Favorite Kitchen Tools – Stocking Stuffers

Here is a list of some smaller kitchen tools that would make perfect stocking stuffers!

  1. Garlic Press– I use mine almost every day. You don’t have to mess with peeling garlic, finely mincing etc. You put a clove in the press and just squeeze! The peel stays behind.
  2. Meat Thermometer– I use this all the time as well. I always test meat with a thermometer to make sure it’s done prior to serving. I like this one because it has the quick guide on the side of what temperatures the various meats should reach to be safe to eat. This model automatically turns on and off as you flip the probe out and press it back in. You also want to make sure you calibrate your thermometer on a regular basis. You do this by putting the probe in a glass of ice water and pressing and holding the “Cal” button to calibrate it to freezing.
  3. Heat-Resistant Silicone Spatula-It is worth it to invest in a good quality, heat resistant, silicone spatula. These are my go-to tools for cooking scrambled eggs because I can stir without fear of scraping my pan or having the spatula melt into my eggs. Look for one that is a solid piece, not one with a silicone bottom on a wooden base. I think we’ve all experienced the agony of the spatula end slipping off the handle into whatever we’re cooking. Just avoid that and go with a seamless one!
  4. Silicone Skillet Handle Cover – I have a few of these that I use with my cast iron pans. The handles get hot when cooking with them on the stove and this can help you not have to hold a pot holder the whole time while cooking. I also always put one on right away when I pull a pan out of the oven. On multiple occasions, I’ve grabbed the handle of a hot skillet after it’s come out of the oven not thinking that it’s still piping hot. Now I put these covers on right away!
  5. Cloth Dinner Napkins – We have completely transitioned from using paper napkins, to using cloth napkins. It took me a while to build up a solid collection where we could always have some clean but it has been so worth it. Not only does it reduce our usage of paper products, but I think cloth napkins add a lot of elegance to a table. They also work great to line a bread basket, or arrange a few of them down the center of your table as a runner. Get your kids involved by having them help you fold them in a fun way!

These gifts are items that I use regularly in my kitchen, and I’m sure that the home cook in your life would love them as well!

Favorite Kitchen Tools- Instant Pot

In the past I have been very selective in the kitchen “gadgets” that I purchase because I have always lacked storage space. I had an Instant Pot in my Amazon cart multiple times but then I would remove it and ask myself, “Am I really going to use that?” If I could just go back and tell myself how valuable this tool is then I could have bought one a long time ago!

Benefits and Features of an Instant Pot

The Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker and multi-cooker. There are many options out there that have different features but this is the newest version of the one that I have. Here are my favorite features that make the Instant Pot so valuable:

  1. Slow Cooker: You can slow cook in the Instant Pot! If you’re concerned about space in your kitchen, trading in your slow cooker for an instant pot is definitely worth the upgrade!
  2. Saute feature: I love this feature for a roast or for soups. When I used to make a roast in my slow cooker, I would have to brown the roast first in a pan on the stove then add it to the slow cooker. Not only do you dirty to pans, but you lose all the tasty bits in the pan when you move the meat. This is not a problem with the instant pot! You can brown the meat in the pot, deglaze and get up all those tasty bits, then add the meat back in to cook the roast.
  3. Great for cooking rice, beans or grains: I can cook dried beans without soaking them in about an hour. It’s great for weekly meal prep!
  4. Easy Hard Boiled Eggs: I purchased something similar to this egg steamer rack for my instant pot. I put 1 cup of water in the pot, add the egg rack with eggs and pressure cook for 6 minutes. As soon as it’s finished cooking I quick release the steam and move the eggs to a container of cold water to stop the cooking. Perfect hard boiled eggs every time! Then put them in a jar with a little water and shake the jar around for a quick way to peel the eggs.
  5. Meal prep: I add 4-5 boneless skinless chicken thighs to the pot. Cover with your favorite salsa and pressure cook for 20 minutes. Quick release the pressure and shred the chicken. It’s tender and shreds so easily for tacos, enchiladas, topping a salad etc. You can do this with other meats such as pork tenderloin but I use BBQ sauce and a little water instead.
  6. Bowl in Bowl Method: Use the egg steamer rack from above and place your meat or other meal element in the bottom of your cooker. Then place a small glass bowl on top of the trivet filled with your other meal element. This recipe alone from Food 52 for Butter Chicken is worth purchasing an Instant Pot and it utilizes the pot in pot cooking method. You could also cook something in the bottom and place a steamer dish on the trivet to steam a veggie to pair with your meal. Think meatballs in the bottom and pasta in the bowl on top. So many possibilities!

Consider Purchasing Some Accessories

If you already have an Instant Pot, or you’re looking for some gifts ideas for someone who already has one, consider some of these accessories you can buy such as a glass lid or a steamer basket. I haven’t experimented with this yet, but there are a lot of recipes for making desserts as well using a springform pan like this. Or another option would be these egg bite molds, perfect for mixing an egg with some veggies and cheese for small portable omelet bites.

If you’re concerned about the space that it takes up in your kitchen- trust me, it’s worth swapping out your slow cooker for an Instant Pot. They take up about the same amount of space, but an Instant Pot is so much more versatile. They make great gifts. I think it would be especially useful for someone living in a small apartment where they don’t have a kitchen at all because it can be used to prepare such a variety of meals. Do you get it yet, that I love this thing?! 🙂