My husband is quite the handyman around our home and can pretty much tackle any project I throw his way, fix broken items and assemble stuff as well. Although he has the ability to effortlessly earn that title, he would also be the first to say, having the right tools make all the difference in the world. I sure love my handyman husband!!!
The kitchen is no different when it comes to the right tools. Of course, I have had the luxury of using some pretty awesome kitchen tools over the years, through Culinary School, working at a high end kitchen store (Sur La Table) and also selling Pampered Chef for over 13 years. But, these days I have pretty much stream lined my kitchen tool collection and use my tried and true and most reliable ones day in and day out.
I’m including small appliances in this kitchen tool list, just like an electric drill and a hammer are all considered tools for the garage, whether they plug in or not. I think that it goes without saying, a well equipped kitchen can make your life so much easier when meal prepping. That being said, I also wanted to point out that your kitchen doesn’t have to be state of the art with the newest and greatest of everything to make it efficient and functional. I actually lived in an apartment for a few years while running a catering business and made the best use of my humble little kitchen.
I currently have 3 favorite Small Appliances that I hope I never have to live without in my kitchen. Obviously, I’m not referring to the major appliances that standard kitchens are equipped with like the refrigerator, oven and stove.
The first one is my Vita-Mix Blender!
This blender is amazing and doesn’t compare to other blenders on the market that claim to be compatible. If you are considering a blender purchase, save your money for this one and I promise, you won’t be sorry. My husband and I use this blender daily, often 2-3 times a day. It makes smoothies like a champ without any effort crushing the ice cubes. I make homemade soup in it, puree all kinds of veggies and fruit too. The uses for this are endless and it works just as great today as it did when I purchased it about 6 years ago.
The next one is my Insta-Pot!
I have only had this appliance for about a year but I certainly have used it a lot in that timeframe. I kept hearing so much talk about this I had to try it myself and I’m really happy I did. The time it saves on cooking food is crazy amazing. I can put 4 completely solid frozen chicken breasts in there with some broth and seasonings and in about 16 minutes, I’ll have deliciously moist and flavorful, fully cooked chicken. I use it weekly for side dishes like Quinoa and Brown Rice and often cook whole Beets or Sweet Potatoes in a fraction of the time it takes in the oven. AND, because you are cooking for less time, it retains the nutrients that often get cooked out with more traditional cooking methods. This is a winner in my book for sure!
Last, but certainly not least is my Kitchen Aid Stand Up Mixer.
In my opinion, this is the work-horse of all kitchen tools! I have had mine for over 33 years and it has never failed me. The only thing I had to replace was the little rubber feet on the bottom that keeps it from scratching the counter. Thats it! This thing is crazy efficient and over the years I have collected a few attachments that I have enjoyed as well. I would highly recommend an extra stainless steel bowl or two and the paddle that has a silicone edge is really great to use for mixing liquid batters. I also really like the shredder attachment for shredding cheeses and veggies like zucchini and carrots. This saves sooooo much time, its unbelievable!
O.K. so now lets move on to the smaller tools that I love in my kitchen and I think you will too! There is no order to this list and for the sake of not being too lengthy, I’ve narrowed it down to only a few that I highly recommend and love using in my own kitchen.
The first one is a Zester.
You don’t know what you are missing if you don’t have one of these in your kitchen! Another name for it is a Microplane and they do vary a bit, depending on the brand name. Having a zester makes it so convenient to zest various citrus fruits and add it to your dishes for optimum flavor. You can also use them for grating fresh nutmeg, hard cheeses and even chocolate for shavings. They do come in different grater sizes but honestly, one size can work for multiple uses just fine. They fit nice and snug into a kitchen drawer and are super easy to clean. When a recipe calls for a tsp. of zest, I grab this and get the job done in a matter of seconds. These are not very pricey at all and you can pick one up at most department stores, kitchen stores and even on occasion find them at places like Home Goods (if your lucky that way).
The second one is my Prep Bowls
Regardless if you use Pampered Chef Prep Bowls or a different brand, these are a must when it comes to meal prepping. I love these 2 cup ones and the lids are an added convenience for storage. The measurements are imbedded into the glass bowls with lines so there is no guessing which also means it doubles as a measuring cup. SCORE!!! These are microwavable, freezer safe and I have even used them in the oven to bake because they are made with tempered glass. I also have the 1 cup bowls but I think I use these 2 cups bowls even more.
The third one is a Silicone Baking Mat
I have to admit that I have several of these because I do allot of baking and I can’t live without them! These make baking almost full proof to keep things from burning and the clean up is amazing. I use these for roasting my veggies in the oven as well and even for any flash freezing that I do in my meal prepping. I also found them to be super useful in my dehydrator to keep foods from sticking to the wire racks. Whoever invented these is a genius and I’m sure glad I learned about these years ago. What a difference they make!
The fourth item is a Garlic Press
No kitchen should be left without a garlic press! This is also a Pampered Chef tool and I personally own this one but Ive also used the ones from OXO and they are great as well. This one has its own little cleaning tool to dig out the peel from the cavity. I love being able to press a clove of garlic directly into my dish or recipe and it magically separated the outer skin from the actual garlic. I absolutely love flavoring dishes with fresh garlic but hate peeling it and this tool eliminates that step for you. A tool like this makes it convenient to add fresh garlic and we all know that the more simple it is to use, the more likely you will actually use it.
The Fifth tool I love and use are these Silicone Ice Cube Trays
If you have been to any of my Live Meal Planning Workshops you already know how much I love these. I have several of them , in several different colors and have several uses for them as well. The silicone material makes them extremely convenient to release food as well as clean up nicely. One of my favorite uses for them is to puree fresh fruit (in my Vita mix) and then pour it into these to freeze. Once they are frozen, I pop the fruit cubes out and place them in a Freezer Ziplock bag to consume in smoothies or even use them in other recipes. I also like to pour leftover morning coffee into them and freeze for my afternoon iced coffee treat, without having a water down beverage. So many uses, I promise, you will love these!
The sixth and last item I want to share with you is about my knives
These knives pictured are made by Shun, and is a Japanese knife that is amazing. I only own one, the 10 ” Chefs knife but that is because I have a mix match of others that do the job. If you could only choose one item to purchase for your kitchen, I would hope it is a knife like these. I have owned this Chefs knife for almost 7 years and only just recently have been thinking I might need to get it sharpened. We use this one particular knife ALL THE TIME! Its crazy to think that it has retained its sharp edge and precision but it really has. These are true quality knives that will likely last a lifetime. This is our “Go-To” knife and there is no other tool to get a Meal Prepping job done faster then a quality knife. I love my Shun Knife!!!
So there is my list of kitchen tools I highly recommend and enjoy using in my own kitchen. Meal Prepping is so much more simple with these tools and I think you will agree with me that simple is always good.