For busy moms with teenagers and toddlers, dinner time and the pressure to perform can be the most stressful times of the day. Being stocked with the right kitchen tools and equipment can make the difference between stress at dinnertime and you being cool, calm, and collected.
When my teenagers comes over to me at 5:15 pm asking “what’s for dinner?” and I return a blank face to her, that is probably the worst feeling of the day. There are a few things I have up my sleeve to prevent that feeling.
One is creating a meal plan for the week. Check out my post on easy everyday family meal planning here.
Another is using a tried and true system for creating pre-assembled meals stocked in the freezer. MyFreezEasy has saved me from meal time stress on many occasions. You can select meals that your family will love, and the program prints out complete shopping lists, assembly instructions, labels for the gallon size freezer bags and recipes for each meal. Man, I love this program, I could go on and on!
It has saved me from ordering take out quite a few times, and helped restore my faith in the kitchen to provide food when we are in need! LOL!
Without further ado, here are the kitchen tools and equipment you need to complete your mealtime execution.
7 Kitchen Tools and Equipment to Save Money and Time
1. 13” Sauté/Braiser Pan
Busy moms like you need a pan that is big enough to sauté and brown all your meat at once so you don’t have to cook batch after batch. Ain’t NO one got time for that!
Here is a 13″ pan that cooks evenly and quickly. It is not cheap, but it’s quality is unsurpassed and will last year upon year, so you may never need to buy another pan like this again.
This large pan will make it easier to cook all your family’s meats or a one-pot-meal at once without having to cook in several batches. Your food will cook beautifully.
I have had mine for over 15 years. It is a workhorse.
It is PERFECT for one-pan dishes like Italian Skillet or Rice with Chicken (Arroz con Pollo), or a seafood paella. YUM!!!!
Ever used a cheap, weak blender to make a delicious smoothie with poor results? Me too. From now on, here is the only blender you will ever want.
Or do you have family members with severe allergies? If anyone in your household has allergies and you find yourself paying way too much to create alternatives ingredients like almond milk, gluten-free flour or sunflower butter, invest in a Vitamix right away.
This high powered blender is a versatile machine for making smoothies, blending pancake mix, making hot soups and even frozen desserts. I use mine also for grinding down flours like oatmeal. You can also use it to wet chop vegetables like peppers and onions.
Make your own nut butters, your own almond milk, your own baby food purees, and your own dressings and sauces. This baby is a workhorse and replaces several other appliances. Get rid of your cheapo blender, your chopper, your tiny food processor.
Then to clean it, fill it halfway with water add two drops of liquid soap and blend as if you were making a smoothie. Out comes a beautifully clean pitcher, soooo simple.
If your kids request smoothies or milk shakes regularly, run don’t walk to pick up one of these beauties that can handle the tiniest chia and strawberry seed like a champ and make it disappear. You will never want to pay $5 for a smoothie again!
Seems like such a simple suggestion, but in our home, we must have a working toaster.
I don’t know if you think that this basic kitchen appliance is not useful enough to take up counter space, but believe you me our toaster gets used almost daily.
Whether it’s for toasting up frozen waffles in the morning, heating up bagels, for toasting up bread, toasting up pancakes etc. The toaster is a device that would definitely be replaced should something catastrophic happen to our kitchen.
What’s nice about this one is it has a bagel function (to cook your bagel longer than regular toast), a frozen function for frozen foods like waffles, and a reheat function to simply warm up your forgotten toast without re-toasting it.
Who hasn’t done that right? And what I like best is there are two completely separate controls.
So if one kid is making waffles and the other is having toast, you can set each side up individually and yet cook at the same time. Brilliant!
4. Tea Kettle or Coffee Maker
Perhaps this should have been first! We do need to wake up first thing in the morning don’t we? But wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to pay $3-6 per cup? In comes your own tea pot or coffee maker.
Most of us need a little caffeine boost in the morning. I definitely recommend a kettle for heating up hot water for various other uses in the kitchen, like for soup, instant oatmeal, and hot chocolate.
I’m a tea drinker and so I use mine two to three times a day, every day.
I’m sure the same would be true for you with the coffee pot if you were a coffee drinker.
So whether your beverage of choice is a tea or a coffee, go ahead and get one of these beauties to make your morning beverage fast and simple.
Not to mention saving yourself quite a bit of money and time from standing in line at the local coffee joint.
5. Instant Pot – Ultra 6qt Electric Pressure Cooker
Do you wish you had a kitchen tool that would let you magically insert food, turn it on and walk away completely, then return 40 minutes later to a hot, delicious meal? The Instant Pot electric pressure cooker is for you, my friend!
For years I put up my nose at yet one more appliance in the kitchen. I just would not even look at it. But when I finally buckled, I kicked myself for not getting one years ago. This beauty is a work horse.
Want perfect hard boiled eggs? Easy-Set-it and-Forget-it chili or beef stew? Steel Cut oatmeal? and so much more? The Instant Pot can be your best friend. It can even be used as a crock pot people!
Want to know how to use it by following an easy video course on Electric Pressure Cookers? Try Erin Chase’s EPC101 course by $5Dollar Dinners. This course gave me the courage to give the cooker a try and walked me through several recipes. Loved it!
6. Waffle maker
If your family loves waffles is much as our does, having a dedicated waffle maker will make the job so much easier for you. But even if waffles are not your treat of choice, a waffle maker can be quite versatile.
You can heat up and toast paninis, and also cook and toast so many different types of foods!
You may think this is a luxury item and not essential at all. You would be wrong there.
Here is a post on 22 Things You Can Make in Your Waffle Iron that will change your mind.
You will never look at a waffle iron again the same.
7. Rimmed Baking Sheet
For baking, roasting, reheating. This is essential if you have an oven. Roast veggies, bake bacon with ease, roast chicken, or heat up chicken nuggets and frozen fries. This is a power horse for every kitchen.
The LIST: 7 Kitchen Tools and Equipment Every Family Needs to Save Money and Time
There are so many other amazing kitchen tools and equipment that could help you stock up a new kitchen, or make your current cooking routine a bit easier. But I didn’t want to overwhelm you with a list of the top 50 things you need for a kitchen! Kidding! So start with these top 7 and best of luck in the kitchen my friend. You got this!
P.S. Here are a few articles to help you feel a bit less frazzled at home:
Chandra is the chocolate-chip loving mother of 2 teenage girls who started over again with a baby boy in her 40’s! She is the author of The Mom’s Playbook to Conquering Softball Season. She gives other moms the tools they need to prepare their daughters for real life. Her content is centered on helping girls grow up to be well-rounded, equipped, expressive, confident, intelligent, capable, kind and independent.