13 Tools For A Frugal Kitchen

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Alton Brown may not be a frugal expert but his kitchen-item buying advice is dead-on: “Do not purchase uni-taskers.”

However, there are items that we eventually need to purchase. Here are some of my personal recommendations, items which I could not cook or bake without!

 


Magnetic Double-Ended Measuring Spoons
– These are far better than any metal spoons on a ring. Being able to use one spoon for both dry and liquid ingredients is extremely convenient. You will never lose the spoons either due to their brilliant design.

Cheese Graters/Containers
– I love that these containers make it so easy to grate cheese without making a mess. When you have extra, just put the lid on top and store it in the fridge.

Bendable Cutting Boards – I love using these for chopped veggies and chocolate. Makes it so easy to dump chocolate pieces into the mixing bowl.

Rice Cooker – I never even bothered with rice until my roommate brought one home. I definitely couldn’t live without it now! Being able to pour three ingredients into the bowl then walk away, is the easiest side dish I can think of.

A Good Knife – Until I received this knife as a gift, I was using dull blades that took forever to chop through anything. A good knife means preparing food is not only quicker but is also more enjoyable and less tedious.

KitchenAid Mixer – Sorry but it’s true! I know this is an expensive one, but if you bake often (say, once a week) the amount of time this will save you is immeasurable!

One Measuring Cup – A set of measuring cups is not necessary. This all-in-one measuring cup is all you need.

Set Of Mixing Bowls – A good set of mixing bowls can be used for everything! Serving salad, holding potato chips, along with cooking and baking.

George Foreman Grill – This is another time saver. I can season chicken breasts and throw them on the foreman grill in just a few minutes. Several minutes later and they’re done. As a bonus, it does not take up much counter space at all.

Food Chopper
– I love this for chopping up nuts, vegetable, oatmeal, anything! I consider this a decent substitute for a food processor.

Flexible Prep Bowls – I thought these were silly at first but I have found them to be very useful. They are a perfect size for dipping. I use them the most for making my spice mixes. I can measure out the spice into the bowl, then squeeze the bowl into a funnel to pour into a small spice container. Works perfect without making a mess.

Fleximat – Think of this as permanent parchment paper. It does make a difference for my cookies. I use it as a cheat actually, instead of upgrading my cookie sheet. Granted, if you never bake this will be useless to you.

Pampered Chef Stoneware
– I love stoneware. For cookies, potatoes, breads, brownies, casseroles and other yummy foods I cannot think of, stoneware will bake them perfectly every time!

Readers, what are your favorite tools in the kitchen?


15 Comments

  1. eemusings says:

    I want a mixer/processor. One day!

    We have hardly anything at all. I cricked my neck just last night trying to reach something in our corner cupboard – we have the smallest, awkwardest kitchen ever. We have a couple of measuring scoops, two chopping boards, a knife set, pots and pans, a microwave, rice cooker and toaster, enough cutlery/crockery for maybe four people, some cheap baking pans and one mixing bowl. That, I think, is literally it.

  2. thalia says:

    my favorite unitasker that i haven’t convinced myself that i need yet is the waffle iron! i probably wouldn’t use it that much…but waffles are just so much yummier than pancakes! i totally agree with the rice cooker- makes my life soo much easier!

  3. leslie says:

    @eemusings: I definitely understand limited kitchen space! That is a big reason why I do not own a food processor yet. I am not sure I would use it enough to justify it taking up the counter!

    @thalia: Hah! Maybe you could look into gourmet pancake recipes to stave off your waffle craving for a while!

  4. Those double-ended measuring spoons are genius! Must… buy.

  5. Dee says:

    What a cool post!

    I thought the flexy scoops were kind of silly too but I may try them.

    Moment of shame: I have about four sets of measuring cups! I recently moved and kept buying different sets, forgetting I had already bought them. Lol…

    George Foreman grill is a must have. The baking mat seems pretty useful too.

  6. I love my food processor and use it much more than I thought I would–well worth the space it takes up! Same goes for our microwave oven–love that thing!

  7. leslie says:

    @Nicole: Those measuring spoons are my go-to quick gift for practically everyone I know! They are so efficient!

    @Dee: I have a cheap cookie sheet that works, just not that well, but I could never bring myself to throw it out. With the baking mat, it hardly matters what cookie sheet you use because the cookies will bake evenly every time.

    @Natalie: I try to get by with just the food chopper but I know sooner or later I’ll cave in and buy a food processor!

  8. I love those IKEA grater/storage containers.

    I couldn’t live without my food processor – bread crumbs, hummus, pesto, pizza dough, aioli, etc.

    And a good dutch oven is invaluable!

    • leslie says:

      @Amy: A dutch oven is one of those kitchen appliances I never understood. Is it just a large pot with a special name? What in particular do you make in it that you could not make any other way?

  9. A dutch oven really could take the place of all your other pots and pans. Mine is one of the cast iron coated in enamel (you know, the ones you can get in funky colors). Being cast iron, it heats up very evenly, not just on the bottom, but the sides & the lid if you have it on. Speaking of the lid, it has lil spikes hanging down from it – these collect the evaporating liquid & drips it back down on whatever you are cooking, basting it the entire time you are cooking.

    You can use it to saute, as a soup pot, braising, making bread… anything.

    You can start something on the stove top, like sauteing some veg, then brown your meat, add your liquid (like a cup/bottle of wine), and pop the whole thang in a hot oven. Because it heats evenly all the way around it cooks evenly. And everything comes out moist and in a great sauce.

    And if you make a no-knead bread dough, baking it in a preheated dutch oven, you’ll get an INCREDIBLE crust in 20 minutes you won’t believe!

    I could go on… but I think you get the picture ;-)

  10. leslie says:

    @Amy: Oh wow, I seriously had no idea they were so versatile! I guess I have never seen one because I haven’t seen a top with lil spikes like that. I will look up some recipes to see if I think I would use it, then maybe start price shopping. Thanks so much for the suggestion!

  11. I have heard that the Martha Steward line at Macy’s has one that is good and under $100, which is unusual to find.
    Le Creuset is considered the best and carries a hefty price tag (but should last you your whole life!).
    I got a mid-priced one by Calphalon for about $120, but they discontinued it & after a few years of heavy use it is stained and stuff on the inside. I am not happy with it, but still usable… my hope is to get a Le Creuset soon.

  12. Tearyne says:

    Now that you’ve recommended it, I REALLY need to get my hands on some stoneware. I’ve been pretty fed up with how a lot of my metal bakeware has been handling.

  13. @Tearyne – check out stores like Ross or Marshall’s for stoneware. I have a lot of cool looking no-name stoneware for next to nothing, but have also come across some Le Creset pieces for less than $10.

  14. [...] slowly I began sticking to my budget, living more minimally, tracking my expenses, and becoming aware of my money in general. My debt began dwindling away, all [...]

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