My Kitchen Essentials

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Whether you’ve been building your kitchen collection for years, or just starting out, I thought I’d share my favorite, must-have kitchen items. The items every home cook should have on hand!

Kitchen Utensils

Every kitchen needs to be fully stocked with multi spatulas, spoons, tongs and flippers.

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I keep a ton right next to the stove so it’s super easy for me to grab one at a moment’s notice. I adore silicone utensils because you can leave them in a big soup pot, for instance, and they won’t melt. Plus they’re a breeze to clean!

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Sharp Knives

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Sharp knives make ALL the difference when it comes to easy cooking prep, and I think a set of good knives is a seriously wise investment.

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My favorites include this 6″ chef’s knife – fabulous for cubing food, chopping millions of veggies and cutting raw meat – and paring knives (I got this one at Williams & Sonoma) which are great for slicing apples, cutting mangoes, or any other random, small job. I like to keep 2 or 3 of them on hand.

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Can Opener

Oh yes, the lowly can opener gets its own category!

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You don’t know how crucial a good can opener is until you have a good one…or bad one! Do yourself a favor and go spend $15 on one of these babies from Williams & Sonoma. You’ll never look book!

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Cutting Boards

I like to have 1 HUGE cutting board for big jobs like chopping up tons of veggies, cutting watermelons, etc., 1 for cutting ONLY meat, and several other plastic ones for quick cutting jobs.

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Sheet Pans

Having a huge variety of sheet pans on hand is the absolute best. Bake millions of cookies AND roast 10lbs of veggies at the same time – whee!

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Just make sure to thoroughly dry each pan by wiping it down with a clean towel, or popping it back into a warm oven to dry, to avoid rust. Also, I make it easy on myself by lining them with foil before any roasting job. Makes cleanup so much easier!

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Stovetop Essentials

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Having a ton of different sized pots and pans is really nice, but if you’re just starting your collection, here’s my favorite, must-have items. Flat Top Skillet. Great for making anything from French Toast to burgers.

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Medium sized sauce pan. Great for making sauces and a perfect size for making rice or 1-2 servings of pasta.

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Small skillet. Great for making eggs and hot sandwiches. Also, this is pretty much the only pot that I would say just get a cheap one from Target. They heat up really quick, which is what I actually really like when making things like eggs!

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Dutch Oven. AWESOME for hearty soups, stews and casserole-like dishes such as Shepard’s Pie & Jambalaya. A pricier investment – but they last FOREVER.

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1-2 Serving Sized Casserole Dishes

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For the folks who are only cooking for 1 or 2 people – smaller sized casserole dishes are a MUST!

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Ben and I both like leftovers, but sometimes you just don’t feel like eating them for the entire week afterwards. These sized dishes are perfect, because you can halve most normal sized casserole recipes and they’ll fit in perfectly.

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Mini Food Processor

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Sure, having a ginormous food processor would be nice, but they’re like $300! This baby was under $40 and is still able to make pretty big sized batches of items like fresh salsa, banana custard,

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AND it chops up pesky onions in seconds. Plus it’s dishwasher safe. Key. :)

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Crock Pot

The King of all kitchen appliances. I don’t know what I’d do without mine as coming home to the smell of dinner all ready to go is absolutely fantastic! I’d definitely recommend springing for one with a programmable timer and a removable insert.

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Honorable Mention

The appliances that get my “honorable mention” include The Griddler

 

and my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer!

Neither are 100% necessary, but oh-so-fab to have on hand!

What are a few of your favorite Kitchen items?

In other news, Honeycrisp Apples were on sale at the store today and they are literally the size of my HEAD. Huge!!!! 8O

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I had an early, light dinner this evening by slicing one up and pairing it with a sweet, Pineapple Chobani Greek Yogurt.

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Yep, I’ve definitely decided – Pineapple Chobani is my #1 FAVE.

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It tastes like frosting!!

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Plus I like the chunks of pineapple in it. :)

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I never thought I’d say it, but yes, I am stuffed from an apple.

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Crazy good!

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I had to tear myself away from the apple section at the store, actually, because Ben and I are going to try and go to an apple orchard next weekend and pick our own. Squeal – can’t wait! :D

Off to go take advantage of the rest of my Sunday! See ya!

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Comments

  1. I’m definitely working on accumulating these things! I do need better knives and a flat-top skillet.

  2. Liz @ Blog is the New Black 10.24.2010

    I have and adore all of those appliances except a Dutch Oven and a griddler- I can’t wait to get married and register for those! :)

  3. I know what you mean — the honeycrisps are almost TOO big! A full meal! I try to get the smaller ones out of the pile, but even the small ones are huge.

  4. Dream Mom 10.24.2010

    Oh, it’s always so much fun to see what other people have in their kitchen!

    For me, my first favorite has to be this new Breville Smart Oven (convection/toaster oven) that I just got. Other favorites include a pizza stone, Zojirushi Mini Bread Maker and my Cuisinart blender. As for gadgets, I like my peeler (for the occasional homemade garlic mashed potatoes) and my dough cutter (I make dough in my breadmaker and then cut it up for hamburger buns or pizza dough). As for spatulas, etc. I put them in a short, wide vase that my husband sent me one year for my birthday. It’s a pretty clear vase with these thick glass roses on the side; the roses are a pale pink colored glass. It’s really pretty.

    My wish list includes a Blendtec blender and a Lodge cast iron grill pan (the one that goes over two burners)!

  5. ooooh I too love love love my kitchen aid mixer!

  6. Angela Schnobrich 10.24.2010

    You should definitely invest in a clean edge can opener. It opens the can without any sharp edges. I am not sure exactly how it works but it is amazing! The one I have is a Chefmate that I think I got at Target for around $10. Totally worth it!

  7. Jean 10.24.2010

    Good post! My favorite kitchen items include a blaze orange enameled Dutch oven that I absolutely love, especially now that stew season is here. And my KitchenAid stand mixer is probably my favorite thing. It gets used on a weekly basis – cookies, doughs for bread and pizza, and I even have a meat grinder attachment for it to make my own sausage!

  8. cj 10.24.2010

    i love seeing all your kitchen stuff! thanks for sharing!

    and my favorite chobani is definitely the pineapple. sooo yummy!

  9. awesome. and you’ve inspired me to get out my food processor, slice up some sweet potatoes and roast them for some yummy “chips”!

  10. Amber 10.24.2010

    I want a Griddler so bad!!! Maybe for Christmas… ;) Oh, and my favorite flavor of Chobani is honey but it is so hard to find! Maybe I need to find a new grocery store…

  11. Juli 10.24.2010

    I have to agree with you about the pineapple Chobani. Wins hands down for my favorite,too! I feel like I’m eating cream cheese with pineapple!

  12. Lesley 10.24.2010

    I want a smiley faced spoon! That is so cute. I’ve also always wanted a pink Kitchen Aid mixer, which is silly, because I never do any baking except for muffins!

    I agree on the Pineapple Chobani. I also think the Pomegranate flavor deserves an honorable mention. :)

  13. Krissy 10.24.2010

    I need better knives, definitely…keep putting it off…but, yes, the food processor and mixer (we have the same pink one!! <3) are amazing help in the kitchen.

    Also, I have to say…I love honeycrisp apples and pairing them with that pineapple yogurt sounds super scrumptious! I had one for dinner last night as well, and yes, was so full afterward – crazy!

  14. Stephanie 10.24.2010

    Love my big stock pot, great for soups/sauces plus my cast iron stovetop grill!!

  15. i have to agree with you on just about all of these! i don’t have a dutch oven though, and would put my kitchenaid on the “essentials” list. i have my grandma’s hand me down now and when it breaks down i will HAVE TO convince my husband i need a new one. and he’ll agree because he loves all the goodies i make in it :) hehehe

  16. Jen 10.24.2010

    Definitely get a clean edge can opener. I have one from Pampered Chef and I LOVE it. Also love my garlic press, my cast iron and my stoneware!

    I am not a fan of Greek yogurt but all this talk of how good the Chobani pineapple flavor is has made me decide to give it another go!

  17. Dawn Patricia 10.24.2010

    Ohhhh! I had the same thing for dinner (well, pineapple Chobani, lol!). I was not in the mood for a big meal. I love my Bosch mixer and it’s super easy to clean. I can’t say enough good things about my Oster steamer. Love, love, love it! I cook everything in there from homemade raisin bread (I kid you not…) to lemon-dill salmon. Plus you can throw most of it in the dishwasher. It’s been with me for a quite a few years and I think I spent like $24 on it :O. It’s definitely my favorite kitchen investment! :)

  18. love me some honey crisp apples ;)

  19. Caroline 10.24.2010

    Oh. My. God.

    I can’t believe it–I JUST posted about a few of MY favorite things!! Great minds think alike, I suppose.

    Whereas mine was all about my favorite (admittedly indulgent) foods, I love the practicality of this post. Seeing as I’m still working on building up my utensil arsenal, this is a great source to turn to for ideas! (I do have a birthday coming up, after all…)

    That Honeycrisp looks un.real. We’ve got an apple-picking trip planned for Friday–it’ll be my first one ever! Gonna hoard apples like I’ve never hoarded before. Happy Sunday!

  20. A.J. 10.24.2010

    I don’t know what is up with the Honeycrisps being sold at Dahl’s. They are SERIOUSLY HUGE! I tried to find some that were smaller than my head, but didn’t see any.

  21. Yasmine 10.24.2010

    I love some of your appliances, and the pots are beautiful.. I want to have a well equiped kitchen like yours :)

  22. Jenna 10.24.2010

    Pickle Bites!

    I make mine with ham and plain cream cheese, but I’ll have to try it your way. I was trying to describe these to someone out in Massachusetts the other day, and they thought I was crazy!

    Also, I’m curious. I am still moving around between grad school and internships, so haven’t really started my kitchen yet. What are the “buy these first” items you would recommend?

  23. Jess 10.24.2010

    that smiley face spoon is adorable!
    sharp kitchen knives are definitely one of my essentials at home

  24. SallyGirl 10.25.2010

    Sorry, but I have to say that the Kitchen Aid is actually a must!!! You can use it to make your mashed potatoes, mix bread dough, whip up fresh whipped cream, cookie doughs, there’s probably a million other things too but you can see my scope is limited to the white (and most healthy! lol ) food group. ;)

  25. Manya 10.25.2010

    Hey Kristin!

    I was thinking that when (not if!), when you visit Greece you’ll go crazy with the yogurt! We have THE best. I loooove plain because it’s so rich and not too sour, especially if you eat it with honey and walnuts, but my other favorite one is the lemon flavored. Oh-my-God!
    We also have great honey, which is dark, thick and delicious!

    I just made my self hungry!

  26. Maria 10.25.2010

    Oh wow, I’d give anything to have all those kitchen utensils. I am so often left with only a glass bowl and a wooden spoon haha.
    The apple looks so good :) I had one of a similar size the other day and it was like a full meal !! xxx

  27. Kristin 10.25.2010

    I love my almost 30 year old Hamilton Beach food processor. I use it almost every day. It’s under $50.00; no need to spend $300.00.

  28. If I could marry Pineapple Chobani, I’d do it. Best.yogurt.ever.

  29. Joe 10.25.2010

    I’m taken aback by the complete lack of cast-iron skillets in your kitchen toolbag – no serious chef would ever be without them. Yes, I know, they require regular seasoning and you have to instruct would-be helpers to not come within ten feet of them with a scotch-brite pad or heaven forbid, wash them with soap and water, but they are the best cooking vessels, bar none. I’d also like to add your cookie sheets are WAAAY too clean. I’ve spent five years of my life as a professional cook, so I know what I’m talking about.

    The best places to find good cooking gear are restaurant supply houses (go to the worst neighborhood in your city and look around) and thrift shops such as Goodwill and Salvation Army. I’m glad you’re thrilled with your Le Creuset dutch oven, which I’m sure you paid $80 for – I bought an identical used one, complete with baked-on goo on the bottom, for the princely sum of $8.38 at Goodwill just a few weeks back.

    When I find myself forced to make a weekend visit to cooking clip-joints such as BB and B for an odd utensil, I’m always amazed by the prices foodie sheeple will shell out for marginal stuff just because it has some famous chefs name on it or it has been tastefully crafted in stainless steel, the certain hallmark purchase of cooks who know not what they are trying to do.

    But I do have a useful and not too expensive suggestion: Go get yourself a clay pot cooker. They come in a huge variety of sizes and shapes and can be used to make succulent roasted meats and vegetables. They are soaked in water over night, filled with your browned meats and seasoned veggies, then you sloooow cook them in the oven for hours to tender, juicy perfection.

  30. dmcgirl 10.25.2010

    I don’t even own ONE cast iron skillet! My bad!

    I can’t wait to see the pictures from your Orchard trip!

  31. Your kitchen collection is pretty impressive! I am lusting after a Dutch Oven these days. Swoon.

  32. Joe 10.25.2010

    And if you’ve got a Big Lots in your town, they have an awesome cheap brand of Japanese chef’s knives ~Carabeneri~? for about ten bucks each. They hold an edge nearly as well as the Henckels knife I misappropriated from my last cooking gig…

    Best place to buy cast iron is in your local hardware store or farm/fleet. Lodge brand. Season them with Crisco and ‘burn-in’ on your gas grill until thoroughly blackened. The dutch oven is about $40 and well worth it. To clean, wipe food off with a damp dishcloth before it dries and rinse in hot water. Dry and heat on stove, then wipe with Crisco and put away. The original non-stick skillet!

  33. Joe 10.25.2010

    Also, Kenmore makes a really good set of kitchen cutlery in a block – seven or eight knives for about $50. They are high carbon steel and dishwasher safe. TJ Maxx has decent cooking stuff cheap on occasion. I recently bought some Wolfgang Puck saucepans for $16 and $20. Heavy clad bottoms and glass lids. But you really have to hit the Goodwills for super bargains, I bought a 14″ Salton ‘Maxim’ Healthy Saute Pan for $5.38! It has a domed glass top, heats up to 450 and you can do a pizza in it. I’ve found dozens of Pyrex cooking dishes there for $2-5, and brown-glazed USA crockery casseroles and French onion soup bowls with handles similarly priced. And don’t forget to scour the book section for cookbooks – I picked up an unused copy of Julia Child’s ‘Mastering The Art Of French Cooking’ for .88. Yes, that’s eighty-eight cents. Book sells new for $40. Bon appetit.

  34. Lexi 10.25.2010

    My favorite thing??? Tupperware and a microwave!

  35. Teresa K. 10.25.2010

    Love your kitchen necessaries! Think Cast Iron is a pain in the you know what! (Although I still use my Dutch Oven) – lovvvve collecting kitcheny things – don’t you? Best shopping? Are you ready? Auctions and yard sales (great old cookbooks sometimes!)

  36. Machelle 10.25.2010

    I’m not big on “a gadget for everything” cuz normally a good knife set will do the same darn thing with a whole lot less hassle! That being said, I can’t live without my medium sized wisk, cheap throw-away-when-dull paring knives, and my pots & pans that I bought from the QVC shopping channel that are oven proof. And of course the microwave & toaster oven! I also like my Pampered Chef chopper thing w/the handle sticking out of the top that you press down on & it springs back up…..nice for nuts & finely chopped onions & so easy to clean. I also have a couple cast iron skillets that are handy to use on the BBQ grill, although foil pans are great for that too!

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  41. Sandi 07.22.2011

    I don’t use cast iron, never will because I don’t like them, so to each their own I guess.

    I’m a new reader and found this going back through some of your old posts. I have everything you have except the flat grills (got a built in for the gas cooktop, never use it). I have a Cuisinart pro classic (as well as the mini-chop) and they are available at many places for $100. I think I got mine at BB&B several years ago and they always have a 20% coupon floating around.

    I also have to agree with whoever said a steamer is a must. I don’t much care for frozen veggies (except corn) and don’t allow canned in the house (except tomatoes). We don’t use it a lot this time of year, but when it’s nasty outside (8-9 months of the year here in Twilight country), we use that steamer on an almost daily basis. I’d also add a rice cooker, a garlic press and one of those rasp cheese graters it makes short work of Parm or any hard cheese, zests citrus when you want it fine, makes short work of fresh or frozen ginger for stir fries or baking and it gets used at least twice a week as well. I also find a 1 1/2 qt crockpot to be much more useful than I expected (I have a 3 qt and a 5 qt as well). Overnight breakfast out of steel cut oats and dried fruit, smaller amounts of meat and gravy for the two of us, and my favorite, chicken, beef or pork, cubed and covered with our favorite salsa. When it’s cooked to the point of shredding with a couple of forks, it goes into enchiladas, tacos, taqutos and all manner of yummy things.

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