Basic Tools & Ingredients Every Homecook Needs!
Below are all my kitchen faves. You’ll see these tools and ingredients used in several of my recipes and I love them so much that I wanted to share them with you!
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions regarding any of these tools or ingredients – I am an open book!
Large Slow Cooker
This is definitely a “work horse” in my kitchen! I like to use this one for my Beer Braised Pork Carnitas, Southwest Slow Cooker Chicken Chili and Slow Cooker Beer Braised Short Ribs.
Pots & Pans
Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
This and the casserole pot below are the two main serving pots you’ll see in a majority of my posts. They are perfect for soups and stews – the heavy bottom does a great job distributing the heat evenly and making sure you food cooks to perfect. You’ll see this dutch oven at work in my Vegan Curry Ramen, Vegan Cauliflower Soup and Vegan Tomato Soup!
Enameled Cast Iron Casserole Dish
This might be the pot that I use more than any other in my kitchen. It’s so beautiful that it works well as a serving dish which means you can go from stove, to oven, to the table and only wash on dish at the end of the day! You’ll see this dish in my 30 Minute Baked Ravioli, Tomato Coconut Curried Cod, Quick Veggie Lo Mein and Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta. This pot is also really great for just frying up eggs and bacon for breakfast too! It’s such a versatile piece!!
Basic Sauce Pan
I like to use this one when I’m reheating any of my yummy soups but it also works great to warm the olive oil and garlic in my Balsamic Bread Dip. Sometimes I’ll even use it to boil a single serving of my Wonton Ravioli! This is definitely one pot that you will use again and again!
I literally use this every single morning for my favorite PB & Chocolate Smoothie (coming to the blog soon) but you’ll also see it featured in my Creamy Tomato Soup, Curried Cauliflower Soup, Potato Beer Cheese Soup and even in my Restaurant Style Salsa recipe. It comes with two individual sized smoothie blenders in addition to the regular full size blender. It blends everything up nice and smooth and is definitely worth the investment!
I use this baby ALL. THE. TIME. Whether I’m throwing together Cilantro Avocado Cream Sauce, Vegan Rawnola or Arugula Pesto, this food processor has earned a permanent spot in my kitchen for it’s ease of use and versatility.
Hand Held Electric Mixer
I don’t post many recipes that require an electric mixer because I’m all about simplicity and the least amount of dirty dishes possible. But to get that extra creamy, whipped frosting for my Pizza Dough Cinnamon Rolls, I will break this bad boy out without hesitation!
Square Aluminum Baking Pan
Another kitchen favorite used to make those above mentioned Pizza Dough Cinnamon Rolls! It’s also perfect for when I make half batches of my 10 Minute Lasagna or Spinach & Artichoke Dip.
9×13 Lasagna Baking Dish
I make my 10 Minute Lasagna at least twice a month (no joke!) and this is always my go-to pan. The sides are tall enough to hold all those layers and the sauce never bubbles over! It’s also perfect for my Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers!
Basic Silicone Spatula
A basic spatula like this is something that I use every single day in my kitchen. Whether it’s stirring up caramelized onions, scraping a bowl of frosting clean or wiping the leftover pesto out of my food processor, this is one kitchen utensil I cannot live without!
This is one of those tools that I literally wonder everyday how I lived without! Truth be told, I don’t make cookies much but I use this cookie scoop ALL. THE. TIME. I make all kinds of meatballs (Korean, Curry and Whisky BBQ) and this trusty little tool comes in VERY handy for those! It also works great for my favorite Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls and for scooping the filling in my Wonton Ravioli!
This is another one of those things that I’ve started using within the last 5 years and I have NO idea how I lived without it! It helps prevent all my favorite goodies from sticking to my pan including my Crispy Baked Fries, Honey Mustard Salmon and Prosciutto Puff Pastry Bundles. It also makes a great little package my favorite Ginger & Garlic Salmon!
Aluminum Baker’s Half Sheet Pan
Another staple in the Midwest Foodie kitchen are my half sheet pans. I got the set of two because one just is never enough! They are reasonably priced and hold up amazingly, even after several hundred trips through the dishwasher. You’ll enjoy using them for my Sheet Pan Salmon Dinner, Sheet Pan Asian Fish and Sheet Pan Quesadillas!
I love to use cooling rack when baking. It allows the air to circulate completely around whatever you’re making and allows the fat to drip off. Korean Baked Meatballs, Curry Pork Meatballs and Jalapeno Poppers are among my favorites to make with these cooling racks!
General Kitchen Tools
Basic Turner Spatula
This spatula works great for flipping fried eggs to top my Vegetarian Brunch Tostadas or tossing my Crispy Oven Baked Fries on the sheet pan. You’ll find yourself using this tool for just about everything in the kitchen!
All Purpose Turner Spatula
This spatula works great for more delicate recipes that include fish such as: Tomato Coconut Curried Cod, Pan Fried Lemon Butter Cod or One Pot Mediterranean Fish. It’s long and slender which makes it really easy to slip up a delicate piece of perfectly tender fish!
Basic Lasagna Spatula
I feel like it goes without saying but this spatula is super good for taking slices of 10 Minute Lasagna out of the pan! Hence the name “lasagna spatula” Of course, you can use it for other delicious pasta dishes including my No Boil Baked Manicotti or Vegetarian Stuffed Shells recipe!
These tongs are dishwasher safe and perfect for flipping those big pieces of seared meat like in my Beer Braised Pork Carnitas or Short Rib Chili. They also work great for tossing pasta like in my Pan Fried Lemon Butter Cod or my Tomato Cream Sauce Pasta!
This cute little whisk I like to use when mixing up my tzatziki, my homemade creamy southwest dressing or the sauce for my Slow Cooker Whiskey BBQ Meatballs. You could use a larger whisk for these recipes also, but it’s nice to have a little more control with this smaller one.
If you’re a regular around here, you know how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE pasta! So obviously a good strainer is a “must-have” in my kitchen! Whether you’re making my Pan Fried Lemon Butter Cod & Spaghetti, Roasted Tomato Cream Sauce or my Quick Veggie Lo Mein, this is strainer is going to come in real handy for all your noodle needs!
Metal Measuring Cups
These are my go-to measuring cups for all of my dry goods. Like the flour for my No Knead Pizza Dough, Flatbread crusts or Easy Focaccia bread! Did you know there is a difference between wet and dry measuring cups?! Here’s a good read if you didn’t!
Sharp Chef’s Knife
This is a must in any home cook’s kitchen! A sharp knife will come in especially handy when prepping any recipe that requires chopping including my Creamy Vegan Chickpea Gnocchi Soup, Vegetarian Skillet Pot Pie, or Easy Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff!
Italian Olive Wood Cooking Spoon
You’ll see this spoon used in almost all of my recipes. It’s my most versatile kitchen utensil, and I highly recommend that everyone have on in their kitchen. Whether your stirring Vegetarian Bolognese or White Chickpea Chili, this wooden spoon will always come in handy!