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Author’s note: My name is Jack Roskopp and I’m a writer who loves to whip up my own recipes at home. I cook in my kitchen pretty regularly, and ever since COVID-19 made going to restaurants a thing I don’t do as much anymore, there is almost always something going down in my kitchen these days.
Trying to build your kitchen from the ground up can be a daunting task. If you’re not a regular cook, certain tools can look pretty daunting, and there always seems to be a new kitchen gadget on the market that looks incredibly intimidating to use.
Some of these things I’ve accumulated since the pandemic started because I wanted to try out some more complicated recipes, and others I’ve been using and they’ve turned into my old faithfuls.
You can get them all on Amazon, and since it’s Prime Day, why not treat yourself to something special for your kitchen?
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Instant Pots are insanely popular, so if you already have one, you know just how versatile this kitchen appliance can be. There are honestly so many different things you can make. Chicken noodle soup, beef tips, mac and cheese, stroganoff, spaghetti, pulled pork, rice and even homemade cheesecake. It’s kind of scary to use for the first time, but there are plenty of YouTube tutorials out there on how to use your Instant Pot. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll become a pro pressure cooker in no time.
Not to be dramatic, but my life changed the day I got an air fryer. There are lots of different air fryers on he market, but these kind that can fit multiple trays of food are the best. You can cook a lot of food all at once.
There is also a rotisserie option, so you can make a rotisserie chicken at home that will rival the ones at Costco. Think of the air fryer as a toaster over or even your oven, so anything you’d cook in there you can cook in the air fryer. It’s unbelievable just how crispy the food gets, and you’re using little to no oil. I made homemade chicken strips in it, and it’s great knowing that the chicken will get super crispy without having to fry it in a vat of oil. It’s also great for veggies, frozen foods and hot dogs and burgers.
If you’re a fan of eating hard-boiled eggs in the morning for breakfast, this little machine will change your life. All you have to do is set the time on the little machine to your preference of egg “doneness” (I’m a hard-boiled kind of guy), and your eggs come out perfectly every time.
You can make a handful of eggs at a time and you’ve got a quick breakfast for the rest of the week. It’s really great for steaming veggies, too.
Something I started doing in quarantine is making my own orange juice when my roommate and I wanted fancy mimosas for our Sunday brunches, since going to brunch hasn’t really been an option. This juicer is perfect for getting every last drop out of an orange, and it’s great for lemons and limes, too. What I really love about it is that the cup where the juice collects has measurements on it, and the top of the juicer collects seeds.
A fondue set might be a relic of the ’60s and ’70s, but there is seriously nothing better than dipping bread and veggies into a giant pot of melted cheese. This might not be a great thing to use in the age of COVID-19 since it’s lots of sharing, but if you have a few roommates in your household or you want to make fondue for your family, this is such a fun thing to do on a weekend night.
This is something that I bought right when quarantine started, and I am so happy that I got it. If you already own a Dutch oven, you already know how versatile it can be. It’s great for searing meats like beef tips, making any soup you can imagine and it’s great to make delicious spaghetti sauce. I even pop my own popcorn in it. Really nice Dutch ovens can get really expensive, but this one on Amazon is a reasonable price, and it’s a great quality. It comes in funky colors, so that’s fun, too.
You might think that you don’t need a cast-iron skillet, but trust me, you want one (or even two) in your kitchen. It takes a lot of patience to take care for a cast iron (here’s a great video on how to care for yours), but the more you use it, the better the food will taste that you cook on it. If you can’t grill outside for whatever reason, it’s a great alternative for making steaks and burgers on. They are oven safe, so a lot of things you can start cooking on the stove, and then transfer to the oven. Having both of these items in your kitchen will be great additions.
I honestly can’t believe I’ve gone through life without owning a salad spinner. It is kind of clunky and can take up some storage in your kitchen, but really, this is the easiest way to wash a bunch of greens in a quick amount of time.
Even if you buy your greens pre-washed, it’s always safe to give them a quick wash in the salad spinner before eating them. I use mine all the time now.
Ina Garten’s ‘Modern Comfort Food’
My all-time favorite Food Network host and living legend Ina Garten is back with another cookbook, and this time, it’s all about introducing new flavors and new spins on the classic comfort foods. If you’ve watched her show “Barefoot Contessa,” you know that most her recipes revolve around entertaining (or cooking for her beloved Jeffrey), so these dishes are all crowd-pleasers. I already made the chicken pot pie soup, and it’s to die for. Long live Ina!
Chrissy Teigen’s ‘Cravings: Hungry For More’
I’ve had this cookbook for almost two years now, and I have made so many recipes out of it. Chrissy Teigen really knows how to come up with recipes that you will want to make again and again. They’re all super easy, accessible and most importantly, full of flavor. Plus, it’s really fun to read her intros to each recipe and how she turned her husband, John Legend, into a professional taste tester. The man has the best job in the world.
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