With the Easter cooking about to ensue for the weekend, I thought I would do my “Favorite Things Friday” post on my kitchen essentials. These items get me through any task in the kitchen. Of course, there are plenty of other little tools and gadgets that I use for baking and other complicated dishes, but this is what I consider the necessities in my kitchen.
“Aproning” as I have heard it lovingly called is the first order of business in my kitchen. It is the ceremonial start to a successful and relaxing culinary experience. My FAVORITE aprons are the Ava Aprons by Jessie Steele . All of the aprons made by the Jessie Steele company are fun, stylish and flirty and I love how they fit!!! Since I am short and I guess somewhat petite, most store bought aprons are too long, too boxy, or too bulky, so I tend to buy children’s aprons, but those usually have some cutesy design on them, so I absolutely ADORE the Jessie Steele aprons because they fit snuggly and leave me feeling like quite the sex kitten (or maybe something more like the “not-so-bad-for-a-mom” kitten)! I am excited to announce that I have partnered with Jessie Steele to bring awesome deals to my readers!!!! Stay tuned for a fun Mother/Daughter Jessie Steele giveaway near Mother’s Day, but in the meantime you can save 10% off your order on the Jessie Steele Spring Aprons and Spring Pajamas by using code RSP13PRO and shipping is ALWAYS free for orders over $50!!
After slipping on my apron, I grab a clean kitchen towel before I get to work. On an average night of cooking dinner, I have about 2-3 towels working. I like to have one over my shoulder to wipe my hands with and one for the counter to wipe the counter with as I clean and one to dry off the dishes as I clean. With that being said, there are always dish towels in the washer and they definitely go through their fair share of wear and tear. I have found that the Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Towels are the absolute best! While they may not look as pretty as when I first brought them home from that beautiful store, they can really stand the test of time and heavy duty work in the kitchen. SO WORTH THE $!
The same thing goes for oven mitts. They get burned on the stove, get food all over the fingers, get laid in counter funk, so I find it essential to have good quality oven mitts as well that can survive any number of other tortures in the kitchen. The Williams-Sonoma Oven Mitts are just the soldiers for that battle! Again, SO WORTH THE $!
I have a set of blue melamine mixing bowls that I simply can’t live without. They are so durable and light weight, which is key in my kitchen. There is nothing worse than having to lift a big heavy mixing bowl to pour into a glass dish and have it hurt your arm and hand or just end making a huge mess all over your counter because it is too bulky and difficult to hold with one hand while your other hand scrapes out the bowl. The melamine bowls are just right for any cooking job!!!
Is it just me or do you hate the way a knife scrapes against a plastic cutting board?! Fingernails on chalkboards……..yikes! I love to use bamboo cutting boards in the kitchen. There is less water retention with a bamboo cutting board making it less likely to enter the board’s surface and cause it to warp or crack. They are definitely more durable and resilient to nicks and scratches from cutting than other hard woods. Bamboo cutting boards don’t retain bacteria easily and they are also easier on your knives, which brings me to my next favorite kitchen essential. One of these days when I am rich and famous from this blog and without want or need I will buy an extraordinary set of knives, but until then……….I like to use the Chicago Cutlery set that my parents got for us one Christmas. It has a sharpener built into the block and seem to be all around good knives. I try to keep them very sharp and that always helps, but if I can get even a couple years out of them I feel like it is money well spent.
A good garlic press is GOLDEN!!!!!! I will occasionally skip the process and grab a bottle of minced garlic, but as long as I have fresh garlic on hand, which is pretty much always, I like to mince the garlic with a garlic press. There is just no better smell than freshly pressed garlic! Ooooh, Lawd and vampires be gone! There is also no way that I can cook ANY meal without my OXO Good Grips Nylon spatula. It is heat resistant up to 400 degrees (for those of us who occasionally forget to pull it out of the pan) and is perfect for non-stick cookware and bakeware as to not scratch the surface (little tip: NEVER use metal products on non-stick cookware).
That being said, I am a FIRM believer in quality cookware! My cookware of choice is stainless All-Clad. Now, I know it can be pricey, but Williams Sonoma runs sales on their All-Clad all the time and you can also find it in stores like TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. Buy a piece at a time, but trust me it is worth it. The next trick is to get comfortable with stainless cookware. There are some things that you just can’t cook on them unless you want to REALLY lube them up, but for the most part they are so versatile and are perfect for going from stove top to oven for perfectly pan-seared meats. My advice is to get an 8″ and 12″ skillet, a 3 qt saute pan with a top and a 1 quart and 2 quart saucepan and you should be armed and ready to make any dish!
Every good kitchen needs enameled cast iron cookware. I call my dutch oven “Wonder Woman” because it is truly the one-pot wonder. You can prepare so many dishes start to finish in that thing and the durability is absolutely UNMATCHED. I also am OBSESSED with my cast iron grill pan. It makes the bleak no-grilling winters not seem so bleak by allowing me to grill just about anything in the oven and get a pretty darn close resemblance to outdoor grilling quality.
Moving on to the power tools, if you will. These are definitely an investment, but should make a permanent home in your kitchen as your budget allows. One Christmas my family pooled their money together and gave me my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. Shining in a beautiful ruby red, this guy can really get the job done. I still haven’t bought any of the additional attachments aside from what comes standard, but that has certainly not limited it’s use. Cookies, cupcakes, breads, cheesecakes, you name it! This is the guy for the job!!
My Cuisinart 9 cup Food Processor is essential to me because I can create any number of things with this. It is always on full speed in the summer making fresh pesto, working all winter long on butternut squash soup and most recently shredding potatoes for my sweet potato hash browns.
Lastly are my stove top essentials! I like to keep a jar of olive oil, a dish of kosher salt and a pepper grinder at easy access because I use one or all three of these items for every dish that I cook. It keeps me from having to run back and forth to the pantry and also keeps the counter clutter at bay. I do have to wipe them all down pretty often because they get picked up so many times with messy hands, but it is convenient to have them right there beside me at all times.
Well, there you have it! My kitchen essentials. I hope you enjoyed this post and find it useful! I am sure that we all have our essentials. What are some of your kitchen essentials?!