Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Five - Kitchen Items

What are kitchen items that I think have been worth the investment? Things that maybe were a bit more expensive than other alternatives, but have proven totally worth it in the long run? I'm sure I'm missing some - but these are items I use a LOT.

Good Knives - I remember cringing the first time I spent somewhere between $30-$40 on a chef's knife - yep, worth it. The first time I chopped an onion with it, I felt like a professional! A good paring knife, chef's knife and bread knife can accomplish a lot in the kitchen.

Zyliss Chopper - While we're slicing and chopping, I love my chopper. It's been great for baby food - I can quickly chop up fruits, veggies, or whatever we're having for dinner if appropriate. It's also my favorite way to chop garlic and hot peppers as I don't end up burning my hands. It goes in the top of the dishwasher to clean, how easy is that? After 6 years of heavy use, I'm finding the blades are getting a little dull, although still great for the majority of uses.

Rock n Serve (by Tupperware) - I have several Tupperware items, but if I could only keep one, this would be it. The shallows (both the square and the large shallow) get used the most as they tend to be the most efficient with the freezer space. My pieces are all at least 10 years old, and going strong. I've got a couple lids that are a bit funky on the corners after all that time, but can still get them sealed with some work. The square ones get used in the freezer most often to hold my standard "ground meat mix" (usually ground turkey cooked with garlic, bell peppers and onion) since I only use half of this mixture when I make it. They are great for packing in lunches - and if not in use for the freezer, you may find the shallow square doubling as a sandwich keeper in a lunch.

Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons and Dry Measuring Cups - Not super expensive, but enough more than their plastic counterparts that for many years, I passed them up for the cheaper option. So what did I do? I eventually asked for them for Christmas. I love that the spoons stay together and that the measurements won't rub off. The cups are sturdy, easy to clean (and get grease/fat off of) and are sturdy. They have lasted much longer than the plastic ones and would have been more than worth the initial expense.

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer - I waited and saved for years before picking up this expensive counter top appliance. I eventually ordered a refurbished model online. I knew I did not want the "basic" model in most big box stores, but the step-up Artisan or Professional model -- I ended up with the Artisan for a great price and have been very happy with it. While it doesn't get used as much as any of the other items mentioned - when it does get used it saves time and gets the job done better than any other methods I've tried. The Kitchen Aid has mixed cookies, cakes, breads, pizza dough, and even meatloaf. And honestly, I've been a bit afraid of the hand mixer since "The incident" and never found it very useful for any mixes of substance.

So 5 items that I really love in my kitchen that are not always considered "frugal" but I believe have saved me money in the long run. Both in the fact that they have lasted much longer than their less expensive counter parts - and in the fact that they work enough better to help me enjoy spending time in the kitchen and creating foods for my family, which in turn saves money. I'm sure I've left something out though! What are your go-to kitchen items?

1 comment:

  1. I agree heartily with the Kitchen Aid mixer. Brian bought me one for Christmas and I have used it many many times over 10 years. (My mom's lasted about 35 years or so before she had to get a new one.)

    OXO products. Almost every OXO that I have gotten have been well worth the money. (Jar opener was the only exception) I just got a garlic press and love it.

    Pampered Chef can opener. I hate electric can openers, they never seem to "catch" right or jerk around and spill. I love the design of PC's. Opens from the top and does not leave the sharp jagged edges.

    Tupperware's microwave rice cooker. If my mother hadn't highly recommended, I would have said, "I have a saucepan. What's the point?" Point is that the rice turns out lovely and fluffy every time. Couscous can be cooked in it and so can old fashion oats. The only downside is that you have to use water, no broth or anything with fat. (that can also be the upside)

    Cast iron skillet or Dutch oven. Spend the money and get one with some heft. Beautiful things that get better with frequent use. 'Nuf said.