Recently I noticed there are a few items in my kitchen that I can’t live without. Everyone knows quality pots & pans, rolling pins and cheese graters are must have kitchenware. We’re all gadget and small appliance happy, right?
This is a list of my favorite ordinary objects that we take for granted. We’re impressed with items made by Ninja, Kitchen-Aid, Cuisinart, etc., that we forget these terrific helpers.
I’m not being paid to “endorse” any of these, however, all the pictures link to amazon. These are simply my favorites. I would love to learn about yours. Leave me a comment with them.
SLOW COOKER LINERS
A few years ago there was a coupon for Reynold’s Slow Cooker liners ($2.00 off!) in the Sunday paper. I was intrigued and then I was irritated. Irritated because it turned out that slow cooker liners had been around for a while.
Slow Cooker liners work precisely as you imagine. I’ve used them for every conceivable type of slow cooker recipe. My favorite use is in my daughter’s high school band’s concession stand. I put a liner in the pot and fill with nacho cheese. At the end of the night, “voila”, no scrubbing! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
Information from Reynold’s: “Reynolds® Slow Cooker liners prevent a baked on mess and eliminate soaking and scrubbing slow cookers. They are made with a special heat resistant material that holds in even the heartiest ingredients.”
NONSTICK ALUMINUM FOIL
My enchiladas slide right out of the pan and homemade pizza lifts right off. When you use nonstick foil between meat in the freezer it makes separating the meat so easy. I love this stuff!
Information from Reynold’s: “No need to spray pans, just place food on the non-stick side (dull side) of the foil. Foods like cheesy casseroles and barbecue lift right off so there’s no messy residue to scrub off your pans. Frozen items easily separate.”
DISHWASHER DETERGENT ADDITIVE (HARDWATER EXPERTS)
In 2008 we moved cross country to an area with hard water. Using the most expensive detergent was the only thing that worked. In 2010 laws regarding dishwasher detergent went into effect. After that, none of the detergents worked. When I got a new dishwasher, it got worse.
Last year, I came across Lemishine and my dishes are finally clean again. Lemishine is made of citric acid which whips that white powder into shape. If you have white powder or hard water stains, I highly recommend a citric acid additive.
1 QUART MEASURING CUP
My mom noticed I kept using the cup and kindly bought me one during my visit. She’s good that way.
It is so convenient to be able to measure multiple liquids or measure and mix in the big cup. I might still be having a love affair with my large measuring cup. *sigh*
2 CUP SHAKER BOTTLE
As you can see, my Hidden Valley Dressing Shaker bottle is old. I bought it twenty years ago at a thrift store after my mom showed me an awesome way to thicken, well, everything! Tupperware makes an official “gravy shaker bottle” too.
Add your fluid and thickening agent in the cup, replace the strainer & lid then shake the bottle until the slurry is smooth. When your broth (or whatever your thickening) is boiling, slowly pour your slurry in and stir constantly with a whisk until thick.
For new cooks, and even experienced, this method is easier than trying to add flour or cornstarch directly into your base. I’m not even sure I could go back to the old way!
APRONS! MORE THAN ONE!
Here are a couple of reasons wearing an apron is a must: 1. I’ve thrown away several dozen grease stained shirts over the years. 2. It’s annoying to have to change my clothes in the middle of cooking if I have friends or family over for dinner. 3. I would rather wipe my hands on my apron than on my dish towel when I’m in a hurry! Crusty dish towels are yucky. Oh, don’t tell me you’ve never done it!