I have always had an addiction to kitchen gadgets! I could spend hours in Sur La Table, Williams Sonoma, Target, etc. Even years ago when I didn't cook as much, I would still buy random kitchen tools and gadgets that I really didn't need but SOOOO Wanted! I would take a cooking class at Sur La Table and buy every single kitchen tool they let you cook with regardless of whether I'd ever use it again. Now that I'm cooking daily, I'm finding a use for all of those impulsive purchases and I decided to share my favorites with you here...
(Click on the picture to link to where you can buy)
I love my Vitamix! It's clearly an investment but it's a blender, food processor, and mixer all in one! It has made cooking so much easier for me and I use it every single day. I make butter coffee, smoothies for my daughter, use it to chop anything and make sauces and soups with it. It's extremely durable and so worth the money!
2) Garlic Press
I know it seems like a tiny tool but a garlic press is essential! I put garlic on just about everything and peeling and chopping garlic cloves gets tedious over time. The garlic press is an awesome tool. I even press more than necessary and store what I don't use in a small glass container for future cooking. Makes my life easier!!
3) Citrus Juicer
I use lemon or lime juice on the majority of my recipes. Given the horrible state of my hands, squeezing citrus is extremely difficult for me. I use my citrus juicer all the time and it ensures I get every drop of juice out of my fruit. It's simple and so effective!
4) Panini Press
I can't believe I have this listed here but I LOVE my panini press! A good friend of mine told me several years ago about paninis and I've been making them for my kids ever since! Due to tummy issues, I try to keep my kids gluten free and the panini maker allows the crumbly gluten free bread to adhere to whatever you melt it with and makes a really tasty sandwich. I typically do gluten free bread with pesto, oven roasted sliced turkey, a little slice of provolone cheese and maybe some sun dried tomato, black olives or marinated artichoke hearts. My kids love heating the sandwiches at school and mixing with fruits, veggie chips and hummus and various other "clean" sides. The panini maker is a great addition to any kitchen!!!
5) Immersion Blender
I love my immersion blender! There are so many times I don't want to mess with or clean my Vitamix, food processor or blender. It is the perfect tool for making soups and I use it to blend while the soup is still in the pot. It's also great for quick protein shakes (my son always asks for one after football practice), smoothies and juices. It's easy enough for my kids to use as well.
I was never a tea drinker until about 6 months ago. I tried drinking different teas to sooth my stomach and have become addicted. I drink several cups a day and also pour the tea directly in my big Yeti of water and sip on it all day. This little contraption has been a lifesaver! You can put tea bags or the actual tea leaves in it with hot water, steep for 5-10 minutes and you have 2 cups of perfect tea. You sit the little guy on top of your cup and press down and VOILA! the tea comes right out and you don't have to worry about straining out the leaves. It's Genius!!
7) Silpat mat
I used to think a silpat mat was only necessary for baking...wrong! I use it all the time when roasting veggies, baking cookies, cooking bacon in the oven...it's good for anything! I got so tired of lining every pan with parchment paper (not to mention how wasteful that is) so I bought a few silpat mats years ago and I use them almost every day. They are perfect to keep food from sticking and make cleaning baking sheets so much easier.
8) A Good Knife Set
Nothing beats a good set of knives. A sharp blade, sturdy handle, etc....you can't beat it. Knives are an investment and I fully believe in spending money on a good set and if you take care of them, they will last forever. If you cook a lot, you probably chop a lot and good knives are essential! I love JA Henckels because I believe in good German engineering! LOL!
I have a love for anything spiralized...zucchini, sweet potato, butternut squash, etc. ...anything in the form of noodles! I completely gave up pasta almost a year ago so I have turned to veggie noodles to supplement that craving. Rather than buy pre-made veggie noodles which can get expensive, I invested in a spiralizer and love making my own. I purchased this brand on Amazon and love it because it has different blades depending on the consistency of noodles you are wanting.
10) Mandolin Slicer
I never thought a mandolin slicer was important until a few months ago. I always assumed a good knife was suffice but when I started cooking for presentation and efficiency, I found a mandolin slicer was my best friend. Not only can you slice veggies or fruits in record time but you set the thickness so they are all uniform...the perfect presentation. The mandolin slicer is so easy to use and to clean...again, perfection!
That's my Top 10 must-haves. I hope that helps you decide what you can't live without and what can go on your "wish-list". I'm not a professional chef but I do love to cook and I love me some gadgets!!! They don't have to be expensive or fancy but they are worth it if they make your life easier! Happy Cooking!!