You Asked, We're Answering: 12 Go-To Kitchen Tools

We're back with another You Asked, We're Answering and this time we're talking kitchen tools. I've gotten lots of questions about top things to have for the kitchen, knife recommendations, etc, so I thought I'd start a little series about our favorite kitchen items.

We were lucky enough to accrue most of our kitchen utensils and appliances during our engagement (between our huge engagement party and my big bridal shower). I'll try to keep it simple so that all of you can add these things to your kitchen without breaking the bank. I also want to note that these are things that we actually use and love in our kitchen and are vital to our extensive cooking and baking - clearly not everyone has the same obsession that Shaun and I do so perhaps not every tool will apply to every person!

Ok enough rambling, let's just get down to it.

1. {At least} 1 Good Knife

I got a whole set of Cutco knives for my bridal shower and as Christmas gifts from my mom and aunts. They all use Cutco and swear by them. I am a convert. This is the one expensive item on my list that I truly believe is completely worth every penny. Not only does it make chopping a breeze, but it's always safer to cut with a good quality, sharp knife. If you are not into getting the whole set, I'd say pick out one good knife from any respected brand. I couldn't live without my Cutco Santoku knife, which I use every single day for many uses including chopping onions, mincing garlic, slicing apples, opening packages of chicken (ok, not an official use) and lots, lots more.

2. A set of pots & pans (different shapes and sizes)

My mother-in-law got us a set of stainless steel Calphalon pots and pans which we absolutely adore. I'd say that one saucepan and one large skillet are the key items which you can make just about anything in. Additionally, I have 2 nonstick skillets for tricky, sticky dishes like scrambled eggs (impossible to clean out of a stainless steel pan, trust me, I've tried) or pancakes.

3. A rubber spatula

I like the kind with a curved back for wiping down a mixing bowl and getting every last scrap of sauce or cookie dough. I have a whole set of these and use them all.the.time. Whether mixing and plating oatmeal or scraping down a bowl of cake batter, these are tops. Oh and most importantly, they are perfect for those licking-the-spoon moments.

4. Baking dishes/Casserole dishes (non-stick, metal, ceramic or glass)

I have a set of Corningware which come with both glass and plastic tops for baking and storing. Perfect for casseroles and dips. I also have 2 metal baking pans for cakes, stuffing and things of that nature.

5. Whisk

I love love love my red silicon Le Creuset whisk that I got in my Christmas stocking a few years back. Though sometimes I do find myself reaching for a wire whisk, I absolutely love this one for mixing up marinades, combining dry baking ingredients or making a cheese sauce.

6. Baking sheets

I recently just invested in new ones since mine were getting a bit...crapped up. I am a big proponent of covering baking sheets with foil when doing tough jobs like roasting vegetables. I use these just about everyday, whether roasting said vegetables, making cookies, catching spills underneath a pie pan, or baking a pizza. Bottom line is that you just cannot cook or bake without baking sheets, so head over to Bed Bath & Beyond with your coupons and pick some up pronto.

7. Oven safe wire rack

Until this Christmas, this was the only wire rack we owned. It's large enough to hold a batch of cooking cupcakes and has added function by serving as a drying rack for freshly fried tortilla chips (Shaun's specialty). It's also the perfect tool for keeping chicken crispy while baking.

8. Mixing bowls (I like the ginormous ones!)

Though I do have a set of 'normal human-sized' mixing bowls, my mom gave us a set of 2 oversized mixing bowl and I absolutely love them. They are perfect for mixing a big batch of anything without worrying about overspill. Also the ideal vehicle for a large batch of popcorn.

9. Measuring Cups

Can't bake or cook without 'em. I have 2 sets, a really nice one from Williams-Sonoma (pictured above) and a really not-so-nice one from Target (where the measurements are already scratching off the handles). I love having 2 sets so that I don't have to use-rinse-repeat when baking calls for 1/2 of sugar and 1/2 cup of applesauce.

10. Measuring Spoons

Same as above. I hate using my teaspoon for vanilla extract only to realize that I also need it for baking soda. I hate washing things. 2 sets is where it's at.

11. Sieve

I went a long time without one of these, but I'm so happy that I finally picked one up. It's great for sifting together baking ingredients, draining orzo (which gets stuck in the holes of a real colander) or sprinkling powdered sugar over your freshly baked cookies.

12. Mixer (of some sort)

I think my all time favorite tool in the kitchen is my mixer, which I use for all cupcakes, cakes, cookies, and breads. I keep it out on the counter so it gets lots of use. I'm not going to tell you, however, that you need to go out an buy a $300 mixer in order to bake or to have a complete kitchen(though if you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up - bonus for getting one in a fun color!). Instead, I think hand mixers can work wonders! You can get them on the cheap (easily a good one for under $50) and will do just as good a job on your baked goods. They may require a bit of elbow grease, but you cannot beat the price for the function. And if you don't bake? Get one anyway for mashing potatoes!

So there you have it. Our favorite kitchen tools. I have many more, but I thought this would be a nice start. So what do you think? What are your favorite kitchen tools?

Psst...have a question for me? for Shaun? Ask us anything and we'll do our best to answer! Shoot us an email at theavidappetite@gmail.com!