Fitness Minutes: (1,998)
547 5/16/13 12:42 P
Now that I've got my cast iron pans out of storage and reseasoned, I have been using them more. Love them. My other favorite must have cooking tools are some bamboo spatulas that I got from Pampered Chef. They hold up great for EVERYTHING! I have 2 sets and use them in non-stick pans, cast iron, my steel skillets and on baking sheets for stirring oven fries and such! They are a must have item!
Fitness Minutes: (2,259)
167 5/16/13 12:15 P
My old, truly slow crockpot and full size Breville Smart Oven. I rarely use the large oven anymore. I also love my Zojirushi bread maker but don't eat that much bread now. I got a pressure cooker; it does a fine job but I'm not the pressure cooker type. Slow cooker much more my style, set it and forget it! For utensils I like a Danish whisk, silicone spatulas, wooden spatulas, Oxo peeler (though I rarely peel anything), Oxo salad spinner, Oxo pepper mill (Oxo is a great product line), and some squirt bottles like the kind diners use for ketchup and mustard; they come in really handy at the stove for oil, vinegar, and other liquids. Oooo and my Kershaw knife that I wash all day so I don't have to use any of my other knives, including Wustofs! http://www.amazon.com/Kershaw-Knives-Utili ty-Serrated-Packed/dp/B0002XMYMW/ref=s r_1_5?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1368720722 &sr=1-5&keywords=kershaw+knives
If you're looking for really really good non-stick pots/pans, then Anolon or Calphalon are some of the best out there. They are PRICY, however.
If you want these expensive sets to last long, you really should also follow the manufacturer's care instructions. For instance, a lot of non-stick pans, you really shouldn't use high heat with them, and putting them in a dishwasher is a no-no (harsh dishwasher detergents can eventually wear away at the non-stick coating.) Also avoid metal utensils with non-stick pans... you should stick to wood or special heat-resistant plastics.
Stainless steel, you can blast at high heat if you want and pretty much abuse them all you want, they're just a pain to clean at times.
Fitness Minutes: (9,785)
89 5/15/13 1:56 P
slow cooker and grill are my two favs
Fitness Minutes: (92)
13 5/15/13 1:15 P
BBQ and foil. I discoverd (almost) everything on a grill can be wrapped in foil! Easy and GOOD, almost like a crockpot in that you don't have to add much for it to get juicy and flavorable. That includes veggies and meat, together or seperate.
Fitness Minutes: (23,372)
829 5/14/13 4:14 P
I have a motley assortment of Le Creuset, Calphalon,Cuisinart and others, all of which were bought at Home Goods or the Calphalon outlet store in the outlet mall. My first Le Creuset pan was a hand-me-down from my boss when I was getting my first apartment. That was 25 years ago and it was probably 20 years old when she gave it to me. Still going strong.
I have Calphalon cake pans, muffin pans and cookie sheets, and it really makes a huge difference to have heavy-duty pans. Things don't burn, they brown evenly. I bought all of them at the outlet mall too; I probably paid less than ten dollars a pan.
I love my immersion blender, my Kitchen Aide Mixer, my food processer, but my favorite cooking tool, from a dieting standpoint is my microplane grater. It makes everything so fine that it looks like you have twice as much! I love doing cheese with it, because what looks like a huge pile is actually half an ounce. I can use half as much cheese in a salad or to top a casserole and still feel like I am eating CHEESE!
My favorite Cooking piece is my NuWave Oven, Do a lot of cooking in this from soups to anything including dessert. My other is a couple of ceramic coated pans that make it possible and easy cooking with less grease, I use Pam once in a while but also learned not to move to fast when unloading pan cause the food slides out fast and easy to clean.
Fitness Minutes: (1,588)
92 5/14/13 12:30 P
Microwave I think is my favorite. Have memory like a sieve and the ability to just chuck a frozen soup straight from the freezer into the microwave is really handy.
I've recently bought a halogen oven - great for baked potatoes and roasting veg. Unfortunately I haven't mastered how to get pastry to cook evenly. Given I'm trying to lose weight that may be a good thing!
Cast Iron Everything! It lasts FOREVER! we have cast iron frying pans (you season them and they get a non stick coating that is healthy for you) and cast iron Dutch oven (big pot that you can use on top of the stove, in the oven, over fires ...)
cast iron will actually leach iron into your food - sounds bad at first doesn't it? but it is actually very good! a large percentage of people (especially women) are iron deficient and cast iron can help
you can see health reasons for cooking with cast iron in this article: http://www.eatingwell.com/healthy_cooking/ healthy_cooking_101_basics_and_techniq ues/3_health_reasons_to_cook_with_cast _iron?page=4
Fitness Minutes: (40,537)
108 5/13/13 11:38 P
Like GRAMCRACKER46, I have the Wolfgang Puck stainless chicken fryer from Marshall’s. I’ll definitely buy more stainless pans! They sear foods so much better than non-stick and they clean up easily. They’re not great for some things, particularly those that require a bit more oil so as not to stick, like eggs.
I spend a fair amount of time cooking and I tend to wear out my non-stick skillet. Well, they get “seasoned” on the outside (or ugly, depending on how you look at it) and my family doesn’t always use non-scratch utensils. I buy an inexpensive but reasonably heavy skillet and plan on replacing it in a few years. I’ve liked the Rachael Ray brand, but whatever is suitable works for me. Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, and Homegoods are great places to look.
I’ve also got an old stainless steel 4 quart saucepan handed down from my mother-in-law to my husband when he was in college. I ADORE IT. I always look at thrift stores for similar ones.
While matched sets are lovely, “pretty is as pretty does.” I like my eclectic collection.
I have a set of nesting cookware made by Cuisinart that's great. The handles are removable/interchangeable to the various bases, and all of it is stovetop and oven safe. I also have a "camping" pot that we bought for using on our boat; it's nothing but a regular (3 qt?) pot with a steamer basket and lid...but I use it incessantly.
I also love my cast iron skillets - wonderful pan-seared steaks I finish in the oven! mmm Heavy, but worth it.
Other basic stuff... the immersion blender; our countertop convection oven; a plain old toaster oven which we use a *lot*; the slow cooker...I have a cool electric pressure cooker/smoker that's new and I haven't used yet, but I'm eager!
I use a lot of manual things too - a 'tater masher and an old hand-crank egg beater...and I *would* use my wonderful KitchenAid mixer more if I had space to keep it up on the countertop. We have no space here, and the machine is just too heavy to lift up there as often as I'd like to use it. The immersion blender covers most things I'd rather use the KA for, luckily.
I second the suggestion for the Silpat liners. If you bake a lot, it will earn its value against parchment paper. Spend some time perusing restaurant resupply sellers, too. Not the new stuff, necessarily... but look at things in a different light: I have a magnificent lasagna pan, about 9x12, but 4" deep! it's actually a steam table pan...but it works great for casseroles. They come in all sorts of sizes. Flea markets can yield some amazing items if you look at them as something other than what they were created for.
I envy you your kitchen safari! it sounds like fun.
Fitness Minutes: (4,297)
292 5/13/13 7:02 P
I could not live with out my cast iron dutch oven. any sort of oven safe, stove safe dutch oven is probably your best investment. (le Cruset, cuisinart, paula dean makes one, etc) You can use it as your stock pot when making soups, your sauce pot when making sauce, your casserole dish when basking casseroles. Its literally just the best thing I've ever owned. I would probably trade all of my other pots and pans just for this one. I rarely use anything else. It cleans like a dream, holds a lot, cooks everything perfectly, and you can use it for one pot meals. I've made everything from Chicken Tikka Masala, Pot Roast, Deserts, boiled water for pasta, soups, spagetthi, etc. It was expensive, but well worth it.
My second favorite item is my kitchen aid mixer. I make a lot with it- I have the meat grinder attachment and I grind my own beef- so i really know whats going in there. Im learnings to make sausages, keilbsa (the meat grinder also makes a killer mashed potato).
My third would be my lodge cast iron grill pans/ flat gridle. I am going to buy a lodge cast iorn dutch oven that I get to season myself.
Good knives and good pots/pans are a great investment and will last forever. It is worth buying the pieces as you can afford them and building up a quality collection, rather than buying a full set of lesser-quality stuff.
For stainless pots and pans I have Cuisinart stuff and expect it to last forever. The high-sided pans are really nice because things can be browned in them, and then go straight into the oven. I bought mine as open stock pieces through Amazon and they weren't too expensive, and my friend who has lots of All-Clad pans admits that they are probably 98% as good for a quarter of the price.
For nonstick, it seems like they get little mars in the coating, no matter how careful we are, so I try not to spend a ton as I know they'll need to be replaced every few years. Bed Bath and Beyond usually has 2-3 nonstick pans like Calphalon in a package deal for around $60, plus there are always 20% off coupons floating around to bring the price down more for some pretty good quality nonstick pieces.
It's also really nice to have an enameled dutch oven. Lodge makes a good one for much less than Le Creuset. At the Le Creuset price point, there is also Staub, which I think is nicer, but I will keep using my Lodge brand until it needs to be replaced.
Last year I bought a Breville electric wok, and use it a lot in the summer for stirfry and cooking vegetables and curries. It heats up the kitchen less than the stove, and is large enough to make a full meal in one pan.
For knives, I splurged on Wusthof, and they are worth every penny. At first, an 8" chef's knife is all you really need, and you can add to the collection later. I also have a Global vegetable knife and it is absolutely the best thing for dealing with large, hard vegetables like beets and acorn squash. Something about the blade design makes it work these types of veggies much more safely than the normal chef's knife.
Don't forget to check places like TJMaxx for things like baking sheets. They often have good quality stuff for low prices, and that is one place where you can save money. They often have Cuisinart pots and pans and other name brands as well.
Edited by: KAPELAKIN at: 5/12/2013 (11:11)
Fitness Minutes: (9,521)
294 5/12/13 10:31 A
I cook a lot, so I splurged on my tools a little:
I bought the Fissler Pro line of pots and pans- they're really heavy, but they heat fast and uniformly and are useable with every type of stove (I think- gas, electric, ceran/ceramic and induction at least!). I have: - a 2.5 gallon/10l pot (they're European so everything's in metric), great for soups and tomato sauce - a specialized pasta pot - three smaller pots ranging from 1.5l to 1.3 gallon/5l - a pot with a wire mesh insert for steaming vegetables - four pans of varying sizes, the largest being 1.25ft diameter, the smallest about 6in
EDIT: I forgot my most recent splurge, a double boiler. No more watery chocolate!
I also own a Le Creuset crock pot/roast casserole bought at a kitchen outlet store and a cast-iron wok I got at an Asian housewares store (that one was quite the big investment but has paid off- I've had it for fourteen years now). Le Creuset is a great brand for oven-safe cookware, so if you're looking into getting casseroles you can serve your meal in, they're also pretty nice to look at.
Other than those pots and pans, I always use parchment paper (works better than silicone for me since it tends to absorb oils and moisture to some degree) on my cooking sheets in the oven. High-quality silicone molds for cakes and muffins work, but the cheap stuff gets sticky after just a few uses. I prefer metal, though, because somehow it works better with the more complicated stuff. Exception: Pralines. Use silicone for those.
Invest in quality whisks and spatulas/cooking spoons- I have a range of KitchenAid whisks from extra small to large for every possible task (e.g. vinaigrette- I don't make that much normally, so a small whisk for a small bowl it is). My spatulas and cooking spoons are hardwood, bought at the Farmers' Market.
I agree with CMCOLE on the rice cooker- it is the only large kitchen appliance I have and use regularly. I never got into the big machines, too much work to set up and put away, instead I work with an immersion blender, a small Magic Bullet, and a handheld electric mixer. Those are all high-powered brand-name tools, though, because I use them a LOT.
I do a lot of Indonesian, Thai and Japanese cooking so my pestles and mortar, different grinders and graters, and manual garlic press see a lot of use, too.
Different bowls for different purposes: Metal, ceramic, clay, plastic. Bread dough, e.g., turns out best if I let it rest/mix it in a clay bowl. I need a lot of bowls- I tend to prep all my ingredients before I start cooking and have them ready in a series of bowls according to the order in which they go in.
My #1 most important cooking tool, though? The cleaning rag.
smoothies? I had not thought of that - I feel stupid! Of course, fruits, vedg and some good natural yoghurts - will it crush seeds ie flax, pumpkin, sunflower do you know - I do have a little electric whizzer machine (non-tekkie) to do tablets etc, and is invaluable for arthritics like me! The blender for smoothie sounds great though, I have got some e-books and am embarking on opening up my thinking, my repertoire and dropping those dress sizes!
An immersion, hand held blender, I can purée my soups, make smoothies etc, minimizing cleanup and hassles.
Fitness Minutes: (51,352)
225 5/10/13 9:43 P
non lead ceramic cookware (NOT PORCELAIN COATED) and a silicone scraper/spatula are my favorites ....can do almost anything with em....
Fitness Minutes: (1,818)
771 5/10/13 4:48 P
My favorite cooking tool is my crock pot! It's a life saver and I can't live without it.
Fitness Minutes: (2,119)
396 5/10/13 3:11 P
My Misto with EVOO is my best friend. Don't have to worry about nonstick surfaces and problems they will discover with the new ones down the road. It is healthy, minimal calories and takes care of sticking issues.
Thanks everyone!! I've never tried the silicone mats, definitely going to check those out. I can't wait to go shopping now! My husband likes to cook sometimes too, so we are thinking about getting really nice, long-lasting pieces and calling it mother's day/father's day all in one.
Non stick has to be unscathed. It isn't the aluminum underneath that is a problem, but the coating itself. Also, if your spatula is shedding strands of plastic, file it down!
I don't use non stick, although there are times I wish I had it. I have lodge cast iron with a vegan seasoning.(coconut and olive oil. One does not have to use animal fat to season.) The cast iron allows me to use thin metal tools. My other pans are revere ware I have picked up at thrift stores, although I did buy lids off eBay. They cost as much as the pans!
I use wood or bamboo on them, although metal would be fine, and if something is being overly sticky, I will pull out the metal.
Baking sheets? I got some 1/4 size jelly roll pans form a restaurant supply place. They are likely aluminum, but I use a silicone mat on them. The small size is because of an undersized oven. A half sheet is fine in the average American oven.
Difference between a baking sheet and a jelly roll pan? Lipped edges. I like to oven roast veggies, so a lip was good. Cookie sheets are made to slide off the cookies.
Fitness Minutes: (120)
2,171 5/10/13 11:56 A
Tramontina, which is sold at Wal-Mart, has surprisingly good reviews and it doesn't cost much. Also the cookware at Ikea, if you have one near you, from their 365 line (not the cheaper stuff) is really great. But, I'm not a fan of buying sets since they often have pieces you will very rarely use and just have to find a place to store them. I think you can just piece stuff together that you will actually use for the same cost or less than a set.
My big non-stick skillet is from Ikea, it cost $25 and I use it almost daily. They sell a separate lid for it, so I bought that too, I think it was $10. My smaller non-stick skillet is Kitchen-Aid brand and I bought it at Home Goods (Same as TJ Maxx, Marshall's) for probably $10. Same for my pots.... saucepan is a cheapo one from HomeGoods but it works just fine, and I have a bigger "dutch oven" style 5 qt stainless steel pot with lid that I got at HomeGoods. I also have a Lodge Cast Iron skillet and a Calphalon stainless steel smaller skillet that I use occasionally. My baking sheets are not non-stick, just heavy duty metal (aluminum? not sure) and I bought them at a restaurant supply store. For baking on them I use silicone mats (silpat) and for roasting veggies I put aluminum foil on them for easy cleanup.
Basically you just want to look for something that looks and feels substantial... like a lot of those pans that come in a "kitchen in a box" set like you get in college are pretty thin and flimsy feeling.
If you're wanting to drop some cash on stuff that will last you a looooong time, Calphalon or All Clad is the way to go. But that will run at least $300 to get a decent set going. I plan on asking for that when I get married :)
Edited by: YOJULEZ at: 5/10/2013 (11:57)
Fitness Minutes: (15,481)
1,168 5/10/13 11:41 A
For non stick I believe ceramic cookware is the best. I picked up 2 kitchenaide skillets at my Marshalls for about $10 each. Ceramic coating is that product they sell on TV that the cheese doesn't stick to.
Also, I have a big Wolfgang Puck stainless chicken fryer with a glass lid that can go in the oven. It is not non-stick but honestly it cleans up better than the non-stick. Another Marshalls buy.
I have two Cuisinart jelly roll pans from there also. Nothing cost more than $15 - $20. Marshalls is like TJ Max depending what part of the country you live in.
Good luck and happy cooking!
I know mine are mix and match, but I love them.
Fitness Minutes: (6,555)
2,246 5/10/13 11:33 A
I know there's a law in effect that forces manufacturers to move away from teflon to other, more environmentally friendly surfaces by 2015 so ceramic is going to be the next thing.
Hi everyone! My pots and pans are reaching the end of their life - the nonstick surface is all scratched and I think they are aluminum underneath, not good. And my baking sheets are sticky even after scrubbing .. too much cooking spray? Time for replacements!! I have had them all since college and have NO idea what the "good" brands are for cooking supplies. Does anyone have a favorite set that they swear by? My husband and I are going shopping this weekend and I'd love to have some suggestions to go by! Thanks!
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