Having a good set of rubber spatulas in at least three sizes will save you time and money in the kitchen. Food won’t be wasted when using the last of that mayonnaise, or pouring batter from a baking mix you just prepared. And rubber spatulas are fantastic tools when it comes to spreading condiments on your bread or a toasted sandwich.
They spread so much more nicely than butter knives, and can accomplish the job in one fell swoop. When you are making sandwiches for several people, you can really appreciate how crucial a good spatula can be for saving time!
di Oro Living Silicone Spatulas
My favorites are those made by di Oro Living. I find that they are quite a bit stronger than most others, with an embedded stainless steel core. I hate a flimsy plastic tool! They also feature a lifetime guarantee, should you have any issues.
FOUR-SIDED STAINLESS STEEL GRATER
A good grater is not only a great time saving gadget for quickly grating cheese (and grating your own cheese is far superior in taste to buying store-grated cheese), you will find it handy in grating raw vegetables of all types, from carrots to radishes, potatoes, and much more. It doesn’t take much muscle to do your own grating, and you’ll find that grating some items is much faster than chopping them with a kitchen knife.
Cuisipro Surface Glide Technology 4-Sided Boxed Grater
I can only really recommend one product, and that is the Cuisipro Surface Glide Technology 4-Sided Boxed Grater shown in the above picture. Its 25-year warranty is a testament to the quality of this product, and I wouldn’t use any other brand.
It’s a bit pricey for a basic tool, but in the long run it will save you time and aggravation, as opposed to dealing with an inferior grater. I particularly like this brand as it’s the only grater I’ve ever found where the fine side actually grates rather than just creating a powdery mess. I think you will be thrilled with the quality of this product as well.
Again, a mandoline is also an excellent substitution (in some cases) for a grater. And a food processor with slicing and shredding blades can sometimes double up to accomplish many of the same jobs quickly and efficiently as well.
LARGE METAL OR PLASTIC COLANDER
I don’t think a day goes by where I don’t use my colander. This is a fast and efficient tool when it comes to draining pasta and vegetables, or even sliced potatoes for homemade french fries.
Don’t think you can just keep a lid on a pot and pour out the excess water without using your colander. The “hold the cover and just pour the water” method is not only ineffective, you can burn yourself badly with the steam that escapes as well.
It will take you far more time to deal with a burn or injury than if you had just used a colander in the first place.
This is a tool for which, unlike some of my other suggestions, paying up for a little more in the quality department is not going to cost too much.
You’ll want to take a closer look at the OXO Good Grips 5-Quart Stainless Steel Colander, pictured above. It’s also reviewed well by verified customers on Amazon.
CARBON STEEL WOK
You can save time in the kitchen and cook fabulous meals by using a carbon steel wok. One pot to clean, and fresh veggie-based meals are ready in minutes. You can’t beat that!
Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen 14-inch Carbon Steel Flat Bottom Lidded Wok Stir Fry Pan Set
You can get a wok at a starting price of about $20. I’d suggest that you look into a flat-bottomed version, unless you want to deal with a “wok ring” to holds a curved-bottom version over your stove. I particularly like the one pictured, as it is made in the USA (kind of ironic, isn’t it?). The Chinese have special stoves (both modern and traditional) that hold the curved-bottom versions correctly, but they just don’t work as well on modern Western-style cooktops.
Take a look at Foodal’s article on choosing the best wok for more details.
AIRTIGHT FOOD STORAGE CONTAINERS
Airtight food storage containers will save you both time and money in the kitchen, because you can neatly store your rice, pasta, dry baking ingredients, and snacks, and even organize your spice packets and meal mixes.
They will help you to find what you need in your pantry at a glance, and not only keep ingredients fresh, but keep you from accidentally spilling that open box of elbow macaroni or instant rice, or open bag of flour, and creating a kitchen disaster that requires lots of sweeping and vacuuming!
OXO 5-Piece Good Grips Pop Containers Set
Again, I’m not trying to spend more of your hard earned money, but I feel that you would be best served by a set of the OXO 5-Piece Good Grips Pop Containers, as they force a good chunk of the oxygen out from the storage area and allow your ingredients and other foodstuffs to stay fresh for much longer.
These are a good quality product and should last quite a while as they are made with thick, sturdy plastic. I’m getting close to five years with mine, with no issues or performance loss.
Taking advantage of a few simple tools and kitchen items will not only save you time, but in most cases, it will save you money as well.
You probably already have many of these gadgets, and maybe some have been ignored over the years. But if you revive or renew your use of these essential tools, you will find cooking and cleanup time to be greatly reduced.
So there you have it – ten kitchen gadgets that are sure to save you time, money, and hours of hassle. Oh, and about those taco shell warmers and muffin top pans? I’d say pass them by… unless, of course, you plan to buy them at my next yard sale!