A Peek Inside My Kitchen - The Imprecise Cook's Favorite Meal Prep Tools
To cook healthy, delicious meals at home doesn't require a lot of kitchen gadgets, but it does help to have some essential equipment to make food prep go quickly and smoothly. Today I want to share some of top choices for tools in the kitchen. Of course, you'll need some basics such as pots and pans, but these are the items I consider my "go-to" essentials.
Large & Small Cutting Board
Give yourself space to work. I have two Epicurean cutting boards and love them. They are pricier than some cutting boards but last so long it will pay for itself when you don't have to continually purchase replacements. For the large cutting board I suggest the 17.5" x 13" size. It's spacious enough to give you room to move around and keep scraps off to the side but not too big to be unwieldy. I also suggest purchasing one of the smaller sizes. The Epicurean cutting boards are dishwasher safe so I use a smaller size for cutting meat. The board is then easily sterilized in the dishwasher.
Chef's Knife & Serrated Knife
If you are only going to purchase one knife make it a large Chef's Knife. Don't be intimidated by the large size. This tool makes quick work of all sorts of food prep. As a bonus tool, I also recommend a serrated knife for easily cutting through tomatoes, delicate fruits, and other items with slippery skins. Now, this should be obvious but don't forget to keep your knives sharp. Dull knives slow you down and make life more difficult than it needs to be. I've had my Wusthof Classic Chef's Knife and Wusthof Serrated Tomato Knife for 8 years and with proper care they show no signs of slowing down.
A mircroplane grater is perfect for adding citrus zest or spices such as cinnamon to a dish. This tool has also replaced my garlic press. Using the grater is quick, ensures all of the garlic juices are utilized, and there isn't a smelly peel to pick out once you are done.
I spent way too much time on clean up before I discovered parchment paper. Most of the time I Use it to line baking sheets before roasting vegetables. The If You Care brand of parchment paper is eco-friendly and the width works well with most baking sheets.
I spent several years considering whether or not to purchase a Vitamix. There are so many loyal enthusiasts but at first glance the Vitamix appears to be just a expensive blender. A few years ago I finally purchased one and I can't imagine my kitchen without my Vitamix. Soups are my favorite reason to use the Vitamix. The high speed blades whip the ingredients into a creamy, delicious soup, minus any cream. Yes, you certainly use an immersion blender for this purpose but I find the results never quite match up. Aside from soups I use the Vitamix for smoothies, sauces, dressings, make-at-home Lara Bar concoctions, and more.
I inherited a Cuisinart food processor from a family friend and it really speeds up some tasks in the kitchen. Shredding cabbage, thinly slicing veggies, and making cauliflower rice with the grater attachment are some of my favorite ways to use this tool. Like the Vitamix, it's an investment, but you'll have it for years and years.
Pyrex Glass Measuring Cup
I don't measure very often, thus the name The Imprecise Cook, but when I do, I reach for my Pyrex Glass Measuring Cup. It's compact compared to having multiple measuring cups of various sizes and serves as well-sized container to mix up small batches of homemade salad dressings and marinades. I also love all of the storage containers from Pyrex - perfect for storing leftovers to enjoy the next day.
These are my essentials for quick and easy meal prep - what are your essentials in the kitchen?