My Top 10 Kitchen Essentials

I cook from scratch most of the time. My major in college was Culinary Arts, so as you might imagine, I have a lot of cooking utensils and gadgets. Here are my top ten kitchen items. These are my essentials for cooking.

  1. George Foreman Grill – I love being able to grill even when it's raining or snowing. Cleanup is very easy.
  2. Cast Iron Skillet – So versatile. Cast iron does require special care, and it is heavy, but it's worth it. I use my cast iron on the stove top or in the oven. I've used it for everything from sauteing chicken to baking cornbread to making shepherd's pie.
  3. Pampered Chef Nylon Pan Scrapers – These will scrape anything off your pots and pans. They also come in handy when cleaning if you've got something stubborn stuck to your counter tops. They can even scrape ice of car windows in a pinch.
  4. A Colander (that fits in my dishwasher and is dishwasher safe) – I found this stainless steel colander at Ikea. It's big enough for draining a pot of potatoes or pasta, but small enough that it easily fits in my dishwasher.
  5. Whetstone – Sharp knives are safer than dull knives. My brother bought this one for me at a Bass Pro Shop for Christmas.
  6. Wilton Armetale Serving Pieces – These are incredible. I can place a tray in the refrigerator to chill it for a fruit plate. I can bake food in the oven right on them. They are so pretty and they work well with many different decorating styles.

4.Pampered Chef Baking Stones – I'm not sure I even remember how to bake cookies on metal sheets any more. These bake so evenly. Just remember not to use soap on these.

  1. Color Coded Cutting Boards – This is a trick I learned in cooking school. I have a red cutting board for raw meat, a green one for vegetables, and a white one for cooked foods. It helps prevent cross contamination.
  2. Garlic Press – I use this almost every day. Garlic adds a lot of flavor to foods. I find I use less salt when I use fresh garlic. Bonus: Using a garlic press means my fingers don't reek like they would if I minced the garlic by hand.
  3. Kitchenaid Mixer– This is an expensive item, but it is amazing. A must for serious cooks. You can use the dough hook to make bread, the paddle to mash potatoes, and of course the whisk for baking.