In my journey to be more homemade and from scratch, I have become much more familiar with the supplies needed to achieve this in the kitchen. In particular, there are many different supplies that shorten the amount of time it takes to make things at home. Which as a full time working mom I am always trying to do.
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There usually isn’t 20 extra minutes to knead bread by hand or hand roll the pasta noodles when I am also trying to get us to the park or teach counting. On the weekends, during nap time or after they are in bed for the night, I attempt the longer and complex cooking activities such as making and canning jam.
Cooking from scratch is important to me for two main reasons. First, I feel I cannot trust the industrial food complex to deliver me food that is not contaminated (I was pregnant when the listeria outbreak of my beloved Blue Bell occurred). Second, the joy and love that goes into creating the food myself means it is fresher, tastes better and is often more healthy than any overly processed items from the store.
10 out of 10 this is the MOST used appliance in my kitchen (maybe aside from the oven/stove). Everything from pie crusts and kneading bread to mashed potatoes and churning butter this appliance has made it possible. This way I can turn it on to mix homemade cookie dough while I preheat, prep pans, etc.
In addition to the Kitchen Aide (R) Mixer itself, I also have a fair number of attachments. Because I work outside of the home I try to squeeze in homemade food quickly in evenings and on weekends. These allow me to do this without taking hours. If you are like me and have tried to make pasta by hand. They are separate because they are both rather expensive and usually must be purchased separately. Because of the Blue Bell fiasco I decided to make my own ice cream and now have that attachment. There is also other items such as a veggie spiralizer, meat grinder and pasta press.
Most people have these, it is pretty common. However, there are a lot of bad ones. I have had them break, peel, disintegrate. Be sure to get a sturdy one. Here is a list of some of the best. It is worth investing as I use it a lot in frying.
Invest in a good set, preferrably stainless steel that does not fade or rust. Also key is a good Pyrex (R) multi-cup measuring cup. I use all of these regularly in making everything from scratch. While I also have a scale for more sensitive recipes, the measuring spoons and cups are a staple. Over the years I have had plenty of cheap plastic ones and no matter what the numbers eventually wear off.
I use mine all the time. It is especially great for long, slow cooking needed for tough meats. I have made many stews and curries in my Crock Pot (R). It is great for slow cooked meals and will definitely help yummy homemade dinner be ready when I return from work. There are many great recipes. I will say I struggle with my long days. After I punch in the allotted time on the recipe I leave and usually am not home until that end has passed. The problem I face is the autowarm function that kicks on and continues too hot and almost cooks the food. Then it is over cooked! More delicate recipes will burn. I am hoping to have an Instant Pot someday…
Well particularly cast iron frying pan and dutch oven. They are used a lot. There is proper care and storage needed for cast iron. You must season and not soak them but they age very well. I use them instead of any of my other frying pans for eggs and bacon. You can learn more about the best cast iron skillets here.
This is key to actually making…well…stock. Which is very easy to do. Here is a good recipe. The best part of using a stainless steel stock pot is you can also use it for cooking recipes that require acid (like lemons or hot peppers) that will potentially mix with the materials in other pots such as nonstick.
A decent set of wooden spoons of various lengths is good for all kinds of stirring and again is usually safe for acidic items. Another benefit is that they are durable and will not add anything undesirable in terms of flavor to the different items. Here is a good article on why the wooden spoons are a must have in the kitchen.
This is critical to delicate recipes, especially for desserts that require exact amounts. Measuring cups are usually pretty accurate but weight is more precise. It doubles as a homemade items measuring device too for things like lotion bars.
These have been invaluable to me in the kitchen, especially in saving time. I use them a lot and even made wild dewberry cobbler recently with the scale, mixer, spatula, measuring cups and spoons. I would not be able to provide as many of the homemade items that I would make regularly without these items.
Other things I have enjoyed include pressure canner/cooker, good bread pans/bakeware and excellent sharp knives. What items do you find essential?