Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Back to Basics: My Top Kitchen Essentials

I focus many of my posts on recipes, but what's the key to any successful recipe? Quality kitchen tools. With wedding season on the horizon and spring in full bloom, many people are revamping their kitchens by registering or taking the plunge for new items.

When it comes to kitchen tools, quality doesn't always require spending your life savings. You can find plenty of tools at lower price points that won't break the bank. Today, I'm sharing my top kitchen essentials. Whether you're a bride-to-be planning your registry, a college graduate looking to stock up the kitchen of your first apartment or anyone looking to live a healthier lifestyle, then this post is for you! You can skimp on cutting boards, oven mitts and spatulas, but these are the items you truly need - I've linked my favorites below along with budget friendly options.

Cookware Set
  • This is your ultimate kitchen staple. You need pots and pans for making scrambled eggs, boiling pasta, sauteing veggies, cooking up that stir fry or making that large batch of risotto. If you're debating what to spend your money on, this is it. A quality set that lasts will be around for 10 years and longer if you care for it correctly. Calphalon is my favorite brand - I received a hand me down set from a family member that lasted me for years until I got married and upgraded to a new set of my own. I've found the pans cook food easily, are resistant to scratching and come with a lifetime warranty. I've listed what you should look for in your set and linked a few options below!
    • Stock pot 
    • Small omelette/frying pan 
    • Large omelette/frying pan
    • Medium saute pan 
    • Large saute pan 

Stoneware Baking Dish 
  • I use my stoneware baking dishes for everything; I'm sure you've seen them all over this blog - baked pasta dishes, casseroles, homemade fajitas, dessert bars - you name it and it's probably been cooked in a stoneware dish. They're easy to wash and heavy duty. They range in all price points - you can spend more or you can spend less, but my first stoneware baking dish was on clearance for $7.00 and I use it weekly and have for years. 

Food Processor
  • This is an absolute must have! The ultimate workhorse of the kitchen. I use my food processor for pureeing bananas for breads, chopping nuts, whipping up pizza dough, shredding cheese, chopping herbs, crushing beans, making homemade nut butters, creating salad dressings and more. Food processors come in all makes, models and sizes. You can find affordable mini food processors for around $30, but keep in mind that these have smaller motors and won't be able to perform all of the tasks of a larger food processor. Most larger food processors come with multiple blades for shredding, slicing, chopping and more. 

Pizza Stone
  • Who doesn't love pizza? It's so easy to make your own using fresh dough. A definite must have that gets use in our kitchen every weekend. I love mine because it's coated in a protective glaze and can even go on the grill - definitely on my bucket list to try this summer. 

We've covered my kitchen essentials, so now let's talk about the non-essentials that I've been dreaming of! The kitchen is one of my favorite rooms of the house and I love to spend my time there, so let me share what's on my wish list.

High Quality Gas Range
  • My dream kitchen would include a restaurant quality gas range, like these by BlueStar. I love cooking on a gas range - I feel like you can control the temperature of the food so much better. While I love our gas range, these truly look out of this world. Plus, you can even build your own dream appliance. You can pick the amount and types of burners and can even customize the color to match your kitchen, right down to the knobs!  

  • Is there anything this magical blender can't do? I don't think so. It purees anything, can heat up soups and makes divine smoothies. It can even puree an entire apple. Let that sink in!

Excalibur Dehydrator
  • I can't justify the price of a super pricey dehydrator, just for making my own macaroons and kale chips, but a girl can totally dream right?
What are your kitchen essentials? What kitchen items are you dreaming of? Share in the comments below!

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