Cooking can be a daunting task for many women. If you cringe at the idea of making dinner, or you wouldn’t know the first thing about making your own parfait for breakfast, we’ve come up with a list of essential kitchen tools to get you started.
For those of you that do know your way around a kitchen, there is nothing worse than being elbow-deep into preparing a dish, and realizing you don’t have the right utensil to get the job done.
Whether amateur or veteran in the kitchen, we Pynk girls are perfectionists and we love chic, stylish things. We are also resourceful, so this list is full of affordable finds that you can pick up in any major department stores that you already frequently visit including Target, Wal Mart, Bed Bath & Beyond and others.
Allow us to introduce you to the beautiful kitchen gadgets that will help you whip up breakfast, lunch, or dinner with the class and style of a seasoned chef.
Knives are an essential kitchen tool for obvious reasons, but a good knife makes the difference. A “chef” and a paring knife is all you will need to prepare everything from protein to potatoes. The chef’s knife is all purpose, while the paring knife works well for peeling veggies, hulling fruit, and divining shrimp. We like the colorful, sleek models we found at Target, get the set for less than $25
Cutting boards are extremely important in the kitchen. Not only do they ensure your safety while you’re chopping up food, but they can also ensure your health. Using one cutting board for meat, poultry, and seafood and another for fruits, veggies, and bread decreases this risk of cross-contamination. Remembering to thoroughly clean your cutting board after each task is vital as well. We recommend plastic cutting boards because they are less likely to hold on to bacteria than the wood.
There is nothing more frustrating than trying to eyeball one teaspoon of salt, given you’re not a trained chef. Measuring spoons and cups will be your go-to for testing the cornbread recipe your grandma gave you, to trying out the box red velvet cake. They are one of the super cheap finds we found at the dollar store―Betty Crocker brand, for $1. You’re welcome.
You read that right. A spoonula is a cross breed between a spatula and a prep spoon that you can use to scrape, mix, fold, and pick up just about anything you’re cooking. Common uses for the spoonula would be stirring a sauce, folding a cake mix, mixing mashed potatoes, flipping sauteed veggies—virtually any use for a large kitchen spoon or a spatula, in one. We like the Rachel Ray 3-piece set we found over at Target for under $15.
If you’ve been guilty of following behind grandma and using old butter tubs to prep your food, mixing/prep bowls are just the tool for you. These bowls are important because they have multiple uses in the kitchen from minimizing space, to holding your veggies and meat until they are ready to hit the stove.
There is no need to struggle with opening up a can. Trying to do it with a knife is unsafe and even the handheld can opener is a thing of the past. Smart touch can openers are so easy to use and really efficient. All you do is pop the gadget on top of the can and press the button. It does all the work for you.
Trust us; you could use a spice grinder. Grinding whole nuts and spices can take your meals to a whole other level. Plus, this tool can be used to grind coffee beans as well as process small amounts of liquid and food. Ever had a homemade salad dressing? A spice grinder will help you achieve that creamy goodness and break down any large seasonings or cheeses in the process. You can find one from under $15 at Sears.
Flipping shrimp in a skillet or veggies that are roasting in the oven, and even tossing a salad can all be achieved with tongs. These extra set of hands help you to protect yourself in the kitchen and are efficient at maintaining the presentation of your food throughout the cooking process.
Whisking makes blending ingredients a breeze. Did you know the secret to fluffy scrambled eggs is achieved by incorporating enough air into them by whisking? Sauces also love the help of a whisk to smooth out their texture. Homemade BBQ sauce anyone?
If you’ve ever tried to get a cup of flour out of a 1lb bag, you know that it’s not the move. Storage containers are quintessential kitchen tools. Once you open something like a bag of sugar, it’s difficult to keep the contents from spilling out every now and then. Storage containers keep your pantry items fresh and secure, and they are also efficient for easily scooping stuff out with your measuring tools.
Probably one of the coolest tools you’ll have in your kitchen, and it fits conveniently to the flatware drawer. If you cook with a lot of lemons and other citrus fruits this will be your best friend. No more hassle with picking seeds out of your homemade vinaigrette, these handheld juicers keep the seeds intact and extract as good as the fancy counter top juicers.
You’re like, “I thought it was called a strainer”…either way, a colander is another multi-use tool that you’ll find yourself using again and again. Strain sauces, pasta noodles, wash salad greens, and even use it to steam veggies.
A basic sheet pan allows you to do everything from warming up garlic bread, to roasting veggies, and baking cookies. Make sure to get one that has a rack attachment for proper roasting.
If you don’t know the magic of casseroles let us divulge…you know the nights that you get home and you just want to feel comforted? Now you’re wondering what does that have anything to do with buying a casserole dish? Well, casseroles are one of the most convenient cooking methods. You throw everything in the well-oiled dish—meat, veggies, herbs, spices, sauces and you just let it bake in the oven until done. Don’t bother stirring, mixing, or flipping, the food thoroughly cooks and browns in the dish.
A sauce pot is used for so many other things than its name suggests. You can make grits, pasta sauce, soup, chili, and even blanch your veggies in this pot. We like the non-stick, colorful ones from Wal Mart.
Probably second in command to your knives, a sauté pan or skillet is a tool you’ll use most in the kitchen. Shallow frying chicken wings, sauteing chicken breasts, preparing a stir fry, and making your beau red velvet pancakes all go down in this one pan. We suggest investing in a quality one that will last. Stainless steel is the best, but there are plenty of other non-stick variations that you can find for less. Marshalls and TJ Maxx usually have the high-end brands for great prices.