Tools That Make Cooking Easier. You don’t need fancy gadgets to accomplish great meals, but this list of time-saving kitchen tools with help you get dinner on the table with minimal fuss.
Now that you’ve decided to give family meals a try you may be overwhelmed with the possibility of coming up with new ideas and cooking each day.
The good thing is, you don’t need fancy tools and gadgets to accomplish it – just recipes your family loves and a few tools to make life easier in the kitchen.
When you have decided to start cooking more so that you can enjoy family dinners it makes it easier if you have the right tools. After all, you’re still busy even if you stop some of the afterschool activities. Let’s look at some helpful tools.
Using sharp, good quality knives especially a chef’s knife is a great way to save time. It takes a lot of time to get out a food processor just to chop up a few items. So you don’t need a ton of knives, just a really good one that will let you work faster and not harder. If you have a good knife you can get dinner ready quickly.
You can even learn knife skills online by looking up YouTube videos like the one below.
You can throw ingredients in a slow cooker in the morning and come home to a home-cooked meal at night. Toss a salad, make some rice, and you’re finished. That’s a good use of time. If you prep the food in advance and put it in frozen you’re less likely to have overcooking issues too.
Crock Pots are terrific for busy days, plus some things are just yummy when they have the chance to slow cook. Looking for a way to keep food warm until dinner? A slow cooker is great for that too.
Cast Iron Skillet
A good cast iron skillet (see ideas at Amazon) is the perfect place to braise meat, cook greens, make cakes and pies, and bake cornbread. When you keep it seasoned properly, it is truly a multi-use pan that is easy to care for and clean.
They come in all sizes, from big enough to cook one egg to 14 inches. You won’t regret getting one and they’re great to pass on to your kids.
Cooking a pot roast in a Dutch oven makes it turn out better than any other method. The great thing about a Dutch oven is that you can brown a roast, then pop it in the oven to finish off without having to worry about and continue watching the pan.
Plus, there are numerous recipes besides roast that you can make in a Dutch oven, and it’s terrific if you like cooking one-pot meals. As a bonus, you can use a Dutch oven on top of the stove too. Nowadays, Dutch Ovens are often coated with enamel, which makes cleanup even easier.
Years ago, I received a salad spinner as a wedding gift and I thought it was a ridiculous kitchen tool, not worth cupboard space. We ended up giving it away. Now I know that when you spin your salad after cutting it, it dries it out rather nicely. Not only will dressing stick to the leaves better, but when you have leftovers, it will last longer if you let each person dress their own salad separately on their plate instead of in one big bowl.
You do not need a specialized pro blender to make most recipes. A good Kitchen Aid blender works just as well as a more expensive blender. You can use them to make all kinds of dressings and recipes.
But, before you invest in a blender make sure you really need it and will use it more than once a year. If you have a food processor, you probably don’t need a separate blender taking up space in the cupboards or on the kitchen counter.
Heavy Bottom Pans
Good pots and pans mean that they’re made from high-quality materials and have sold heavy bottoms. If you buy a good name brand professional set it will last forever.
The pans that are heavy on the bottom tend to cook more evenly and make the food taste better and turn out better. When cooking is easier then it makes you more likely to want to do it.
If you love fried food and want to reduce the amount of fat in your diet, an air fryer is a healthy alternative (Amazon). If you find that your kids are ‘grumbling’ about eating healthy meals this new appliance is a way to give them some of the food they crave, but still have it remain somewhat healthy.
These low fat deep fryers make cooking for the family a piece of cake! Simply place your food in the basket, add a small amount of oil if desired, choose your temperature and time, and enjoy! Often used as a multi-cooker, it is essentially a fryer, oven, and grill all in one. I’ve even heard of people using them for dehydrating, but I haven’t tried it myself.
Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker
This has become our preferred way to cook most cuts of meat, especially cuts that would require many hours of cooking in a traditional oven. I can cook a roast under pressure for 40 minutes and have it turn out tender every time.
Look for an electric pressure cooker (Amazon) model that will let you do several operations – pressure cook, slow cook, sauté, steam, make cakes, pasteurize, make yogurt, cook rice, and warm, all in one electric appliance. If you like beans and rice this is the tool to get, it makes dried beans super-fast and they taste fantastic.
Misc Kitchen Utensils to Make Kitchen Prep Easier
Wooden Spoons – The reason these are great is they will work with any type of pot and pan and will not scratch the surface. It is important to follow the directions that come with them and to buy a high-quality set. They will last forever if treated correctly.
Whisk – A pot safe whisk is so useful because you can avoid having lumps in your gravy and make very fluffy eggs with a whisk. No need for an immersion blender in most cases if you have a good whisk.
Cutting Board – It’s recommended you have two. One for meat, one for everything else. That way you can get your cooking done faster each evening.
Measuring Cups – Get easy to read measuring cups and spoons so that your recipes are accurate. That’s how you make them taste good. Follow the recipe.
Good Baking Pans – Same with good baking pans. They won’t discolor as fast, and they are heavy, so they cook evenly.
Good Casserole Dish – This is a dish that is usually stoneware and has a lid. It makes it easy to take with you to parties.
Descent Mixer – When you want to make a cake, mashed potatoes, and other blended things a good mixer will pay for itself. It costs pennies to make your own cake compared to buying them.
Good Quality Spatula – Don’t cheap out here. Buying the good silicone spatulas that are flexible will pay off.
Pan Safe Whisk—When you want to make lump-free gravy a good small whisk comes in handy to use right at the stove.
A Four-Slice Toaster – Don’t want to waste time waiting on toast for the entire family.
Wooden Spoons – Safer for your cookware, when treated properly (read the directions) they’ll last forever and will not melt.
Peeler – Gotta peel those potatoes safely.
Grater – Still the best way to grate cheese or get that lemon zested.
If you often find yourself not making certain things because you don’t have the right pans or tools, take that as a sign that you need the right thing. Buy high-quality items so that it lasts and follow caring instructions so that they last a long time, if not a lifetime.