This list is really unreasonable. Unreasonably SHORT because there are so many more I could add to this list, but then I’d have to rename it “Stock the Kitchen Really Well.”
There are sooo many items I use on a daily basis. (Hello pots and pans and baking sheets.) Without those, these eight items would be useless. So I’m assuming that you have those basic things. I mean, even the BBF at least has a saucepan, a skillet, a baking sheet. If he’s got it, you got it.
And if you don’t, well, then you must eat a lot of take-out.
So, my current faves, in no particular order:
(Tip: If you hover over the links, a preview of the item will appear! — Just learned how to make that happen!)
1. Immersion Blender
This one got the #1 spot due to Kitchen-Gadget-Favoritism. That’s a thing folks. And I got it baaadd for my immersion blender. It’s the newest addition to my kitchen family. I tried to wait until Christmas, so Mom could put one under the tree for me, but… I just… couldn’t… wait.
There are a few different models out there in all price ranges with “extras” and such, but I like this one. It’s uncomplicated — two speeds, fast or slow — I didn’t even have to read the instructions. Easy is good, especially when it works beautifully. And I just want to immersion blend everything I come across! Leftover Kale Caesar Smoothies anyone?
2. Vegetable Peeler
Seems like a “duh,” but there’s a wide range of veggie peelers out there! I’ve used the cheap ones — and even thought they worked great! — but then I used this one and it changed my veggie-peelin’ life. That 99 cent piece of metal ain’t gonna cut it for zucchini noodles. There is a hugely noticeable difference in smooth, clean cuts when you use a quality peeler.
This gadget made my Top 10 because it’s so versatile in the kitchen. I use mine to zest lemon, grate cheese, noodle zucchini, flake chocolate, and peel stuff (obvi). Unless you have all the “proper” tools to do all your zesting, grating, flaking and noodling, ten bucks is totally worth it.
3. Measuring Cups & Spoons
You guys. I can’t explain to you my love for measuring cups and measuring spoons. As a semi-perfectionist (OK, a total perfectionist), I like to measure things. But even if you’re a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kitchenista, measurers are irreplaceable. If I’m cooking at the BBF’s house, I always close my eyes at some point and send a quick prayer to The Kitchen Angels that whatever I’m making will be edible. “Eyeballing” stuff is scary.
And anyway, you can never have enough measuring tools. At this moment, there is a 1-cup in the dog food bag, a ½-cup in the cat food bag, and a 1-tablespoon in the BBF’s coffee jar. This is why I need more measuring tools. Always.
4. KitchenAid Mixer
I’m spoiled. I know this. Only a spoiled 20-something would have been gifted a KitchenAid Mixer. (I hope my gifter knows how much I LOVE it.) Mine is a professional model (uhhh… professional for the professional…right?!), but I know from experience that the less expensive ones work great too. Mom has this model and she’ll vouch for the fact that I’ve used it A LOT.
For an impatient little soul like me, who can’t stand still long enough to form stiff peaks with a hand mixer, it’s really worth the money just to make whipped cream and meringue! Aaaand cheesecake, and cookie dough, and bread, and… OK you get the point.
5. 8-inch Chef’s Knife
Seems a little uppity to spend a bunch of money on a knife, right? Wrong. I bought this knife for a little culinary class I took in 2007. Guess what. I still have it. I’ve used it to get A’s on two knife skills exams. I have never sharpened it (thought it’s probably time). And it’s still my favorite knife.
As long as you have this one knife, you are good to go. If you know how to use one properly, you can accomplish most any kitchen duty from dicing woody sweet potatoes to slicing colossal zucchs to crushing itty-bitty garlic cloves. And always a good idea to keep it protected. Especially if you’re carrying it around in a backpack like I did for a while.
6. Rubber Spatulas
They are not all created equal. The best are made of flexible silicone and have one straight edge.
Since I’ve already admitted to being a perfectionist, I’ll just run with it. This is why I like a rubber spatula: There are not many things more satisfying in the kitchen than running a spatula along the side of a mixing bowl, cleaning up all that splattered cream cheese. Or swirling brownie batter around in a baking pan, making sure to get enough in the corners. Or smoothing each layer in a taco dip, spreading them thin and even.
Do you want a rubber spatula yet? I’m also *newly* a big fan of the mini rubber spatula, which is an excellent tool for scraping that very last bite from the crevices of a peanut butter jar.
7. Food Processor
Actually, I don’t have a food processor, but my roommate has this Hamilton Beach 8-Cup Food Processor that I have food-processor-hi-jacked for the last several months. I’ve probably used it in some way in about a third of my cooking adventures — hummus, Goldfish crumbs, gazpacho (in my pre-immersion blending days), milkshakes (my blender is currently on lend), veggie meatballs, etc., etc.
For those who are pressed for time in the kitchen (= me, always), a food processor is your best friend. Otherwise, you’re stuck crushing crumbs with a rolling-pin and fine-chopping veggies until you’ve got blisters, and then your 5 pm relaxed dinner just turned into a 9 pm free-for-all. And jeez, you would be forced to purchase commercially prepared hummus. Terrible.
8. Slow Cooker
Get yourself this crock pot, but then don’t tell a soul! Everyone will think you are just this amazing chef and that mouth-watering, luxuriant dinners with fall-off-the bone meats come to you naturally. Don’t reveal the secret of your crock pot and just soak up all the glory.
For a second, forget about the succulent food. Forget the ease with which you prepared an entire meal. Forget the time you saved and all the other household duties you accomplished because you didn’t spend more than ten minutes in the kitchen. If you forget all that, and all you have left is the delightful smells of cooking herbs and spices and meats and vegetables, then that is enough! THAT is what a crock pot is all about. Warm smells on wintery days.
So there ya have it. That’s my Top 8. Anything glaring that I missed? What can’t you live without?
(Please know that I am an affiliate for these products. That means, if you make a purchase through one of the above links, I will receive a commission. However, these opinions are all my own and I personally have access to or have in my possession each of the above items and can truly recommend them!)