Monday, November 28, 2011

Six Favorite Things

Cheap Eat Challenge, Part 2: Watch as our family of 6 eats on less than $10/day.

Happy Cyber Monday! For purposes of completely selling out helping you along in your holiday shopping choices, I've decided to compile of a list--a small list because you really don't need tons of things--of things I believe make cooking easier, more fail-proof and sometimes even cheaper. (And for purposes of full disclosure, buy these or anything else through this site and Amazon gives me a wee bit of money, so thank you for that.)

1. Instant Read Thermometer

You guys know I love these things. They make everything from turkey to bread to cheesecake and pumpkin pie more fail proof, less guess proof, and overall better tasting. No food poisoning necessary. No over-baking necessary.

2. Flat Whisk

This seems like such a simple thing, but I use mine ALL THE TIME. And it makes things better. All of the sudden, making a white sauce isn't a lumpy mess--it's easy peasy. In fact, making any sauce becomes easier and less lumpy. And you can get to those little edge places in your pan so things get mixed even better.

3. Food Processor

I don't even have a good one. I don't even have a kind of good one, but it's lasted me 5 years and is still going. And it has allowed me to make things that were always really intimidating before (like pie crust). Plus it lets me grate cheeses or vegetables like zucchini and potatoes really easily, which allows me to make some really simple foods that I otherwise might shy away from because of all of the darned grating required.

This is similar to the mega cheap one I have.

This is one that looks pretty sweet.

4. Blender

What can I say? I use mine nearly daily. It helps me get healthy foods into me and my family (especially important at this time of year) and I also use it a ton for creamy soups, sauces, bread crumbs, and a quick painless graham cracker/cookie based crusts.

This is the one kind of like what I have. It's decent and affordable.

This is the one that would be dream dream dreamy to have.

5. Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Lid that functions as a skillet.

I have a 12-inch cast iron skillet and a Dutch oven with a lid. I was trying to decide between the two.  And then it occurred to me that what would take care of most of a person's cast iron needs would be a skillet that was a little taller than normal skillet so it could fulfill your skillet needs, while also handling most oven jobs. And then I found this. Oh baby.

6. Slow cooker.

It's your friend when you don't have a lot of time and you otherwise might end up going out to eat instead of home to your--ta da--fully cooked, nice and hot meal. Of course it's your friend even if you're not busy and you just want to smell warm comforting easy foods. It's that kind of friend, versatile and not choosy. I know that's the kind of friend I need.

This is similar to what I have. It's not super sophisticated, but it gets basic jobs done, it's lasted me 10 years, and it's pretty darn cheap.

This is a better one with good reviews though I haven't personally tried it and thus can't personally recommend it.

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