I used to not know my way around a kitchen. I’d find a recipe, try to make it, and it may or may not come out right. Never mind the mess I made, the dull knives I was using, or the tasteless sauce my friends would politely eat.
But after finishing cooking school, and observing chefs in restaurants and wildly experienced home cooks, I realized, It doesn’t have to be this way.
I don’t have to try and chase lemon seeds with a spoon to fish them out of my fancy lemon water. My hands don’t haveto smell like onion and garlic after I grab a big pile of chopped veggies from the cutting board—and of course drop a healthy share of them on the floor or in the crack between the oven and the counter. And, yes, there’s really a magical little thing I can add to my food that will make it taste so much better. No way.
(But actually, yes way.)
Several months ago, I hosted a Facebook Live segment highlighting five of my must-have kitchen tools. What I love most about this list? I laugh thinking about myself navigating my little kitchen without these things. Like, what was I thinking!? And don’t roll your eyes yet, sister. I’m not talking about fancy, expensive equipment. Just small things that I use every day (and, that are all less than $15).
Check out the list. Do you already use any of these things? If not, pick out just one and give it a try. They’re small upgrades, but I promise you’ll feel a little wave of ease each time you use one.
Lindsay's Top 5 Kitchen Tools (All under $15!)
These. Are. Magic. After chopping garlic, onions, herbs, or veggies, I use two of these scrapers to transfer them to the pot, or bowl. The scrapers keep my hands from smelling like whatever I’m chopping, and because they’re much wider than the flat side of a knife, it usually only takes me one trip to migrate everything from the cutting board. Plus, they’re dishwasher safe (and you can use the rounded edge to scrape the inside of a bowl, too). Win, win.
It took me an embarrassingly long time to acquire one of these babies. I’d squeeze a lemon with my hands, trying so hard not to get any seeds (have you ever bit into a lemon seed, ah!!), and then, armed with a spoon, spend a few minutes fishing out the seeds that inevitably snuck in. This is a must, just trust me.
This is a great tool to make healthy eating just a little easier. You know what a pasta fiend I am, so I try to slow my roll with veggie noodles. I will admit, if you’re cooking for more than 3-4 people, it can be a bit tiresome to crank your zucchini (or sweet potato!) through this guy. The alternative is this spiralizer KitchenAid attachment (which beautifully cranks out zoodles with the flip of a switch), but it’s a bit of an investment and you have to have a KitchenAid for it to work. (Don’t forget though, you can make a bunch of noodles and store them for a few days, just don’t put your sauce on until you’re ready to eat!).
In addition to my knife set, I was allowed to bring any kitchen tools I wanted into my Cordon Bleu final practical exam. We walked into a room, blindly pulled a dish from a hat, received a box of ingredients (but no recipe), and had two hours to deliver. Not knowing what type of dish I’d receive, the only item I brought with me was this fish spatula. And I was so grateful—even though I ended up making a poached chicken with béchamel and rice). It’s thin and flexible so you can easily lift and transfer delicate foods (unlike a traditional spatula that can easily break a fish filet for example). It’s also great for flipping eggs!
This is stuff is lifechanging. And while it’s reasonable to want to keep your sodium in check, if you can make healthy food taste a little better with a pinch of the rightsalt, you’re probably going to eat a lot more of them, right? Roasted carrots, for example, take on an entirely new taste when they’re sprinkled with sea salt. Keep a little dish of this next to your stove and sprinkle on your food right before serving. (It’s rather expensive, so save kosher salt to use while you’re cooking. Sea salt is a finishing salt!).