Essential Kitchen Tools For No-Fuss Healthy Living

kitchenware, essential kitchen tools

Unsplash-Annie Spratt

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If you were marooned on that proverbial desert island with just a few choices of kitchen tools which would you choose?  Before you respond with the supply list to this impending Castaway scenario, you need to consider the indispensable skill of multitasking in the kitchen. Choose essential kitchen tools that bolster your no-fuss meal prep performance while reducing your time in the kitchen. Fellow culinary multitaskers, think The Cat in the Hat:

I can hold up the cup

And the milk and the cake!

I can hold up these books!

And the fish and the rake!

The following essential kitchen tools not only create a well-equipped kitchen, but they are also durable, reasonably priced, easy to use, non-toxic, and take culinary multi-tasking to a new level.

Essential Kitchen Tools for No-Fuss Healthy Living Kitchen

Cookware

We live in a microwave-less house so high quality; nonstick cookware is a big deal to me when we reheat leftovers or follow a recipe.

Lodge Logic Cast-iron Skillets and Green Pan Ceramic Skillet– back to the basics with these tough skillets.  Traditional non-stick skillets use two questionable and controversial chemicals: perfluorinated chemicals (PFC) “They are a likely carcinogenic and have been shown to cause cancer in animal studies, according to the EPA’s Science Advisory Review Panel.”

The editors of  Cook’s Illustrated Magazine determined that“a great skillet will transmit heat evenly across its cooking surface. This helps you produce uniformly cooked food, with no under or overcooked spots.”

All-clad saute´ pans

Clad is a style of the pan where the “entire pan consists of three or more layers (try-ply) of metal.

Le Creuset (Dutch Oven)

Every aspiring real foodie needs one dutch oven perched on the stove top. Every time I use my Le Creuset to make boeuf bourguignon, I feel like Julia Child’s culinary understudy. Aside from my grain mill, the Le Creuset is my favorite kitchen tool.  Therefore, I need to get creative if I want to stow this baby on my imaginative deserted island reprieve.

The versatile enameled cast iron dutch oven is ideal for soups, stocks, stews, sauces, and even baking artisan bread.

Small Appliances

No fuss cooking means chopping and dicing without breaking a sweat. Supermarkets offer pre-chopped and pre-diced vegetables at a hefty price. With a mini-food processor, you can chop an entire onion in the time it takes you to break open the plastic packaging of the pre-chopped sort.

Cuisinart DLC-2ABC Mini-Prep Plus Food Processor

Vitamix– this is the machine that makes your pesto, smoothies, and almond milk, and almond butter tastes like the pros.

Kitchen Aid 4.5 Quart electric mixer –  the stalwart small appliance that should hold the front line on your countertop.

 Wondermill– If you are going to eat bread, the healthiest way to consume grain products in our modern culture is to mill your grain. Any baked goods that you purchase from the supermarket will not only expand your girth, but commercially manufactured bread offers very little nutritional value. If you can’t commit to grinding your own, then skip the GF/Non-GF baked goods, remove it from your diet. Seriously. We are farmers and know enough about how grain is processed once it leaves our farm. Read more about the benefits of milling your wheat here.

You can make your gluten-free flour by milling your GF ingredients. Save yourself a ton of money and develop the practice of making your GF flour.

healthy living

Measuring Tools

Bellemain Stainless Steel Measuring Cup Set, 6 Piece – Invest in stainless steel measuring cups rather than their plastic counterparts.  Sure, plastic is cheaper but after months of washing the lines of measurement tend to vanish.  You will most likely only need to buy one set of stainless measuring cups during the entire tenure in your kitchen.

 3-Piece Glass Measuring Cup Set – an assortment of Pyrex liquid measuring cups with a pour spout and handle are sturdy and non-toxic.

Stainless steel measuring spoons – sturdy, elongated spoons narrow enough to dip into a narrow spice jar to make your signature vinaigrette.

Norpro Stainless Steel Cookie Scoop Set of 3 – these starter kitchen scoops help you to fill your muffin tins mess-free.  In the set, use the smaller scoop for proportioning your cookie dough.

Bakeware

Nordic Ware 12-Cup Standard Muffin Pan

Pyrex 2 Piece Oblong Bakeware Value Pack, – Oven-safe, eco-friendly pans for even baking.

Heavy Duty Stainless Stain Bakeware, Baking, Cooling, Oven Roasting, Broiler Rack, Cross Wire, Pack of 2, Compatible with Various Baking Sheets Oven Pans – cool those cookies, roast your beef, broil bacon, need I list any more reasons to use these no-fuss versatile, multi-tasking cooling racks.

Utensils

Wisks – if there’s a wisk, there’s a way to rich froth. All-purpose, long and agile wisks are the wisk to go, uh, I mean way to go.

Grater – razor-sharp grater with a collecting cup attachment so that you can say goodbye to countertop mess.

Tongs – the reigning monarch of your kitchen needs at least a pair of these scalloped edged tongs. If you are the queen cook at your house, then treat yourself to a pair. Forbid the little lords and ladies of your household to use them to remove roadkill or birds that smashed into your sliding glass door and bit the dust.

5-Quart Colander – Professional Strainer with Heavy Duty Handles and Self-draining   – this is the maverick of colanders! Unlike other colanders, this one has hundreds of tiny holes so that the smallest legume will not escape.

Messermeister 8-Inch Take-Apart Kitchen Scissors – nothing has caused more family consternation than my kids using the kitchen shears to rip open a highly anticipated Amazon box. To prevent family squabbles (primarily with me), I provide a pair of scissors specifically for paper, boxes, and tags.  That way, no one should for one second consider using my culinary shears for anything but cutting produce into bite-sized pieces. Rant over.

The unique feature of these shears: they can be taken apart for thorough cleaning.

Zester – once your palate gets accustomed to the zest of lime, orange, lemon, or ginger, a dried version of these will most certainly taste like paper.

Cutting Board

Premium Bamboo Cutting Board Set of 4 – Eco-Friendly Wood Chopping Boards with Juice Groove for Food Prep,  100% Natural Bamboo Craftsmanship – I have a handcrafted cutting board with a juice groove.  I prefer a porous board rather than one made from synthetic material.  One would think that my encounter with E. Coli and Salmonella would secure my allegiance to plastic or glass cutting boards.

I researched so you wouldn’t have to (thank me later). Let’s stick with wood or bamboo.

Messermeister Pro-Touch Peeler – The key to a compatible relationship with your peeler is to date a few awful ones. You know, the cheap ones that shred the skin on your knuckles instead of peeling the potato. The Messermeister glides across the sleek form of a butternut squash like nobody’s business.

Knives

Since cutting boards and knives are partners in crime, I initially thought about placing them side by side in this article. The former English teacher in me won over my whim to mix the categories. I am suffering from knife envy lately.  As you know, I am a real foodie who practices almost every culinary verb that requires the use of a knife in a week’s meal plan: core, cut, dice, eviscerate (we live on a farm so, yes, this verb is essential), slice, shred…

One would expect that I own a flashy set of knives. Quite the contrary, my knife drawer resembles the cutlery shelf at my local Goodwill Store. I would kill for a great paring knife. Bad pun.

If the Emmert Wolf quote, “A man is only as good as his tools” applied to kitchen knives, my family would be starving.

Dulled and damaged, the knives in my drawer beg me to let them retire. One day soon, I will demote my knives to the status of garden tools; for now, they remain a victim of my frugality. Maybe this year, I will promote them to my Christmas wish list.

My wish list knives based on reviews from the team at Cook’s Illustrated:

Victorinox 5-Inch Mini-Chef’s Knife with Fibrox Handle, Chef’s, 8″ Blade, 2″ At Red Fibrox Pro Handle,

 Swiss Classic 3-Piece Chef’s Set

How Not to Blow Your Budget on Essential Kitchen Tools

My advice is to prioritize your kitchen tool list.  Everyone should own a decent knife. Start there (even though I am behind). Maybe baking is not your jam, yet. Move on and invest in cookware, like the dutch oven. If you tried your hand at milling your grain, and it looks as though bread baking will become a habit, then invest in the Wondermill.

The best advice regarding the organization of these essential kitchen tools I learned from Julia Child. Julia’s husband Paul designed a pegboard system so that the culinary icon could have her favorite tools within reach, “no digging around the cabinets” she said. I agree. Keep your tools within reach. Organize your kitchen tools so that cookware and bakeware are easily accessible. Find cute, inexpensive crocks to store your utensils and keep them on the counter.

Bon appetit!

What are your favorite essential kitchen tools?

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3 Comments

  1. Jaclynne on October 8, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    I switched alotnof my cookware over to cast iron last year. I spent a lot of time reseasoning and learning the proper way to care for it. Best decision yet in my kitchenware!

  2. quiltingclimber@yahoo.com on October 10, 2018 at 11:19 am

    Love your suggestions! I have many of those tools in my kitchen. One I haven’t convinced myself I would use yet is the Dutch Oven. Do you use it similar to a crock pot, except on your stove top?

    • Denise Sultenfuss on October 10, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      The Dutch Oven is more versatile than a crockpot! Unbelievable I know, but it is a wonder in the kitchen. It is oven safe so baking artisan bread is a snap in the DO. For stovetop cooking, it is great for soups, stews, one-pot dishes, etc. It is amazingly versatile.

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