Form and function

There are thousands of kitchen gadgets out there, and my kitchen has dozens (if not hundreds!).  But if you lined them all up on your counter and could only choose 5 to use, chances are they’d be the ones that are the most universal, sturdy, and have been around forever.  Making sure that those tools are high quality and easy to grab means you’ll be cooking faster and better right off the bat!  Below, I discuss some considerations you’ll want to make before choosing these essentials.

My top 5 essential kitchen tools:

Silicone Spatula Set of 4 with Hygienic Solid Coating

The spatula – great for scraping, dolloping, mixing, stirring and folding.  The benefit of this set is that there are 2 of each size so you can always have 1 in cleaning rotation, and something that will fit in smaller jars and crevices.  The REAL plus is in the design – they’re silicone from tip to end, so there’s no risk of the top becoming separated from the handle, and nowhere for bits of dough or batter to get stuck during cleaning.  And they’re heat safe to 480F! Bonus: they come in 3 colors, sure to suit any kitchen decor.  $16.95 for the set.

Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Oval Wide Dutch Oven

Ah, the dutch oven.  This could be the most versatile cookware ever – it goes from stove top to oven, covered or uncovered, so you can do anything from fry an egg to braise a roast to bake bread.  The enameling makes for easier care – no seasoning required – and means you get to choose from lots of colors.  If you could only have one pot, this would be the best choice!  $169-$249 depending on color.


Measuring Cups & Spoons Set by Morgenhaan

No kitchen is complete without measuring spoons and cups, but SO many designs are flawed!  This set is sturdy (no bending or breaking of handles) has the measurements etched on (painted on always wears off – is that a half teaspoon or a quarter?!), provides both US and metric numbering, and the spoons are narrow and long so they’ll fit into most spice jars.  The cups have a small spout for easy pouring so you can measure fluids too (a dry cup and a fluid cup are the same; liquid measuring cups just leave extra space at the top to prevent spills!).  A 12-piece set for $29.99.


Cuisinart DLC-10SY Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor

This is another diversity-driven pick: you can shred cheese and cabbage, slice carrots or potatoes, knead dough, or whip up a sauce, all in this one canister.  With simple controls and the option to buy specialty discs for other slicing styles, this guy should have a home in every kitchen! $119.99.


41enfUPdThL Pyrex Prepware 8-Piece Mixing Bowl Set

Not all mixing bowls are nice enough to serve in – these are, and their kitchen-to-table-ability makes them my pick.  Glass is beautiful to serve with because you can see the food from all angles, and the color coded lids (with sizing info!) allow them to take food beyond prep & serving to storage.  And they’re microwave-safe, too! Mix up cookie dough, pancake batter, toss a salad, or let bread dough rise in one of these – only $29.67 for the set.

That’s my list – what’s on yours?  Here’s a recipe that uses almost all of those kitchen items!

No-knead overnight bread

I experimented with this recipe several times before landing on what worked well for me – I use white whole-wheat flour for a soft bread that’s still high in fiber, and just a bit of AP flour.  With only 3 ingredients and about 10 minutes of hands-on time, this is a great recipe to bake up at the beginning of the week!


  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of active yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt


Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Add 1 1/2 cups warm water and stir to combine until all flour is incorporated scraping down the sides of the bowl.  Cover bowl with plastic (or a lid!) and place in a warm area for 12-18 hours. When ready to bake (dough should be bubbly and sticky), preheat oven with a dutch oven inside at 450F.  Remove hot dutch oven, lightly flour the dough and shape it gently into a loose ball (all surfaces should have a light flour coating), then drop it into the pot. Bake with lid on for 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake for another 10-15 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool before slicing.

Since I mentioned dream kitchens…

Here’s what I’ve been pinning lately!   When I get my hands on a kitchen to reno, I’m definitely going with classic white – though I love the idea of having bottom cabinets painted out in an accent color like the one at left below.  Changing the color scheme could be as easy as an afternoon of knob removal and paint, right?  And ever since seeing that BlueStar copper stove, I have dreams of shiny hazel accents…

Someday, my friends.  Someday!

BlueStar Cooking asked me to write about my favorite kitchen gadgets and dream kitchen elements…I was not paid for my time and do not receive commission on their products.