Cooking is one of my least favorite activities.
I used to love to cook when I was in college, however. I’d often get excited at the idea of making food for my parents and once a week, I’d make a meatless meal for our “Meatless Mondays”. I remember one time I made sweet potato burgers, savory crepes from scratch, egg’s benedict, tofu pizza with Lavash crust and these black bean burgers my mom still says to this day were really delicious when she had them.
Han, who I love and adore, is much pickier than my parents so when it comes to cooking, so I have to get real creative about what I make. I absolutely cannot have certain things in the meal (cucumbers are a no go), so each time I prepare to cook or shop for groceries, I am excluding certain dishes to make something I know he loves to eat. I think for that reason when it comes to cooking it’s easy to get stuck in the same pattern of cooking the same things. Why reinvent the wheel right?
We love to eat, so we have to cook, and we are thankful for the means to do so, but after working for a full day, cooking sometimes is a struggle. In fact, right now what we’ve done is I will make around 2-3 meals a week and make them in large quantities so I don’t have to cook again for another day or so. On those days where I don’t cook, my husband does or we go out to eat, but it’s a challenge for sure.
What has made it easier for us though and has been slowly bringing me back to that time where all I did was try new things in the kitchen are the different gadgets and products we use in the house. These are things that have saved us so much time when it comes to preparing food or have helped make the process a little easier. Some of them also make cooking a little more fun as well. Want to know what items we actually use in our kitchen and why you should too?
This egg timer was one of our favorite purchases when we got it with a gift card we received from our wedding for Crate and Barrel. How it works is you place it in the pot with your eggs and it changes color based on how boiled the egg is. It gets the guesswork out of boiling an egg and makes it ten times easier.
This was one of the best recent purchases we’ve made. If we wanted minced garlic, I would either purchase it minced in a jar or I’d do my best to try to dice it myself. Then one day while browsing Amazon, I saw a garlic presser and almost purchased it. I didn’t then, but ended up purchasing it from Marshalls while browsing the store with my mom and it’s been a game-changer! I can now purchase fresh garlic (which is often cheaper than the already minced versions) and press them to add to our different dishes. It’s such a great item!
This is an item we 100% did not need, but it saves so much time when preparing dinners. We got a rice cooker as a wedding gift and it can be used not just for cooking rice, but it doubles as a slow cooker that can cook pasta, quinoa, and steamed vegetables. I have not tried the latter, but apparently, it’s possible!
We eat rice a lot in our household so this has been a lifesaver on many occasions because it frees up a pot for me to work on one of the other parts of the dinner.
WOODEN COOKING UTENSILS:
We got these because my husband brought up how the plastic ones we had originally were showing signs that they were starting to melt a little and become a little worn. He wanted to use all metal utensils and I was not about to ruin our non-stick pans. So a compromise was to get wooden cooking utensils that are okay to use in hot temperatures. I am glad that we did because it’s all we use now pretty much when cooking. They don’t scratch your pans and won’t melt as you cook them, so I consider that a win.
This is one of our favorite things to cook with when making large breakfasts, samgyupsal (Korean pork belly), or burgers for guests. It’s easy because we can cook quite a lot on the griddle at once and have an easy clean-up afterward. We’ve used this to make eggs and bacon at the same time, so I’d consider it a worthy kitchen item. You can also find these for pretty reasonable prices which is always nice.
This goes without saying, but I love our crockpot. Everything from stew to soup to pulled chicken to carnitas can be prepared in this crockpot. It’s my favorite for those nights when I don’t feel like cooking. What I do is plan my meals out ahead of time, do some minor prepping if need be the day before, and put it in the crockpot the day before we plan to eat it or the morning of.
If you can afford an air fryer, I’d definitely encourage you to get one. We received ours as a gift and it makes frying things so much easier, healthier, and mess-free. All we do is follow the directions listed in the guide and can fry pretty much anything. They can be a bit pricey, but I’d consider this a worthy investment over time.
NINJA BAR CARAFE:
This is one of my favorite kitchen items and probably one of the most expensive. We got it using a gift card we received from our wedding and purchased it during a sale that was happening, but it was one of our best purchases. There are so many features on it that I honestly haven’t used them all, but I am excited to keep learning different ways to prepare our coffee.
What I love about these scissors is not only are they useful for quickly cutting packages of salad mix (and rinsed soon after), but they’re great for cutting meat as well! Whether you’re preparing samgyupsal (pork belly) or dicing steak, they’re really useful!
GLASS STORAGE CONTAINERS:
These storage containers are the beginning of my dream of having almost everything in the pantry in jars and labeled. We have a few that we got as wedding gifts and as Christmas gifts from family, so our collection is slowly but surely growing. I know one day we’ll get our pantry and kitchen more organized. We love these for storing everything from rice to oatmeal to brown sugar. I would definitely recommend this if you’re hoping to organize your cabinets.
What are some of your favorite products to use in the kitchen?