Monday, May 12, 2014

Favorite Things: Kitchen Edition

If you’re anything like me, you spend plenty of time in front of the stove cooking meals for your family or whipping up a delicious baked treat!  Today I want to recommend some of my favorite kitchen gadgets that make cooking or baking just a bit easier.

1.  Aluminum Half Sheet Pan

I used to have multiple packs of baking sheets from Wilton, Walmart, etc to make cookies, biscuits or bake chicken, etc.  They were always covered in baked on grease, they were black and grungy looking a month after I got them.  They warped so badly in the oven you could hear them popping out of shape from the other room.  Then I discovered this:


The Nordic Ware Aluminum Half Sheet Pan is heavy-duty and won’t warp.  It’s huge which means I can make more cookies at once and it doesn’t fit in the dishwasher so I’m forced to handwash it (which you should anyway to make it last longer!)  The only problem is that it’s not nonstick, so that’s where item number two comes in…

2.  Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat

Ahhh, silpat, where have you been all my life!!!!  I seriously love this thing!  You can find these in many different colors and brands, but I just got the original Silpat brand


It fits my sheet pan perfectly, of course, and it’s totally heat proof.  It also rolls up for easy storage, I just put it with the aluminum foil in the drawer.  Plus, nothing sticks to it.  It makes perfectly browned cookies and biscuits, and it’s easy to wipe clean after use.  (If I’m making something other than baked goods, I just line my baking sheet with foil for easy clean up.)  And if you are a chicken wing-lover like we are, you will need this:

3. Half Sheet Pan Wire Rack

This also fits my pan perfectly so we can oven roast a bunch of chicken wings quickly and easily.  You can also use it for a multitude of other things: draining fried foods, cooling cakes and cookies, etc.  It’s great!71Bwo6JBG9L._SL1500_

And since you are doing all this baking, you are going to need a reliable oven mitt to get your pan out of the oven, like this one:

4. Silicone Oven Mitt

I wouldn’t settle for any regular old silicone mitt, though, I found this one from Mastrad with the thumb on the bottom for great flexibility (I find those with the thumb on the side hard to use). Not only is it heat proof, it’s waterproof so you can stick your hand in boiling water to fish out an ear of corn if you want.  The main reason I got this is because it’s easy to clean; I was getting tired of ruining my oven mitts with grease stains and having to wash them all the time.  This one you just run under water and voila, all clean!  It has a cotton liner to keep the heat from burning your hand, and its soft. :)  Plus, it comes in lots of colors to match your kitchen!  We got green.


5.  A nonstick plastic spatula that acts like a metal one

Complicated, right?  Michael had been searching for a spatula for turning eggs that was super thin (like a metal one) but nonstick plastic so it wouldn’t scratch our egg pan.  He discovered the Matfer 12” Slotted Pelton Spatula.  It’s the ultimate for fried eggs, cookies and more! 


6.  Stainless steel juicer

My husband also has a love for whiskey sours.  And every now and then we buy citrus fruit for a recipe.  So all that lemon squeezing called for a citrus press.  I had one of those plastic ones with the screw on glass basin to catch the juice.  It was tough work and the plastic drain was always clogged with pulp and seeds.  So Michael found an alternative:  the citrus press, a handheld metal juicer made by Norpro.  We got it last week and it works flawlessly.  It’s nice and heavy so you can squeeze it without too much effort and still get all the juice out.  Best part?  No pulp! :)

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7.  Kitchenaid Mixer

Gosh, if you don’t have one of these, you probably need one.  We received our mixer as a wedding gift, and it’s pink.  :)  Woot!  It’s a workhorse, perfect for mixing up cakes, cookies, frosting, etc.  We even use it to “knead” pizza dough for 10 minutes at a time.  Apparently it can do a ton of other things, too, but I mostly use it for baking. 



So, that’s just a few of my favorite kitchen gadgets.  I would add a food processor to the list, but I don’t actually have a “favorite” one of those.  We have a basic one that’s too small for making our salsa recipe all at once.  So a bigger one is definitely on the wish list! :)

Do you have any favorite kitchen items I need to know about?

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