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I want to make my cooking life easier...what kind of kitchen essentials could you not live without? I do not own a slow cooker or rice cooker, I think they'd be nice, do I need both? I'm really clueless & could use some advice.

Are they all non-stick? Can I find ones that aren't & where? I could use some brand names too, I don't want to buy something crappy.

So, any other useful things? We have a nice food processor, but I'm afraid of it
:, never even used it. It's a Cuisenart. Seems like a PITA to clean.
 

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I love my cuisenart don't be afraid of it!!! the only thing I dislike about it is how heavy it is. I find that I avoid taking it out becuase it's big and heavy and a pain to get to. I also couldn't live without my stand mixer. amazing for making bread or any baked good. whips things up so much nicer than a hand blender. great for making butter. those and a good set of knives and pans are my can't live withouts. i found an amazing clay artist in town who makes clay pots that can be used both in the oven and on the stovetop (most would crack if used on the stovetop...his don't though) They are truly amazing. Plus it feels so good to cook out of soemthing so natural and from the earth
 

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I would really hate to be without:
A huge, well-seasoned, cast iron skillet with a lid,
A big dutch oven,
a stick blender,
and my stand mixer.

If you're not using your food processor, I'd say sell it or donate it, and use the storage space that it takes up for something that you do love.

alsoSarah
 

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Hmmm. I don't actually use my slow cooker as much as I'd like to (not great at being that industrious early in the day
), and I make brown rice in the oven, so no need for a rice cooker here. I do use my Cuisinart a lot though. I find that as long as I'm getting it dirty for something anyway, I can use it for just about anything, although it would be a PITA to clean for just one thing. Some things I use it a lot for are:
I take the parts of chicken that I don't want to use for other things and poach them in broth and shred them in the food processor. Then I freeze the shredded chicken and use it to add to soups and pastas or to make enchiladas or quesadillas.
I sift flour and other dry ingredients for baking.
I knead dough with the dough blade to make bread or pizza crust.
I chop or slice veggies for stir-fry.
I shred large amounts of cheese.
I make pie crust.

But if I only need to do one thing (other than shredding chicken, when I always use it) then I don't bother.
 

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A really good set of quality knives makes all the difference for me.

If you can only afford one, get an 8-inch chef's knife. If you can afford two, get a chef's knife and a paring knife.

Here's a great knife-buying introduction. He has also rated a bunch of high end knives here.
 

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For us:

Well-seasoned cast iron skillet
Kitchaid Stand Mixer
Stick Blender
Bread Machine

I rarely use my slow cooker. I don't have a rice cooker - I cook it on the stove in an old-fashioned pot of boiling water.
 

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Slow cookers are handy. And, don't be afraid of your food processor! There are safety measures, and you can just toss the parts in the dishwasher! My food processor is one of my favorite things!

I say ditto to the good knives, too.

And, a good heavy pot with a lid. Can't do without one.

And, I like to bake, so I really dig on my hand mixer.
 

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good pots - at least one cast iron if you can, stuff that can go from stovetop to oven
dutch oven
good knives and cutting boards
food processor (it's not bad to clean...just rinse it off and stick it in the dishwasher)
toaster oven
citrus juicer
microplane grater

I have tons more stuff than that (just got married!) but those are what I use the most often.
 

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I use it as an oven for everything that will fit in it. It's also great for broiling and for making toast (I don't have a toaster) and for heating up leftovers (I don't have a microwave).
 

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things I absolutely cannot cook or live without!:
cast iron skillets(i have a whole collection)
stainless steel cooking pots
a few good knives. Mine are just decent, got them from IKEA.
My old Oster bar blender with two settings. I bought metal containers for them on Ebay. I lvoe it.
coffee grinder for grinding nuts.
baby food processor
espresso pot
stockpot
glass bottles and strainer for kefir making

Things I really need that would enhance my cooking greatly:
stand mixer(my hand one finally died)
food processor(large)I would love to make salsa and pie crust properly)
a good set of mixing/serving bowls
 

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I love my seasoned cast iron pans. I'd like a few more.

A heavy stockpot.

Stainless steel measuring spoons and cups.

Really good knives are essential. Maybe a knife sharpener.

Good mixing bowls. I have my grandma's heavy stainless steel bowls. I use them everyday, and love them.

A good blender or food processor.

My hand whisk (pampered chef) gets a daily workout.

Glass or clay baking dishes (including cookie sheets). I love my pampered chef stuff. It is pricey, but worth it.

I make bread by hand; hated my bread machine! I don't have a stand mixer, although I keep tossing around whether or not to acquire one.
 

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~Dishwasher, mine is portable
~My mutiple peices of cast iron
~Big stainless steel pots, I have a 10 qrt and then a 1 qrt and a 3 qrt
~Food prossecor
~ Kitchen Aide mixer, but a bigger one than I have
~ GOOD set of knives
~Rice cooker as I cant cook rice very well and as out family is growing when I make rice I need to make LOTS

~Couple of good pans for the oven
~ My Breadman bread machine. My mixer is too small to make a loaf
 

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"all of the above"

This sounds really silly... I wasn't a believer until after my daughter was born, but I really would be sad without my family sized George Foreman grill! Chicken breasts in 6 minutes! Or grilled chicken sandwiches with grilled peppers & onions & buns in 6 minutes! Or chicken fajitas with grilled veggies & tortillas in 6 minutes! It's AMAZING I tell you!
 

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All these cast iron mamas... would cast iron be good for an electric stove? My mother used cast iron for years, but it was a gas stove.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Metasequoia
I want to make my cooking life easier...what kind of kitchen essentials could you not live without? I do not own a slow cooker or rice cooker, I think they'd be nice, do I need both? I'm really clueless & could use some advice.

Are they all non-stick? Can I find ones that aren't & where? I could use some brand names too, I don't want to buy something crappy.

So, any other useful things? We have a nice food processor, but I'm afraid of it
:, never even used it. It's a Cuisenart. Seems like a PITA to clean.
My essentials are:
a GOOD chef's knife- a professional brand, not one from walmart, it's a great investment and makes cutting so much easier.
Rice cooker, but we eat rice a lot and it's common for most people here to have rice cookers. You can just cook rice on the stove though.
Slow cooker (it's nonstick, GE I think)
Nonstick skillet and 6 qt dutch oven
Big stock pot
Cheese grater, we use it to grate veggies too
mixing bowls of course
8 inch glass baking dish
2 qt glass cassarole (that one gets used a lot)
 

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I have cast iron and I've only ever had electric. No problems as far as I know, but then again I've never cooked with gas to experience the difference.
 

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my kitchenaid mixer

my cast iron skillets, but i dont use them as often as i should.... nothing tastes better than cornbread from a cast iron skillet
a good wooden chopping board
my slow cooker, again, i dont use it a lot, but its great when i do
my pampered chef stone wear... i only have a couple of pieces, but i love it
 
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