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Kitchen Necessities

written by

Aliceson Bales

posted on

July 29, 2023

I get asked about kitchen items a lot - what I use, what I swear by and what I have to have to keep everybody fed. So often, in fact, that I keep thinking, “I should probably make a list.” Well here’s the first list (this would be a super long blog if I put every single thing from my kitchen in it so I’m going to write a few of these blogs in a series of sorts and I hope you’ll join me). I hope it helps you find something you can use as well. 

(Please note there are affiliate links in the blog)

The item(s) I use the most - and I mean every single day if not every single meal - are my cast iron skillets. I have been using Camp Chef cast iron for several years now and I keep buying more. I have a LOT of sizes - from 6 inch skillets to the humongous 14 inch and everyone in between. And when I say I use cast iron everyday I mean every single day. My cast iron gets used on the stove top, in the oven, on the grill and on the smoker. I roast my buttermilk chicken in cast iron, bake cornbread in cast iron and make my cobblers and galettes in cast iron. I even make a skillet-cookie in cast iron that I serve with ice cream that is so good you’ll want to write a letter to your mama. And I made the switch from another brand to Camp Chef because Camp Chef cast iron holds up better, doesn’t get a weird rust-thing on it if you leave it in the water for a minute too long, cleans up easier and stacks up for easy storage. I cannot recommend Camp Chef products enough!

And speaking of cast iron and easy cleaning, here’s their amazing cast iron cleaner that I buy by the boxful. Yes, I buy this. It’s not given to me. I bought it on a whim when I bought some products because it popped up as “some customers also bought this” kind of thing and it was inexpensive and now I can’t imagine cleaning up after a meal without it. I also buy it and give it as stocking stuffers or to a new bride with a 12-inch cast iron and a cookbook. That’s a great gift in my book! 

I also use enamel-coated cast iron from Lodge. I have their Dutch ovens in every size and love them because they go from stove top to oven easy and breezy. I love it especially for risotto and pasta dishes. Lodge is made in Tennessee and I’ve been a fan of their’s since I was in college at UTC back in the early 90s. (Funny story - I actually saw someone write about the 90s saying it was “the late 1900s” and I felt like Ma Ingalls.)

Now onto bakeware. I’ve ruined a lot of baked goods and I’ve won a few awards for my baked goods. I’ve had the cheapest crap to bake in you can buy at the dollar store and learned my lesson. I now bake in good bakeware - which to me is middle of the road bakeware. I don’t think you have to have the best or most expensive and I don’t even think the most expensive is necessarily the best. I buy middle of the road and it seems to work out well. I have been extremely pleased with my Nordic Ware pans and have their Bundt pans in multiple styles as well as their Charlotte cake pan which I’m enjoying these days. I also use their sheet pans for my cookies. (Here’s a question - in America we call them “cookie sheets” but in other parts of the world they’re known as “cooking sheets”. Which is correct??)

To get the cakes ready for the pans I have this Kitchen Aid stand mixer I have named Noel. He’s amazing and I spend more time with him, maybe, than I do Barry. He has a good attitude and never talks back. 😂 (I kid! I kid!)

Onto cookies. To decorate my cookies - which in all honesty I only do at Christmas, birthdays and Valentine’s Day - I use this set from Pampered Chef. I’ve used a lot of decorating kits in the past and they’ve been junk. The tips fly off and icing dumps out of the bag or you can’t get them apart or they get stained with colors. But this Pampered Chef kit has been my go to for years. It’s not expensive and it’s better than any I’ve tried.

For stack cakes I like to use this leveler. And then I save the “chopped off” pieces (who am I kidding? We eat those!). But if I did save the “chopped off” pieces they’d be great as a crumb topping for said cakes.

And I am infatuated with this cake stand and turntable for decorating! Oh my gosh - before I had this I wore myself out trying to ice and decorate a cake. Running from one side of the table or counter to the other. But this thing is a life saver. Plus you can make cool videos for social media using them. 😂

And for our outdoor kitchen, I can’t recommend Camp Chef’s Woodwind pellet grill enough. It’s easy to use, easy to clean and easy to maintain. Plus it has an app. I named our Woodwind “Steve” and Steve is amazing! Barry has always been the grill and smoke master on the farm but with Steve I am coming into my own. Steve and I smoke cheese and we do amazing noodle bowls. He’s so fun to work with and I know you’d love your own, too. (You’ll have to tell me what you name yours.)

And for noodle bowls, I love this wok. It’s the best I’ve ever owned. When Barry and I got married we were gifted an Asian noodle cookbook with everything in it from salads to soups to main dishes and bowls so we’ve gone through quite a few woks in our 25 years. And I love this one. I use it with Steve so often. And since Steve is outside I often make noodle bowls during football games or when we’re entertaining in the fall. Noodle bowls are always so quick and easy. All you do is chop, heat up for a few minutes and pour into a bowl. You can’t get any easier than that!

Now I need to tell you about my bowls I use for cooking. I love these nesting bowls and they make me feel like a professional chef! 

And so do these knives. They are amazing and look great in the leather pouch or displayed (safely) above your counter.

Well that’s probably enough for now. These are the main gadgets I use in my kitchen day in and day out. Next time I’ll tell you more about my larder. And answer the question, “what is a larder?” I do hope you’ve found something on this list you like and use, just like I do.

Happy cooking everybody!




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