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!
- 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.
- 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:
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:
- 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:
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!