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Old 12-30-2005, 09:33 AM   #1  
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Let's get excited about cooking! (does anyone here watch 30 minute meals- love that show!!)

What are some of your trade secrets?

I'll start with something really simple: Glad press n' seal - I love this stuff!! I will never go back to using regular saran wrap. This stuff sticks to everything. Plastic bowls.. you name it!

I'm in the market for new pots and pans.. mine are 15 years old.. and I should have thrown them out 10 years ago!!

What "tools" do you love?
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Old 12-30-2005, 09:52 AM   #2  
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I love my Le Crueset casserole dish. Stove top and oven proof, and so indestructible even DH can use it!!!! I cook soups, stews all sorts of stuff in it.

I can't live without my George Foreman.

I love my blender for soups, I don't do smoothies much anymore but I probably will in summer.

And I should really mention the microwave, I don't like it, but I use it a lot for defrosting, coz I always forget to get my meat out in the morning before I leave for work!
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Old 12-30-2005, 09:54 AM   #3  
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I love, love love, my Calphalon pots and pans. They were a Christmas present from my mother the first year I was married. But, if they ever have to be replaced (and I doubt they will) I won't hesitate to spend the money on them because they are soooo worth it. I cook A LOT though.

My milkshake maker. My grandparents opened a restraunt back in the late 1950's and when they passed away we got all kinds of comercial grade kitchen tools. The milkshake maker is from very early in their career and works perfectly. Of course, I don't get to make milkshakes very often now that I'm watching what I eat but it still looks cool sitting on my counter!

My knife set. Another present from my parents and something I could never justify spending the money on. But now that I know what a huge difference they make in preparing food I'll never go back to lower grade ones. I've saved a ton of money on chicken breasts because my fillet knife makes it so easy to skin and debone split breasts myself. I can't remember the last time I paid top dollar for boneless, skinless breasts at the store.

My mini food processor. I had a big one that I never used because it was just too much trouble to get out and clean. This one does the job just as well and is a heck of a lot easier to use.

My bread machine. I don't use it often but it is fun when I do.

The one kitchen gadget that I've bought and was horribly disappointed in was my George Foreman grill. I thought it was a butt load of trouble to clean and never got good enough food results to justify bothering with it. I know most people adore theirs so maybe there is just something wrong with me - but I HATED it!
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Old 12-30-2005, 09:55 AM   #4  
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I love the Reynold's release foil. It is great for roasting vegetables with almost no pan clean up. My mom is a big fan of 30 Minute Meals. My only problem with the program is that it seems every meal is focused around a big ol' hunk of meat. She has some great side dishes though. Personally I love Alton Brown and Good Eats is a fun show with good information.
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Old 12-30-2005, 01:06 PM   #5  
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I too love that press'n'seal. We use it all the time. Pretty much don't use our tupperware anymore.

I love my crockpots and breadmaker! I'm made some pretty good meals in them and now i'm going to start making healthier foods in them.
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Old 12-30-2005, 01:12 PM   #6  
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Originally Posted by jawsmom
The one kitchen gadget that I've bought and was horribly disappointed in was my George Foreman grill. I thought it was a butt load of trouble to clean and never got good enough food results to justify bothering with it. I know most people adore theirs so maybe there is just something wrong with me - but I HATED it!
Mine is Hamilton Beach - the grills come out and can be washed in the dishwasher...don't know how I lived without it...oh wait - yes I do, I used to fry everything!

So, yes, jawsmom..there is something wrong with you... 'Cause I almost always agree with you. And you usually say what I am thinking but more eloquently.
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Old 12-30-2005, 01:24 PM   #7  
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I'm one of those lucky gals that has a husband that loves to he actually does most of the work in the kitchen....BUT....when I do decide to venture to that'm a big fan of the crockpot!!!!! I've found a lot of great WW crockpot recipes online. Most of them are soooo quick and's kind of like the "set it and forget it" thing...I love that! 30 Minute Meals too...DH and I watch the back to back episodes every night...... we always count how many times Rachel says "yum-o" She's kind of a goof ball....but fun to
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Old 12-30-2005, 06:06 PM   #8  
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My George Foreman and my crock pot. I'm a good cook but a lazy one when I can get away with it.
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Old 12-30-2005, 09:00 PM   #9  
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I love my Foreman grill - I've found the easiest way to clean it is to put it on the side of the sink (so any liquid would drip into the sink) and while it's still hot, wash it with hot soapy water. It cleans up instantly, way easier than using that plastic scraper and paper towel.

I love my toaster oven too. For small portions, it's perfect and saves on electricity too.

I also have a mini-food chopper/processor. It kicks some serious butt - it chops everything and saves a ton of time (and tears, no more chopping onions by hand!).
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Old 12-31-2005, 05:22 AM   #10  
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I just purchased a Braun whisker, chopper and blender set. I am looking forward to making yogurt smoothies and not having to cry over chopped onions. I am also in love with my rice cooker. I am going to try cooking barley in it next week.
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Old 12-31-2005, 06:09 AM   #11  
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I've just got a George Foreman grill and I'm planning to give it a first try out later today. Fingers crossed I'll like it!
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Old 12-31-2005, 08:34 AM   #12  
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Last year hubby bought me 4 Wustof knives. I have a 3" parer, 5" (?) trimmer (I don't remember the real name), a chef's knife and a santoku. I looooooooooooooooooove my knives. I mean, if there were a fire I would save my knives. If I were to consider a life of serial killing, I'd be a slasher. You have NO idea how lovely it is to cook and have chopping/cutting/slicing/paring/skinning/separating be totally, completely effortless until you have knives like this, and once you do you will never ever go back.

My pots and pans (forget the name) are round on the bottom and square on top, and the lids each have little spinner-things so that every lid, for every pot, can be used to drain foods. Pasta, meat, potatoes, whatever. Just hold the lid on and tip over the sink! And they're a snap to clean, too, one swipe and you're done.

I also really love the "Good Cook" brand of utensils. I have very large hands (I wear men's size large weightlifting gloves, and my fingers span more than a full octave on a piano) and they're easy for me to hold on to, and easy to manipulate.
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Old 12-31-2005, 12:53 PM   #13  
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Fun thread--I love my Calphalon pro pans (with the nonstick surface and glass lids). I taught a summer school class and used practically ALL the extra money to buy the pans--knowing I will NEVER have to replace them!

One of my other favorite things is my Krupps ice cream maker. It has a "drum" that you freeze in the freezer, then when you want to make something, just plug the whole thing in a give it about 20 minutes. While the ice cream may be a rare treat these days, I also have a good selection of fruit freezes (sorbets, ices, etc.) for low cal treats. cookbook collection! I think I got that from my Mom who reads cookbooks like "fiction"
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Old 12-31-2005, 02:42 PM   #14  
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For me, my favorite kitchen item has to be my Kitchenaid Mixer- I've had it since I was 18 or 19 (worked in bakeries and did cake decorating)- yikes, I've had it 16 years now. I have a lot of the attachments- love the metal graters for making 'snow cones' (I use to freeze my ScanDiet meal replacement shakes & then run them through the grater so it was like eating ice cream). I also love my non-Foreman grill...I went through a couple of the small Foreman ones (we use them several times a day, every single day). A few years ago, HSN had a panini maker/grill unit on clearance for $20 with grill area a little bigger then a piece of paper, with removeable grills plates (one set is flat & the other has ridges). The coolest thing is that it has a floating hinge with a lock so it can be open a couple inches without resting on the food,- I put just about anything in there and not squash it. Honnestly, I would never go back to a GF brand grill...except maybe the new one with all the different plate- I like the idea of getting rid of my waffle iron. I think you pay a lot for the GF name, and would be better of buying a similar type of grill at WalMart (and if you want it to slant downward, just slide something under the back legs ). I also have one of those convertable stick mixers- it has so many different attachments- from imersion blender, two different sized chopper containers, whip, beaters, etc. It is so handy & easy to switch from one to another...couldn't imagine cooking without it.

My two favorite things when it comes to eating healthy have to be a good set of electronic kitchen scales (I also weigh a lot of my ingrediants when I'm baking...old habits from all those years in the bakery during college) and my Food Saver system. Whatever you do, don't get one of the cheap food sealers- I did that years ago and I used it so few times that its not even funny....just a big waste of money, IMHO. With the Food Saver & digital scales, I make sure when I put things in the freezer that they are individual sized servings- I can always take out more if I need to. The Food Saver is also great for resealing cereal, pretzels, & such- it really makes you think about 'just grabbing a few' if you have cut it open & reseal things don't get stale like they use to.

If you can't tell, I love kitchen gadgets a lot I have been thinning them out some since I started watching Alton Brown on Good Eats (Food Channel). I need to see if my library has his book "Gear for Your Kitchen"- he has some great ideas that sometimes come from the hardware store, or other non-kitchen item. In his opinoin, the only tool in the kitchen that should have only one use is the fire extinguisher- everything else needs to be able to do multiple tasks...and I have to say that most of the gadgetity-gadgets I've bought are pretty much useless.
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Old 12-31-2005, 03:16 PM   #15  
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Good knives. Kitchen life is so, SO much happier with a set of really good knives.

Oh, and I worship my Kitchen Aid mixer. Seriously, I think I'm unhealthily attached to that thing. I don't think I've ever had an appliance bring me such pleasure.

(Get your minds out of the gutter! )
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