My Favorite Kitchen Tools

Sunday, April 04, 2010

I had a request to write a post detailing my favorite kitchen tools including how much they cost, what they do, and where to get them. I have taken photos of each item, and I apologize for the quality, my camera is broken and so I have taken the photos with my iPhone. I will be getting a new camera very soon, I am just doing a little research first to pick exactly the right one. Anyway, here is a list of my favorite kitchen tools:

1. Bread Machine - I could not live without my bread machine. I make homemade bread all the time and I also use it to make pizza crust. I rarely bake bread in the machine, but rather use the dough cycle to make the dough and then shape the bread the way I want it and bake it in the oven. This bread machine is the second one I have owned. The first one was the same brand - an Oster - just a previous model. I had that one for close to ten years and just before Christmas it broke. I got the new one for $50 at Walmart. Bread machines run from $20 to $200, and you can get them anywhere that sells kitchen supplies. You can also shop online.

2. Foodsaver Vacuum Sealer- The Foodsaver is a really wonderful tool if you want to save money on groceries. The Foodsaver works by vacuum sealing your food so that it stays fresher longer. I use it to freeze meats and veggies. I also use it keep things like cheese longer in the fridge. Vacuum sealing keeps air from getting to your food, which stops the spoiling process. Vacuum sealed food will keep up to 6 months in the fridge and up to 3 years in the freezer (depending on the food of course, the Foodsaver comes with a chart and instructions). I also use this to freeze meals. I got my Foodsaver at Sam's Club, but they are also sold at Target, Walmart, Sears, and pretty much anywhere that sells kitchen stuff. You can also use it to seal non food items, like I sometimes use it to seal my swimming workout so it doesn't get wet! Depending on the model of Foodsaver, they run anywhere from $50 to $150. I have the V2440 model and it cost me $75 on sale, but it is typically sold for $125. I was actually lucky because my aunt got it for me for Christmas. There are other types of vacuum sealers, Seal a Meal is one of the brands, but I don't know anything about it as I have a Foodsaver.

3. Crock Pot (also called a Slow Cooker)- My crock pot is probably the best thing that I have in my kitchen. I use it several times per week, especially in the winter time. You can make all sorts of things in the crock pot and I believe that EVERY home cook should have one. They are fairly inexpensive from $20-$50, depending on the size and the features. I don't believe I have ever seen one more than $50. You can get them at Target, Walmart, Sears and most kitchen stores. Mine is a Hamilton Beach, I got it at Walmart and it is a higher end model, it cost $45. I had a different one, but like the bread machine, I used it so much that it finally went kaput. What I like about mine is that it has a meat probe in it so that it will tell you the temperature of your meat. I would highly recommend a crock pot with a "crock" or stoneware pot and not an aluminum pot, your food will cook more evenly and have less chance of burning.

4. Immersion Blender (also called a Stick Blender)- This is another tool that I could not live without. I have NO clue what I ever did before I had an immersion blender. This is a great tool for pureeing soups, but mostly I use it to make pizza sauce. I also use it to puree vegetables like squash and sweet potato for when I "hide" them in meals. The immersion blender is REALLY useful because it is small, and I don't have to get out my huge blender and all the parts that go with it in order to puree something. I also have less to wash. It makes really nice mashed potatoes too. I got mine at Target a couple of years ago for $10 but honestly, I am in need of a new one. Mine is broken, the stick will not stay on the base so I have to hold it together when I use it. They range anywhere from $10 to $100. I am planning to upgrade to one in the $30 price range soon.

5. Fry Cutter- This is a great tool if you like French Fries. You can cut them to be two different sizes and it cuts the potato in such a way that your fries are all a uniform size. I have tried using this to cut sweet potato fries but it does not work because sweet potatoes are too hard. You can use it, however, to cut celeriac into sticks and also things like beets. I mostly just use it to make fries though. David got this for me for my birthday one year at a kitchen store in the mall. He said it cost him around $25 but he can't remember exactly. Online I am finding them from $10 to $100.

6. Pasta Roller and drier- The pasta roller is nice because it really makes it easy for me to make fresh pasta. It takes all the hard work out of rolling the dough out thin enough. I got my roller for $40 at a kitchen store in the mall and the drier I got at the same store for $20. The drier is great because it dries your pasta evenly after it has been cut.

7. Potato Ricer- This little tool makes the lightest and fluffiest mashed potatoes EVER! It is also essential if you like to make gnocchi. Also, it makes a very good tool for people who like to make hash browns because it squeezes every little bit of moisture out of the potatoes before frying them. I got this for Christmas one year from my mom, but they are sold in pretty much every kitchen store and cost from $10-$30.

8. My Sous Chef Daniel- I just had to put this picture in because he is just so cute I couldn't help myself! And he is quite a good helper in the kitchen! Get them started cooking early, that is my philosophy!

Until next time Foodie Mommies and Daddies, happy cooking!


jessicaliliane said...

Love #8!! SO cute! I'm really excited, I'm going to get a bread machine next week! I'll let you know how it goes!

Cheri Newton said...

thank you!

Cheri Newton said...

how do you cut the pasta?

Cheri Newton said...

how do you even make dough to make noodles? is that something that will require a kitchen aide blender? i have wanted one for YEARS but they never go down in prices. i think i will have to buy a new kitchen appliance every few months :) which excites me.

frenchieliza said...

The pasta roller cuts the pasta for you. I posted the pasta recipe in the post about baked spaghetti, I think it was my second or third post, towards the end of March. I use my kitchen aid, but you can certainly do it by hand or even in a food processor that has a dough blade.

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