I get a lot of questions from brides, new cooks, and recent college grads about what kitchen products I recommend.Β I totally understand that you want to getΒ these purchasesΒ right because, hello, these things are crazy expensive! So here’s a list of investment-worthy essentials that will help chefs of any level feel more confident in the kitchen.
From left to right, top to bottom:
1.Β All-Clad 4-qt. D5 Brushed Saute Pan with Lid:Β This is hands-down my FAVORITE all-purpose cooking pan. It is so wide so you can use it like a wok for a huge stir-fry, and you can also use it as a saucepan for items like meat sauce or a custard base for ice cream. I also like to use it for bi-level cooking for meat, poultry, and fishΒ (stove-top searing, covering with a lid, then transferring to the oven). Take note, it weighs a TON when filled with food so itβ€™s nice to have a friend nearby to help you transfer the food to a serving dish! ;)
2.Β Calphalon 3-pc. Nonstick Unison Nonstick Sear and Slide Essentials Set:Β These nonstick pans are fantastic for cooking eggs along with a dab of coconut oil. Iβ€™m usually not a fan of cookware β€setsβ€ but in this case itβ€™s nice to cook with two separate pans at the same time because Mr. Peaches doesnβ€™t fancy kale and ungodly amounts of garlic in his scrambled eggs like I do. I also own an All-Clad brand nonstick pan which is also great, but to be honest, I think the Calphalon ones are more ergonomic and feel slightly more comfortable in my hand.
3.Β Cast-Iron Skillets:Β These are the cheapest and best tools for grilling meatΒ and poultry indoors for those of us who donβ€™t have outdoor grills. They are able to get SUPER hot so theyβ€™re great for searing meat (just donβ€™t forget to add lots of cooking fat). I donβ€™t recommend them for cooking scrambled eggs or delicate filets of fish because I find that these items stick easily to the bottom of the pan. Unless youβ€™re into that sexy look of diagonal grill marks, I recommend the flat skillets over the β€griddleβ€-style skillets with ridges because they allow the meat to sit comfortably in the cooking fat. Doesn’t really matter what brand you get – just get a size and shape that you like.
4.Β 9Β½-Quart Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron French Oven:Β People always ask me what size Le Creuset pot they should buy and I LOVE the big, 9.5-quart size because of its versatility and ability to cook a LOT of food at once. You can use it to make a huge batch of soup or chili or alternatively as a vessel to cook a huge piece of meat like a leg of lamb, a roast, or whole chicken. I canβ€™t deny that it weighs like a load of bricks but itβ€™s worth it because the larger pots are more capable ofΒ feeding a crowd. I use this pot oven as a substitute for a slow cooker, since my slow cooker has a mind of its own.
5.Β WΓΌsthof Classic Ikon 8-inch Hollow Ground Chefβ€™s Knife:Β Iβ€™m sure you ladies out there can relate with me when I say that most of the 8-inch knives out on the market are hard for our smaller hands to hold comfortably, but this particular one is lightweight, easy to maneuver, and not to mention, super sharp! I recommend using knives with shallow indentations in the blade because they donβ€™t stick as easily to food as the flat blades do.
6.Β Kitchen Shears:Β I use kitchen shears ALL. THE. TIME, i.e., for cutting meat, chopping up salad greens, opening boxes and packages, and other around-the-house stuff.
7.Β Electric Carving Knife:Β I believe an electric carving knife is indispensable when you have a boatload of guests in the dining room and you need to carve your Thanksgiving turkey or a roast beef tenderloin fast. I know meat purists advocate carving meat by hand but trust me, my parents have used one of these for years andΒ no one has ever complainedΒ that their meat was sliced with an electric knife. ;) Make it easier on yourself. This Hamilton Beach one is cheap and works well.
8.Β Cuisinart 14-Cup Elite Food Processor:Β I actually own the 12-cup version of this food processor but I feel a slightly bigger one would be better for instances in which I’m chopping lots of veggies or pureeing a soup. Β I like this food processor because itβ€™s powerful and also comes with a disc attachment for shredding food likeΒ cabbageΒ for coleslaw, cheese, and carrots. The device kind of a pain to clean and store but cβ€™est la vie.
9.Β Traditional Finish Bakeware:Β Okay, this is your first lesson in Baking 101 people. If you like to bake, invest in traditional finish bakeware, NOT nonstick. Marketers love to push nonstick bakeware on customers but nonstick makes baked goods too brown along the edges! Get traditional finish and just grease your pans with butter. Problem solved.
10.Β Metal Half Sheet and Cake Pans:Β Half sheet and cake pans are great for throwing roasted veggies in the oven, and the ridges on the side ensure that food or cooking fat doesnβ€™t spill over the side. Line with parchment paper to make clean-up easier.
11: Stackable Prep Bowls: These are indispensable for measuring out your spices and ingredients while getting ready to make a recipe! Plus they bring out the best form of OCD in you. ;)
12.Β Onion Goggles:Β You can make fun of me all you want, but these things are a LIFESAVER when you’re chopping a lot of onions by hand. I cannot even be in the same room as a sliced onion without tearing up so I am very grateful to have these nerd-a-licious goggles to protect my eyes.
As you’ll notice I haven’t included any fancy kitchen gadgets because the best tools in the kitchen are YOUR HANDS! Get in there, massage that spice rub in the meat, get your hands dirty. Once you get used to it, the feeling of using your hands in cooking is so rewarding. Just make sure to wash and sanitize properly! ;)
For food products and pantry staples I recommend, head over to my Amazon shop.