Health, Lifestyle, Nutrition, Wellness

3 Must-Haves for Your Kitchen

Heart-shaped cutting board with zucchini spiralizer

Over the past few years, I’ve learned to love cooking even though I’ve had just as many cooking “fails” as I’ve had successes. Last week, I attempted a new baked fish recipe that I’m pretty sure our two dogs wouldn’t even touch … and they eat twigs and leaves. But, for every kitchen flop, there’s an opportunity to learn, tweak and try again. And I’ve learned that a few kitchen staples can make even a cooking novice feel like a pro. I’ve been sucked into clever marketing in the past when it comes to cooking gadgets; who among us doesn’t have a Panini maker or indoor grill collecting dust in the back of our cupboards? But there are three tools that I keep coming back to time and time again.

Cast iron pan – I used to be intimidated by this kind of pan. After all, they’re clunky, they look slightly medieval and they seem hard to clean. But after I bought one on sale and realized how many delicious recipes I could make, I was hooked. I was actually inspired to try a cast iron pan after TOPS News magazine ran a pan roasting feature in the February/March 2018 issue. Since then, I’ve made pan-roasted salmon, steak and a mouth-watering chicken parmesan. And I always feel a little chef-like whenever I take the pan from the top of the oven and place it inside to bake.

Vegetable spiralizer – I originally thought this was a gimmicky gadget, and now I’m “spiralizing” just about any veggie I can. I’ve made zoodles (zucchini noodles), cucumber noodles and sweet potato noodles, just to name a few. Veggie noodles turned out to be the perfect companion to the previously-mentioned chicken parm. Food marketers have caught on to the zoodle craze and have begun offering pre-packaged vegetable noodles, but they tend to be pricey and spoil quickly. A small, handheld spiralizer generally runs about $10 and is worth the investment.

Crockpot – Nothing new or fancy here: just a kitchen classic that can have a healthy dinner waiting for you at home. With a little prep, you can have dinner ready for you and your family without that after-work I-don’t-feel-like-cooking feeling.

Now that you know about the kitchen tools I can’t live without, I want to hear about yours! Share them in the comment section below. Here’s to adventures in the kitchen!

23 thoughts on “3 Must-Haves for Your Kitchen

  1. I love a cast iron pan!!! I use my crock pot a lot, but the stainless steel ones are healthier and I am buying one soon. Haven’t bought a spiralizer yet, that’ll be next. Thanks!!!

  2. I’ve used cast iron skillets my entire life from a little girl in my mother’s kitchen to present. I actually have 3 different sizes. Nothing better than cornbread baked in a iron skillet.

    1. Me too!! I have three different sizes and have always baked my cornbread on one. I fry my potatoes in the one I have a cast iron lid to fit it!!

  3. Great list! I eat tons of vegetables, but I haven’t tried spiralizing any yet. I do like using my cast iron pan. I think if we’re excited about cooking, we’re all more likely to prepare healthy meals at home, which is essential for weight loss/maintenance.

  4. I have a stove with a glass cooktop. The instructions specify no cast iron pans. That said. I could not live without my food processors. I have two sizes.

    1. I’m happy you warned us about using cast iron pans on glass top stoves. I have a glass top stove … I don’t remember reading about that in my stove guide.

      1. If your flat top stove ever gives up the ghost get yourself a gas stove. We run ours on propane and it’s super cheap. Our cast iron pan (12 inch) is perfect for it. It’s nice to brown chicken in it then put the whole thing in the oven to finish the cooking.

        Love the spiralizer, too.
        Maggie: Thanks for the reminder! Mine has been sitting for over a year.

    2. I didn’t use mine on the glass cooktop for three years and THEN I read an article that said you could use them just take extra care in placing them on the burner. I have been using mine for over a year and there is not an issue with the cooktop. Hope this helps you.

      1. I also use my cast iron dutch oven and frying pan on the glass top cooktop, for years without any problems.

  5. I have two favourites, actually. My food processor is something I use regularly and the second is my toaster oven. I live alone and use my toaster oven constantly and couldn’t live without it.

  6. I bought a very sturdy spirolizer from Lee Valley a few years ago and I really love many neat ways to do up veggies…love my crockpot and food processor…I don’t use the cast iron fry pans and I have 2 of them..i have one small lagostina that suits me perfectly

  7. I bought a vegetable spirolizer and i really love it!! also my crockpot and iron frying pans are always used !!

  8. I bought an electric pressure cooker. I love it. No worries about it exploding or getting burned. And you can make almost any thing in it, including yogurt!.

  9. I use my heavy cast iron skillet on top of a wire frog on the glass top burner. Have been using this skillet for 58 years. My mother gave me hers when I got married. Blessed!

    1. What is a wire frog and where can they be purchased? I would love to use my cast iron pan.

  10. I love my Pressure Cooker, for cooking meats from frozen to ready in the time it would take to defrost the meat. You can brown meat, before or after cooking. Gravy can be made by using the sauté button. I have had good luck with fish like cod and salmon too. I have started making pasta in the pressure cooker, and so far…pleasantly surprised. I find I am often pleasantly surprised by most of the recipes I have tried. I do use a bowl to cook rice and similar products rather than using the stainless steel insert, just to prevent the sticking or burning, I have read about in comments by other users.

  11. I absolutely love my little smoothie maker. I just ordered a handheld spiralizer. Thank you for the tip.

  12. What about the hand held spiralizers versus the counter ones? Pros and Cons if you know them.
    As for must haves, NU Wave oven, I no longer use toaster, toaster oven, or regular oven, have not even used regular oven except for storage for about 7 years. My microwave is specifically for heating liquids at this point.
    In a NuWave oven, Cornish hen goes straight from freezer to cooked well, crispy, and flavorful with no spices in just over an hour.

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