Is your kitchen a mystery to you?
Are you spending more time (and money) at restaurants because you think making food in the kitchen is a complicated or laborious process?
If so, it's time to wake up. You don't need to be a culinary wizard to make a good meal. You don't need to spend hours hovering over the stove-top to make delicious food.
There are a few simple kitchen tools that you can take advantage of to make amazing meals for yourself and your family without becoming a kitchen slave. Hint - the microwave is not one of them, sorry.
Making food should be fun, engaging, and efficient. And my hope is that this post will inspire you to get back to making your own meals & regaining control over your food.
Let me show you what kitchen tools will help you do just that.
First, a quick story...
A few months ago, my girlfriend and I were hosting a little birthday dinner party at our place. We had about 12 people coming over. 12 hungry mouths to feed.
My girlfriend decided that she wanted to make Tacos - she always makes the decisions around here anyway - and gave me the task of preparing the chicken.
I went out and bought 5-6 Lbs of chicken breasts and thighs. I brought them back home, cleaned them up a bit, threw them into my slow cooker, added a few spices and sauces, and left the thing to work it's magic.
Four hours later, I was drawn back to the kitchen by magical aromas my slow cooker was giving off.
I opened it up, took the meat out, pulled it apart slowly (for effect) with a couple of forks, and had a bowl of pulled chicken ready to fill dozens and dozens of tacos.
Total amount of time spent in the kitchen = roughly 20 minutes.
Final result = enough chicken to feed two small families.
When you have the right (kitchen) tools, anything is possible.
Time-Saving Kitchen Tools
The following kitchen tools will help you make magic in the kitchen without spending hours of your time hovering around a stove-top.
The Slow Cooker
The slow-cooker is the ultimate time-saving kitchen tool.
No kitchen should be without it. Period. It's incredibly fast and easy to create a large batch of healthy and delicious food with very little time and effort.
The slow cooker is incredibly versatile.
I've used it to make stews, chilli, pulled meat, and various other concoctions. You would be surprised to see all the cool foods people have made with it.
The process couldn't be any simpler.
You take your ingredients (meat, vegetables, sauce, etc), throw them into the slow-cooker, set the temperature (low, medium, high), and let it do its magic.
And here's the best part - you don't even have to stick around to see it cook!
Unlike an oven, which you have to monitor on a regular basis to make sure the food doesn't overcook or that your house doesn't catch on fire, the slow cooker requires very little attention.
Once you set your temperature, you can let the thing run overnight or over the course of the day. Just put the food in at night and wake up to the smell of a nice chilli or stew in the morning.
If you choose to get only ONE thing from this list, get yourself a slow-cooker. You can pick one up for under $40 at any department store.
The Food Processor
I would probably classify the food processor as not only my favorite kitchen tool, but also the one that we use most frequently.
The reason is because it is incredibly versatile and saves precious time.
We use our food processor for all sorts of things - salads (mainly), raw-food desserts, protein bars, and everything in between.
Any time I need to make a big batch of salad, I'll throw some vegetables into the food processor and get everything chopped up in seconds - literally.
See the purple below? That's the cabbage i chopped up with my processor.
The blender is probably one of the most commonly owned yet most commonly underutilized kitchen tools.
Most people will use their blender just for making smoothies, which is great. I like a good smoothie. But a good blender can offer much more than that.
My dad taught me a long time ago that blenders can help you make amazing soups.
You can put together a week's worth of delicious (and nutritious) soup in under 30 minutes using nothing but a pot and a blender.
Here's how you do it...
Chop up your vegetables, let them simmer in the pot (or use the steamer - see below) until they're nice and soft, throw everything into a big blender (with spices and water), then blend in your blender until you have a nice creamy texture.
It's that easy.
When looking for a blender, choose one that has some size and power behind it. You want to be able to fit a lot of ingredients in there and you don't want a weak little blender trying to make all that magic happen.
By the way...
If you're making a lot of smoothies, make sure to pick up a the NutriBullet or any variation of it. This small little blender is perfect for smoothies.
This is one kitchen tool not a lot of people know about, but it has been one of the best time-savers for me, particularly when it comes to preparing vegetables.
A steamer uses the steam from boiling water to cook the ingredients in the pot. And it works its magic really fast.
How do I use it?
I pour a few cups of water into my pot and let the steamer portion sit on top. I'll then add broccoli or peas or sweat potato cubes or whatever into the steamer and let the steam from the boiled water soften up the foods.
It's perfect for prepping vegetables for soups or quickly steaming vegetables to add to your better plate.
A good solid pot and steamer can be picked up with your pot collection or separately at any department store. Price will depend on quality/brand.
An Electric Kettle
Need to boil water quickly? Of course you do.
There's no faster way to do it than with an electric kettle.
We use our electric kettle every single day to boil water for tea, coffee (french press), kambucha, soup, hard-boiled eggs, and everything in between.
The best part is that you can pick this baby up for less than $30.
Storage Containers (with good lids)
This isn't as much of a tool as it is a necessity.
You definitely want to have some good storage containers on hand to help you store all of the good food you're going to be preparing (typically in larger batches) in the kitchen with your new kitchen tools.
These also come in very handy for meal prep time so you can prepare and put aside full meals for the rest of the week (if that's your thing).
I recommend purchasing some solid glass Tupperware with good lids. There's nothing worse than a good container with a really shitty lid.
A Good Kitchen Knife
You already have a knife, don't you?
Everyone has a knife in the kitchen, but a good kitchen knife makes all the difference.
You'll be using it to chop vegetables, slice meat, dice potatoes, cut open avocados, and all sorts of other things on a daily basis. So it's important that you have a sharp and well-maintained knife.
Note: always remember that a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife.
You can get lost in a world of knives. There are so many options to choose from that it can be mind-blowing. But don't over-complicate it.
If you have the means, spend a little more on your knife as you'll be using it extensively and it should last you for decades.
A Big Cutting Board
If you're going to cut things, you need something to cut them on (see image above).
A big, wide, sturdy cutting board is a huge time-saver.
If you have space in your kitchen, go get yourself a big cutting board and park it on your counter and just leave it there. You'll be using it quite often so you might as well avoid the hassle of moving it around. Just don't forget to wash it every now and then.
The idea is to give yourself as much room as possible to work with when slicing and dicing your ingredients. It just makes the process faster and more convenient.
You should be able to pick up a nice big cutting board for $20-$30.
Final Words (of Wisdom)
I hope you enjoyed this collection of simple kitchen tools and gadgets.
More importantly, I hope that this post has given you a little bit of inspiration to explore your kitchen again and start making your own meals (as everyone should).
Again, you don't need to be a kitchen wizard and you don't need fancy equipment or hours of kitchen time to make magic happen (although you can if that's what you enjoy - like I do sometimes).
With a few simple kitchen tools and gadgets, you can save yourself a lot of time and still make some great meals for your friends, your family, or just for yourself.
Take the money you were going to use at that fancy restaurant and put it towards some useful kitchen tools. You won't regret it.
Now before I sign off, let me ask you...
What is your favorite kitchen tool gadget? Leave your answer in the comment section below. I'd love to hear what's working for you.