makes me so happy. I’m not a good cook without a good cup of coffee first. 😉 A few years ago, my family got me a Nespresso machine for my birthday, and it has become my favorite cup of coffee. I love the different flavors and the slight froth it produces. The pods can be expensive, but it really depends on how many people in your house use them. In my house, I’m the only one who drinks Nespresso and Ryan makes a regular pot in our Cuisinart – another great coffee maker. I like to switch up my coffee, and I like it to be fun, so the Nespresso is perfect for that. Someday, I would love to own a state-of-the-art espresso machine that does it all.
Dutch Oven: To know me is to know I love a good dutch oven. Not only do I love the look, but I love the practicality. They transition easily from stovetop to oven, and can be used for soups, casseroles, meat, pretty much anything. I am a big fan of Le Creuset, but have found affordable options that work wonderfully. Don't sleep on baking a whole chicken for your family - it's not as hard as it sounds, and cooks beautifully in a dutch oven.
Crock Pot: Do you need a crockpot? Don't ask me, but ask the decades of families that have relied on crock pots. LOL - I'm just being dramatic, but crock pots are a popular appliance that I happen to love. They give you that dump and go option, and create great flavor with low and slow cooking. It's personally on my favorites list for cooking tender meat, stews, and for heating up freezer meals.
Stainless Steel Pots and Pans: My final favorite to share with you is a quality set of pots and pans. Investing in stainless steel is great because they are non-toxic, pretty, and durable. My aunt bought me my first high-quality stainless steel set and I use it almost everyday. They are great for soups, skillet meals, sautéing veggies, and so much more.
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