It’s been said that if you have the right tools you’ll be able to do your job better. In the kitchen, the right tools can make the job of cooking more enjoyable, safer, and quicker. That’s important for busy families – or anyone for that matter – who want to provide healthy meals for their family. The Christmas season is the perfect time of year to stock your kitchen with time-saving tools, I put together a gift guide of some of my favorite tools along with a few items on my wish-list.
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Gift Guide favorites:
Slow cooker – I use my slow cooker constantly during the winter months (our family’s busy season). I can assemble a dinner meal in the morning, turn on the slow cooker, and come home in the evening to a healthy, home-cooked meal that’s all ready or nearly ready. This one by Crock-Pot holds 6 qts., and has a lid that can be locked in place, making it more portable.
Rice cooker – I don’t use this as much as my slow cooker, but when rice is on the dinner menu it’s a true time saver – especially if it has a delay timer on it, which this one by Aroma does.
Hand blender – My Cuisinart hand blender is another go-to tool for me. I use it for soups; it’s much easier – and not as messy – than transferring hot ingredients to a blender in batches and then returning it to the pot after blending. I can blend everything right in the pot in which it’s cooked. A hand blender is also useful for mixing vinaigrettes and beverages.
Chef’s knife – A good, sharp chef’s knife is indispensable in the kitchen. It makes cutting and chopping fruit, vegetables, herbs, and other things safer, easier, and faster.
Prep bowls – Cooking goes faster when you have everything ready, that includes having individual ingredients prepped and ready to go. That is where a good set of prep bowls come in handy. I have a small set of colored melamine prep bowls that I love and use a lot when I’m cooking. But I like the looks of these stainless steel ones as I could use more than three (the number I have now) and they have lids. Having lids means I can cut and chop some items the night before and have them all prepped when I’m ready to make my meal the next day.
Cast iron skillet – A cast iron skillet can help save time when you have a dish that requires stove-top cooking initially with a finish in the oven. With a cast iron skillet, there’s no need to transfer partially cooked food to another oven-safe dish as a cast iron skillet is also oven-safe. I love my Lodge cast iron skillet and use it often.
Citrus squeezer – I received a citrus squeezer a couple of years ago and find it much quicker and easier to use than a traditional juicer. It gets used a lot. This one by Zulay Kitchen has two different sizes that would work for both limes and lemons.
Gift Guide Wish List
Spiralizer – I’ve wanted to try a spiralizer for some time now as I often see recipes using zucchini “noodles” or other spiralized veggies. They look so good, but would take a long time to cut with a knife. This hand-held spiralizer would save time and it also looks like it would take up minimal space for storing.
Oil spritzer – This is another tool I’d like to try. I like to drizzle olive oil on veggies or brush it on bread for crostini, and this oil spritzer by The Fine Life looks like it would do the job in less time.
Mandolin – To be honest, I already have a mandolin that I love to use for quickly slicing things like onions or potatoes. However, I’ve had it for years and this one has a V-blade, which would be safer than my old one. It also comes with five different blades for slicing.
Small mason jars – These pretty blue mason jars by Ball are the perfect size to mix a small batch of vinaigrette or those times when you need a little cornstarch mixed with water. Just put on the lid and shake.
Do you have any favorite time-saving tools you use regularly when you cook? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!