Welcome to our first ever Healthy Kitchen Hacks Holiday Gift Guide!
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We’re sharing our favorite kitchen tools, gadgets, and equipment that can help you cook more efficiently, nutritiously and deliciously. This list includes both practical items along with a few bigger ticket items if you want to splurge for a loved one…or yourself… this season.
Serena recommends: If You Care FSC Parchment Baking Paper
Other recommendation: Pre-Cut Parchment Paper Sheets
- Parchment paper makes clean up a snap. Use to line baking sheets when roasting vegetables or roasting grapes, or for making sheet pan meals like Roasted Asparagus Caprese Salad.
- When baking, tape parchment paper to the counter when rolling out pie dough or kneading bread.
- Try this Healthy Kitchen Hack: to keep the paper from rolling up, crunch into a ball and then smooth out; paper will then lay flat!
We both recommend: Microplane Classic Zester/Grater
For some kitchen color, check out: Microplane Classic Zester/Grater in Turquoise
- Years ago, I (Deanna) stopped buying ground nutmeg and instead grate whole nutmeg with my microplane for Butternut Squash Gnocchi or Turmeric Eggnog.
- Also, use to it grate a wedge of aged cheese – like Parmesan – for Open-Faced Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches.
- Try this Healthy Kitchen Hack: use the microplane to zest citrus rinds to add instant flavor to any soup, veggie dish, or baked goods.
PINT SIZE MASON JARS
Deanna recommends: Ball Pint Jar (Set of 12) or Ball Pin Jar (Set of 2)
For more kitchen color: Ball Jar Heritage Collection Pint Jars (Aqua)
- I (Deanna) use the green Ball Jars as drinking glasses and love them.
- Serena uses them to package Easy Apple and Pear Chips for teacher gifts.
- Mason jars are also perfect for overnight oats or homemade cup of Noodles Soup in a Jar.
- Use wide mouth lids for this Healthy Kitchen Hack: Mason Jar Lid Mini Fruit Tarts – perfect for holiday dessert trays.
Amazon best seller: Nordicware Natural Aluminum Commerical Baker’s Half Sheet
Deanna bought the set: Nordicware Natural Aluminum Commerical Baker’s Half Sheet (set of 2)
- I (Deanna) use these daily for roasting veggies like cabbage and carrots for fried rice and spaghetti squash.
- Sheet pan meals are now all the range (make the entire dinner on a sheet pan) – here’s a round-up of Recipe ReDuxers’ Sheet Pan Meals.
- Layer with parchment paper (see above) or aluminum foil to keep clean up easy like for roasting peppers with less mess.
- Try this Healthy Kitchen Hack: How To Make Baked Tofu Extra Crispy.
Serena recommends: 4-Quart Manual Slow Cooker and 6-Quart Crock-Pot Manual Slow Cooker
Amazon’s best seller: 6-Quart Crock-Pot Programmable Cook & Carry Slow Cooker with Digital Timer
- My (Serena’s) 4-quart Crock Pot is still going strong after 17 years (yay for Crock Pots!) but I just bought an additional larger one to help feed my family of 4 growing children (and for entertaining.)
- Try these Slow Cooker Healthy Kitchen Hacks:
- How to Make Caramelized Onions in the Slow Cooker – one of our favorite hacks
- How To Avoid Mushy Veggies in the Slow Cooker
- How Cook Dried Beans in Slow Cooker
- How to Make Greek Yogurt in the Slow Cooker —another very popular post
Deanna recommends: Pure Grade Unbleached Cotton Cheesecloth
- The main reason I (Deanna) always have cheesecloth on hand is to make ricotta. It’s so easy – as long as you have that cheesecloth in your pantry. Here’s How To Make Homemade Ricotta in less than 15 minutes!
Serena recommends: Hungry Harvey Squirrel Nut Cracker
- DYK that nuts in their shells are less expensive than shelled nuts?
- Originally received as a joke from my sister, my (Serena’s) kids LOVE to use it and they can now identify every in-shell nut.
- Extra bonus: it takes a little more time to crack the nuts yourself so you automatically slow down when snacking!
- Try this Healthy Kitchen Hack after you crack those nuts: How Not to Burn Nuts.
TOTALLY WORTH-IT BIGGER TICKET ITEMS:
Deanna recommends: Blendtec Total Blender Classic with WildSide+Jar (Certified Refurbished)
Amazon best seller: Ninja Professional Blender
- I (Deanna) wanted to get a Blendtec for years (I prefer the Blendtec dull blade vs. Vitamix’s sharp blade) but the price tag always eluded me. The answer: Buy a refurbished model for close to 1/2 of the price of a new model, which I did a few months ago and I haven’t looked back.
- So what does Certified Refurbished mean?
- Tested and certified by Blendtec or a third-party refurbisher to look and work like new
- Process includes functionality testing, inspection, reconditioning and repackaging
- Includes a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty
- Use it for….everything! Try these Healthy Kitchen Hacks for your new blender:
- How To Make Homemade Protein Powder – our most popular post after 7 years of blogging
- How To Make Romesco Sauce in Minutes
- How To Make Pesto and Keep It Bright Green
If you want to splurge, Deanna recommends: Le Creuset 5-1/2-Quart French (Dutch) Oven
More economical (and highly rated) choice: Lodge Enamel Dutch Oven -6 Quart
- My (Deanna’s) Dutch Oven and Slow Cooker are the reasons I’m NOT interested in buying an Instant Pot. I got my Le Creuset Dutch Oven (color: Honey) as a wedding gift and 13 years later, it continues to be THE workhorse pot in my kitchen. It works on both the stove top and in the oven.
- Use it to make everything from chili, to soups, to whole grains, to casseroles, to sauteed greens and more. My favorite Dutch Oven recipes:
- Pasta e Fagioli with Greens
- Cheesy Broccoli and Greens Soup
- Ghanaian Peanut Soup (sound different but SO easy and SO good!)
Which other kitchen tools are on your wish list this year? Let us know below or pop over to our Facebook page and join the conversion!
Saturday 8th of September 2018
Great post and listed tips are wonderfully described.
Tuesday 30th of January 2018
I'm gonna need that cheesecloth very soon! Ricotta goes to every food I eat :-) Can you share your own way of making it? Would love to get tips from you.
Tuesday 30th of January 2018
Yes, definitely get the cheesecloth and it's so easy to make! Here's the post I wrote (along with a video) on how to do it. LMK if you have any questions!
Sunday 19th of November 2017
Cool guide! I will definitely need some of those gifts, that you have mentioned here. Thanks a lot for listen them. I will get some for my friends as well :P
Monday 13th of November 2017
Love this gift guide and agreed -- investing in a Le Creuset has been well worth it. A heavy-duty blender is absolutely next on my list, but several of the little staples you've given (cheesecloth, parchment, microplane) are also super regularly used in my kitchen too!
Monday 13th of November 2017
Love that you utilize almost everything on this list - I hope you get to treat yourself to a heavy-duty blender soon (check out the refurbished models!)
Friday 10th of November 2017
Yay for so many great kitchen gifts! <3 I love my slow cooker so much (especially this time of year)! I need parchment paper and a new blender though! *-*