Over the years I have learned that is it just as important to have the right tools in the kitchen as it is to have good ingredients. The brand I have in my kitchen is in parenthesis. Please feel free to email me with any questions.
1. Porcelain-covered Cast Iron: (Le Creuset)
I discovered Le Creuset while watching the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. She made this awesome chicken dish, 40 Clove Garlic Chicken, in a large dutch oven. I was hooked when she browned the chicken, sauteed the veggies, and transferred it to the oven all in ONE pot. When I started shopping for a new range I made sure that I would be able to use my Le Creuset on the glass top. I have a large dutch oven (lemongrass), a small sauce pan (red), and an oval dutch oven (lemongrass).
2. Aluminum-core Saute Pan and Sauce Pan: (All-Clad Master Chef 2)
I never really paid attention to the material of my cookware until I attended a dinner party. It was one of those waterless cookware shows. I was very impressed with the cookware, but no way could I afford it. So I started researching cookware. I found that aluminum was the best conductor of heat, only second to copper. I couldn't afford copper either, but found that aluminum-core cookware was in my price range. I also didn't want the mirror finish stainless steel. I found the Master Chef 2 series at Dilliard's, on clearance! I would like to find a 3qt. sauce pan to complete my cookware needs.
A few cooking tips: 1. Do not use salt on a bare stainless steel pan, 2. Do not use non-stick cooking spray on stainless steel pans.
3. Non-stick Large Skillet: (Pampered Chef Family Skillet)
I became addicted to Pampered Chef early on in my cooking journey. I needed a large skillet that I could fry hamburger, grill more than one grilled cheese sandwich, and would be easy to clean. This skillet has been awesome!
1. Bamboo Spoons and Spatulas: (Natural Home from Target)
Bamboo is great for stainless steel cookware. It doesn't scratch the surface of the cookware and is easy to clean. Do not put bamboo in the dishwasher and do not leave it in water as it will start to splinter.
2. Nylon Spatulas and Spoons: (RE from Target)
I don't spend a lot of money on nylon tools only because they don't last more than a year. These also don't scratch the surface of your cookware. Do not put these utensils in the dishwasher either as it will deteriorate them faster.
1. Stand Mixer: (Kitchenaid Professional 5qt.)
This is an essential piece of equipment to have in the kitchen if you are a baker.
1. Half Sheet Pans: (Williams-Sonoma Traditional Finish)
Sheet pans are essential to baking. It is important to find heavy duty sheet pans that won't warp or bend. I would recommend having as many sheet pans as you have oven racks.
2. Silicone Liners: (Sil-pat Half Sheet Liners)
These are a must for making cookies, scones, etc. They are super easy to clean and make your sheet pans last longer. The best place to buy these is Bed Bath and Beyond with your 20% off coupon!
3. Loaf Pans: (Variety)
I have collected a variety of loaf pans over the years. From heavy duty aluminum, stoneware, to vintage aluminum. They all work great for breads and meatloaf.
4. 9" x 13" Baking Dish: (Variety)
These are great for casseroles and cakes. I have aluminum, glass, and stoneware. I really don't have a favorite, but seem to use the aluminum one the most often.