I’ve compiled a list of must-have kitchen gadgets that won’t break the bank. You can find all of the following goodies for $30 or less!
1. Pizza Baking Stone- I’ve mentioned my love for baking stones in my previous post, “Four Easy Steps to a Pizzeria-Tasting Pie at Home”. For around $30, you can pick one up just about anywhere that sells kitchen gadgets. The stone will ensure the perfect combination of a crispy yet chewy crust. The more you use it, the better your pizzas will taste. After your first run with a pizza baking stone, I’m confident you’ll agree it was $30 well spent. Note: The stones aren’t meant to be washed. I just keep mine on the bottom self of my oven. Crumbs and sauce overspill burn off.
2. Cheese Grater- Not only are they easy to use, but fresh grated cheese just tastes better! They come in all shapes, sizes and prices. I use a box cheese grater, which I got at Bed Bath and Beyond for about $20. It has four sides; each side grates the cheese a different size. My only complaint about using a cheese grater is cleaning it; it’s not easy. I usually try to scrape most of the cheese remains off with a brush then stick it in the dishwasher. Be careful when cleaning! The little grates are sharp and can tear up your sponge and fingers.
3. Microplane- Don’t need to grate an entire block of cheese? Try a microplane! They are perfect when you only need to grate a small amount of cheese or for zesting fruit. Plus, they’re much easier to clean than a box cheese grater. You can find them for as little as $9 at Zesco, a kitchen supply company in downtown Indianapolis. If you don’t live in the Indy area, no worries! You can order hundreds of kitchen goodies (for your home or restaurant) from Zesco online at http://www.zesco.com/ .
4. Salad Spinner- Costing only $10 at Bed Bath and Beyond, my salad spinner has been a real money saver! Instead of buying bagged salad, I now use my salad spinner to make my own vegetable combinations. I chop lettuce, carrots, green peppers, onions, (essentially whatever is in season) and throw them into the colander that sits inside of the spinner. In the colander, I wash all of the veggies then give them a spin. Spinning the veggies dry them and perfectly mixes them together. You can also store any extra salad in the spinner. Talk about multipurpose!
5. Spatula- No kitchen is complete without this classic go-to utensil. It makes EVERYTHING easier! Lindy Brown, who loves to bake, said the spatula is one kitchen utensil she wouldn’t live without. You can find them in just about any color and size you could imagine. One of my favorite spatulas actually has a conversion table on the back. I got it at home goods for around $5.
6. Whisk- Do yourself a favor, and get a whisk if you haven’t already. It is one of the most versatile utensils in the kitchen. They’re great for making everything from salad dressing to brownies. This is another of Lindy’s favorites. It makes whipping up a delicious breakfast- which Lindy loves to do for her family on the weekends- easier and faster. Lindy said, “In a pinch, I've made whipped cream with a whisk when I couldn't find the egg beater.” You can find them virtually anywhere that sells kitchen supplies for under $10.
7. Magnetic Knife Strip- Why not bring some of the conveniences of a commercial kitchen into your home? Place the magnetic knife strip on the wall where you do most of your food preparation. Annie Zoll, whose family has been in the kitchen supplies business for years, said, “I love the magnetic knife holder because it is easy to see, access and also it maintains a clean and clutter-free counter space or work top space!” You can find magnetic knife strips at Zesco for only $9.If your kitchen is missing any of the above items, consider investing in them. After all, you could pick up all seven items for less than $100. That’s $100 well spent, in my opinion!
We would love to hear about any of your favorite utensils that didn’t make our list! Feel free to email us with any comments or questions at TheCutieCooks@gmail.com . Happy Cooking!
P.S. A special thanks to Lindy Brown and Annie Zoll for their input. You can follow them on Twitter- @LindyABrown and @AnnieZoll .