My 10 Kitchen Must Haves

While I am exploring the reworking possibility of my job and trying to figure out how to cram all the food I eat into a carrier that won’t make it look like I am going on a week long cruise, I thought I would show what I like to use in my kitchen all the time.  I really enjoy cooking and have a few gadgets, but really the basics are what make cooking at home easy on a daily basis.  You don’t have to have a lot of fancy equipment, but a few good pieces of quality things can make a difference.

Here are the things I use pretty much daily:

1. A good quality chef’s knife.  This thing is amazing!  I never thought much about the quality of knives until my sister gifted this knife to John.

2. The Magic Bullet blender.  Yes, I fell prey to an infomercial.  Actually I fell prey, but did not purchase.  My  mother gave it to me :mrgreen:   We use this thing all the time!  It is wonderful for doing my protein waffles, whipping up cream, chopping nuts, grinding spices, making smoothies.  I have had it for probably 5 or 6 years now.

3. The coffee maker and espresso machine:  Nuff said.  Wait. Not enough said – I would like a supreme machine of each, but no $$ for that.

4. Good heavy-bottom fry pan and lid.  I use this at least once a day.  This is always used for sauteing my broccoli.  Since there is only 2 of us in the house, it is nice to have a smaller pan.

5. Food scale.  I weigh pretty much everything.  It is such a habit now that I don’t mind and really don’t notice much.  I get portion distortion if I don’t weigh, especially with nut butters and grains.  I also weigh in grams because it is more accurate.

6. Toaster Oven.  This is the one I got from CSN.  I love it!  It is great for cooking single or 2 servings of something.  Again, with just 2 of us, it is such a waste to heat up the whole oven for a serving of baked clam strips or roasted cauliflower.  This is a convection oven, which really makes a difference.

Things I use a lot, but not daily:

8. Hot air popper.  Not for what you would think, though.  I use it to roast coffee!  I have a bigger 2kg roaster, but it languishes because it needs a special power hookup ($$$) that we don’t have since we moved here.  Fresh roasted coffee is da bomb!

9. Parchment paper.  Seriously – if you have never used this stuff, you have to try it.  Line your baking pans with this and you won’t have to soak and wash the pans after baking something.   I like the no clean up aspect of it.  Nothing sticks to it.  It’s also great for making steaming packets to bake or put on the grill.

9. Kitchenaid Mixer. I love this machine.  You can do a lot of things with it and get all kinds of attachments for it – we have the ice cream maker.  At first, I got this because it was a great deal ($100 and it is the 5-1/2 quart one!) and wasn’t sure how much we would actually use it.  Turns out quite a bit.  Plus the green is a really cool color for a mixer.

10. Microplane grater.  This is great for zesting lemons, grating nutmeg (which should always be done fresh), parmesan cheese, chocolate, fresh ginger.  A very nifty tool.

Question: What are some of your most used kitchen items?

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27 thoughts on “My 10 Kitchen Must Haves

  1. Cilla

    Hehe, I always look like I’m off on a long trip when I pack my work food 🙂

    My most used kitchen items are:
    > Victorinox “tomato knife” – I use this knife 99% of the time for all the chopping and cutting. Mine is 3 years old and still sharp as.
    > Food scale – I also weigh pretty much everything
    > Pyrex glass bowl – for microwaving everything from oats to frozen veggies
    > Circulon skillet
    Cilla´s last blog post ..Work it up

  2. Lisa

    We have Global knives. They are the BEST. I never thought knives were something to spend money on (And I used to always buy the $20 set) but these are amazing.

    I love my Magic Bullet.

    We also got a kitchenaid mixer recently. It’s wonderful.

  3. Kim

    Now that I have good knives I can tell the difference. I also like a really nice spatula. Tangent: I was surprised to see the hot air popper until I read that you use it to roast coffee. Do you ever eat popcorn? I’ve been following you for a long time and I don’t recall ever seeing popcorn as one of your snacks.

    1. Lori Post author

      I used to be a huge popcorn hound, but stopped eating it so much when I was trying to round out my snacks to include protein and fat. I will eat it rarely now if we happen to have it in the house. I do like it a lot, though.

  4. Tish

    Yes to good knives. I have a very good chef’s knife and some Williams Sonoma paring knives that are awesome. I love my electric tea pot, too–I drink coffee occasionally, but love a cup of mint tea in the afternoon. Also my microwave popcorn popper–no oil necessary. Oh, and my fridge that has ice and water in through the door. Good topic!
    Tish´s last blog post ..Whats Happening

  5. Roz

    I LOVE kitchen appliances and gadgets. Some of my most used – a lemon reamer, the kitchen scale (since I joined weight watchers), my microplane zester, our Krups coffee machine (for steaming our almond milk lattes), our spiderweb strainer from Chinatown (we can grab and drain without having to toss the water), our corkscrew (self explanatory! 🙂 ) and though I don’t use it often, I LOVE my cherry/olive pitter. I could go on. I think I need help….
    Roz´s last blog post ..My steaming mojo…

  6. Cammy@TippyToeDiet

    My slow cooker is one of the things I’d try to save if the house caught on fire. 🙂 I also use parchment paper a lot and my air-popper a few times a month for its intended purpose. Oh, and an ice cube tray for freezing leftover bits of this and that. It’s perfect for freezing leftover bits and pieces of sauces and beverages. Try a ‘coffee cube’ sometime! 🙂
    Cammy@TippyToeDiet´s last blog post ..Sunny Side Up!

  7. debby

    I have most of your tools, but hadn’t thought of some of the uses that you describe. WHY did I never think of buying parmesan by the block and grating my own?? Brilliant!
    debby´s last blog post ..Food Again

  8. Shelley B

    My mom sent me home with some parchment paper and I’m in love with that stuff! How did I go so long without trying it?!?

    I have some thing pliable plastic cutting board mats that I love…plus my chef’s knife. Considering how much fruit and veggies I cut up, they get a ton of use.

    Hope your day at work went well. 🙂
    Shelley B´s last blog post ..Quick Ryders Review-Weekend Recap

  9. Mabelle @ Dance, Love, Dine

    Nice gadgets!! I would definitely get the magic bullet and the scale. I’ve never used either one but they seem like great “tools” to have in the kitchen. It would be cool to have a scale that measured calories. Technology needs to step its game up 😉
    Mabelle @ Dance, Love, Dine´s last blog post ..I heart Chobani

  10. Fran

    Well I pretty much use 1, 3, 4, 5, 9 and 10 although I have a mixer that also has an option for blending and my grater looks a bit different.

    What I use a lot too is a stir-fry pan, the microwave to heat milk for the espresso, a garlic press.

    My absolute favorite item in my kitchen is our espresso machine, we don’t roast the coffee beans ourselves but I do buy them at a store that’s speciliazed in coffee. And of course my Boretti stove, after all these years I’m still in love with it.

  11. April

    I use all of those except the microplane and popcorn popper 🙂

    I also must have a garlic press for Boomer’s pills that I use everyday. I have a mandoline that I love also!

    You’ve reminded me that I need a good quality knife.
    April´s last blog post ..Accidental Chef

  12. Lauren

    I am totally with you on the microplane and parchment paper, both lifechanging. I am digging my vitamix (though lacks portability of magic bullet), we have an espresso machine from nespresso and I use global knives. The right tools can make a huge difference. Great post.
    Lauren´s last blog post ..Eat Less with Activity Foods

  13. Shelly

    I would add my crockpot. I have 2, a big ones (beef short ribs, yumm) and a baby one that does steel cut oats for breakfast.

  14. Jody - Fit at 53

    Loved this post Lori! I hear you on carrying food… I would have to hire somebody to help me carry it all! 😉

    I do have a magic bullet & love it! Easy for simple me! AND, I am a parchment paper fan.. I hate to clean & wash dishes so.. Yahoo for parchment paper although ya can’t use it in the toaster oven & I can do some baking in mine!!!

    Like you & John, just a couple of us too so small pans…
    Jody – Fit at 53´s last blog post ..What Would You Choose Food Over Happy Bdays!

  15. Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me

    Definitely a high quality knife. I’m very lucky to have Cutco knives and they are amazing! A deep large skillet, a 3 quart saucepan, a silicone spatula, tongs, kitchen scissors…omg there are so many important utensils! I think I could go forever. I’m slightly obsessed with all kitchenware.
    Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me´s last blog post ..Fish Tacos!

  16. Helen

    Oh goodness. I carry a grocery bag almost every day to tote all my good to work 😀

    Let’s see, my KitchenAid Food Processor, which has a small bowl that fits inside the large one – really handy for chopping up just a bit; my garlic press; whisks; good knives; egg separator, non-stick skillets and of course, the coffee pot. I’m thinking the spiralizer will end up with this group as well. Those are the things I probably use almost daily.
    Helen´s last blog post ..Aint Nothin Gonna Break My Stride

  17. Monique

    You must share with me how you roast your coffee! I have an air popper and only use it for popcorn. this would make a great double duty appliance.
    And I love my mixer as well.
    No shame in the magic bullet love- i love mine as well
    Monique´s last blog post ..Doughnut Plant

  18. Biz

    I thought of you this morning while I had my Wednesday bagel – totally look forward to my jalapeno bagel!

    Good knives are so important – I have a giant butcher knife and a smaller one that I use on a daily basis and could not live without.

    We have that same toaster oven at my office – I love it!
    Biz´s last blog post ..Where is Spring

  19. Katy

    Inquiring mind… How do you roast coffee beans in an air popper? … My most used appliances are my espresso, coffee maker,steamer, blender and toaster oven.

  20. Jen

    I agree 100% on a good chef’s knife, makes a HUGE difference! I got one for Christmas and I love it! I have a family of 5, so I have to think on a bigger scale, but things that get a lot of use: jumbo skillet, foreman grill, slow cooker, blender.
    Jen´s last blog post ..Hello world!

  21. Ang

    I have a woefully inadequately equipped kitchen. No mixer, no food processor, no good knifes, no rolling pin, no biscuit or cookie cutters, the list goes on and on. I am always improvising. If I had a cooking show it would be called Ghetto Kitchen! lol

    I carry this Sachi Lunch bag to work. MIL gave it to me for Christmas. It’s pretty roomy! I also keep a huge stash of food in my desk drawer. It’s embarrassing really! lol
    Ang´s last blog post ..A New Favorite Restaurant

  22. Kelly

    Oh FUN! Kitchen talk.

    I have to agree with the microplane and the parchment paper and having a good chef knife. So important.

    I also love my KTec Blender (the kind they use at Starbucks) blends anything to death. Also use my thermapen thermometer all the time. Chimney charcoal starter by Weber. Must have! The Kitchenaid Mixer is wonderful. A good set of pans, absolutely. I get most of my kitchen wish list from Alton Brown and America’s Test Kitchen.
    Oh, and I LOVE my slapchopper. Use it for veggies, nuts, meat…anything that needs chopping.
    Kelly´s last blog post ..The Tuesday Munchies and Headaches

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