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When I was growing up, my mom cooked dinner six nights a week. She is 100% Italian so we always had delicious meals with plenty of leftovers. My sister would always want to learn to cook and bake. I, on the other hand, didn’t mind having a personal chef (sometimes short order cook). When I moved into my now-husband’s apartment, I prepared dinners that consisted of cereal, scrambled eggs, shake and pour pancakes, French toast and my specialty, Elio’s Pizza. Jason, calmly, but seriously asked me the following:
- Do you know what a grocery store is?
- Do you know how to make anything other than breakfast foods and Elio’s Pizza?
I remember my husband driving to Acme and said “This is called a supermarket. This is where you buy fresh produce, meat, fish, and other items to prepare suitable dinners.” I tried familiarizing myself with the store layout by walking up and down the aisles. This was all a new experience. I missed my mom preparing meals, but knew I had to be an adult and learn how to cook.
Jason taught he how to cook everything. Four years later and I have baked a whole chicken independently. I was the girl that thought all chicken came frozen. Yep. People do change. An old dog can learn new tricks. I want to share with you some of the tools I have used that has helped me tremendously in the kitchen.
Simply Calphalon Nonstick 10 Piece Cookware Set & 5 Piece Nylon Utensil Set
The Simply Calphalon Nonstick 10 Piece Cookware Set and Calphalon 5-Piece Nylon Kitchen Cooking Utensil set includes an 8-in. omelette pan, 10-in. omelette pan, 1-qt. covered sauce pan, 2-qt. covered sauce pan, 3-qt. covered saute pan, 6-qt covered stock pot, and 4 tempered glass lids. It is made out of hard anodized aluminum, can be put in the oven up to 400 degrees F, and the nonstick coating makes it really easy to cook and clean. The utensils won’t scratch the pans, either. The only downside is that the cookware can’t go into the dishwasher (it will remove the nonstick surface), but the utensils can go in the top rack. These pots, pans, and utensils have really helped me with my cooking endeavors and I would strongly recommend them to new cooks. We have used them for over four years and couldn’t be happier.Crock-Pot
This was my go-to when I first started learning how to cook. My husband now calls me the Crock Pot Queen. Here is one of the first recipes I made in my crock pot:
Rosemary Lemon Chicken
- Place a package of boneless skinless chicken breasts in the slow cooker.
- Pour a cup and a half of chicken broth into the slow cooker.
- Squeeze the juice of one lemon into the chicken broth. Slice another lemon and place on top of the chicken.
- Take springs of rosemary and lay them on top of the chicken.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Turn crock pot on low and cook up to 8 hours, or on high for approximately 4 hours. Feel free to add garlic or parsley.
- Serve over rice.
I have a happy husband every time I make this recipe. And yes, I have a 5-quart Camouflage Crock-Pot. Don’t hate.
Blendtec Total Blender
My Vitamix couldn’t handle me. It broke within a month of having it. I needed something simpler so I exchanged it for a Blendtec Classic 575 Blender. I love my Blendtec. I use it every day to make my morning smoothie. I have also made ice cream, frozen yogurt, pesto, salsa, and soup. It is plunger free, has pre-programmed options, and an 8 year warranty. It is much simpler to use than other blenders, can fit under my counter top, and is dishwasher safe. Here is my daily smoothie recipe:
- Fill jar with 20 ounces of filtered water.
- Add a handful of washed baby spinach.
- Add a banana.
- Add strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, and mango. (Fresh or frozen)
- Add chia seeds.
- Add a few ice cubes.
- Add a drop of your favorite essential oil. I like lemon or peppermint. (Contact me to learn more about ingesting essential oils.)
- Hit the “Smoothie” option on the Blendtec. Enjoy.
Nope, it won’t explode. I promise. I was afraid of pressure cookers too, until I started using one. It takes 20 minutes to have dinner ready using one of these bad boys. I use the Elite Platinum 8 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker. It has so many programmable options and a browning feature, so you don’t have to dirty another pan. Here is my simple pork chop recipe:
- Brown 8 boneless pork chops in pressure cooker. Put aside.
- Place washed baby red potatoes in bottom of slow cooker.
- Add one roughly chopped white onion.
- Add two jars of marinara sauce.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Add pork chops.
- Set pressure cooker for 22 minutes.
These are my kitchen lifesavers. If I am not cooking with my pots, pans and utensils, I am making something in the crock-pot or pressure cooker. The Blendtec prepares all of my smoothies, soups, and desserts within minutes. I had absolutely no cooking background and needed equipment and appliances that work efficiently and simply. Now, my husband is happy when he comes home to a nutritious dinner. My mom is proud that I have learned a lifelong skill. I would strongly recommend the above items to anyone who wants to cook delicious meals without hassle.
What items do you use most often? Have a recipe to share? I’d love to hear from you.