It’s funny, looking back on the time in my childhood when I cooked with my grandparents, I remember always having my favorite wooden spatula to cook eggs with and my favorite glass bowl that I would eat my chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in. Now that I am older, I have found that I still have my go to kitchen gadgets. Although my love for using a wooden spatula for my eggs and the look of that glass bowl that held my ice cream don’t quite make it to my top five favorites anymore, they will always remind me that even something so little can leave a lasting memory. This might be one of my easiest blogs to write because these five kitchen gadgets are pretty much used on a daily, if not weekly basis in my household.
My first of five most used kitchen gadgets is a cast iron pan. This should be a staple in everyone’s kitchen. I use the 12 inch pan the most as I find it is the perfect size when cooking for 2-4 people (depending on what you’re making).
Although cast iron does require a little bit more love and care than your typical pan does, it makes a world of difference when cooking your food. Most cast iron pans come pre-seasoned, meaning there is a non stick coating on the pan and is ready to use (instructions on how to season your cast iron pan should come with the pan, if not I would recommend looking online. Super easy!)
My favorite part of a cast iron pan is that the heat spreads evenly throughout. There is nothing worse than a pan that doesn’t heat up evenly causing your food to cook evenly. THE WORST. With that being said, cast iron retains heat so warm your cast iron pan up slowly and you will be ready to go! Cast iron pans are great for searing. I also recommend using grape seed or vegetable oil when searing your meats or poultry as they have a higher smoking point. The options are endless with cast iron as you can take it from the stove top to the oven and from searing some rib eye steak to creating the perfect homemade sauce.
My second most used kitchen gadget is a quality food thermometer. If you’re like me, you cook a lot of meats, seafood and poultry. Whether it be on the grill, stove or oven, you want to make sure you cook your food to the correct temperature.
There are a few reasons. First, you don’t want anyone (including yourself) getting sick by not cooking your food to the correct temperature. Second, there is nothing worse than overcooking your food and having it be dry. Third, because although you might not be a chef or have any culinary training, cooking your food to the perfect temperature will leave your guests impressed.
You want to make sure when finding the right thermometer you are looking for something that is quality. Yes, it might be a little more pricey, however, a quality thermometer means you’re actually getting what you’re paying for. My favorite one I have found so far that doesn’t break the bank is the ThermoPop thermometer from ThermoWorks and is only $34!
The third on the list might take the longest for you to find as this is a more personal piece. The knife. Now this isn’t your regular butter knife or the serrated one you find in your knife block. This is the knife that you can use to do it all. A knife should feel like it is an extension of you. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. You don’t want the knife to be too long because you want to have control while cutting. I personally prefer for the base of the knife to be a bit wider and have some weight to it. A knife that has some curve to it allows me to mince and dice with ease and is sharp enough that can cut through bone when I am carving a chicken. As I said before, this one might take you a little while to find as it is specific to each person, but once you do, you will wonder how you ever lived without it.
Fourth on the list is a food processor and honestly, you don’t need a big fancy one. I recommend a mid size that holds around 5-7 cups. One that is small enough that you don't have to worry about finding extra storage for it, but is large enough to make a few servings of whatever you’re creating. Food processors are a bit different than blenders as they are more geared towards solid food. Because I try to make almost everything from scratch in my house, so I know exactly what is in my food, my food processor is used on a weekly basis. From homemade bread crumbs to pureeing a sauce my food processor is just what I need when I am running low on time and need a little help to speed up the process.
Last but certainly not least on the list is my pasta machine. I told you I make pretty much everything from scratch. Although making pasta from scratch is a little more time consuming than just throwing some boxed pasta in some boiling water, you will see it is well worth that extra time spent. It might get a little messy, but homemade pasta is unlike anything else! It is incredibly fresh, light, and can take an ordinary pasta dish to another level. One great thing about making homemade pasta is you can freeze the left over dough and save it for another time (but let’s be real, there’s never any left over). Homemade pasta is one of my absolute favorite things to make because the whole family gets to participate. (yes, even grown ass men like to help) A pasta machine gives you endless options because most come with detachable cutting heads. This allows you to choose what type of pasta you want to make- fettuccine noodle, spaghetti, you name it! Pasta machines are super easy to store since they don’t require a lot of space and are also very easy to clean as well!
My top five kitchen gadgets help take my cooking to the next level. Using a certain gadget may seem like only a small difference, when in reality that small difference turns into something extraordinary. So with that being said, what’s in your top 5?