Sometimes, I think back to my time when I was just starting out and had my very first kitchen…in an apartment of course, and not gourmet by any means!  There weren’t as many wonderful kitchen tools and gadgets to choose from like there are today so I started thinking about what kitchen items I couldn’t live without and would suggest for someone trying to build their own “kitchen essentials” list.

So here are my 5 Kitchen Essentials…..I wonder if some of them are yours, too?

5.  The Spiralizer


Now, this is a fairly new addition in my kitchen but one I now use often!  It is perfect to create beautiful works of art on the plate by using everyday vegetables such as zucchini, squash, cucumbers, potatoes, and much more!  It is compact, inexpensive and it has no limitations to make a variety of light recipes such as my Thai Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles…yummy!

Thai Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles

4. A Flat Whisk

Sure, regular whisks do the job but there is something about my favorite silicone coated flat whisk that always makes my gravy and sauces come out just a little smoother.  It also gets into those corners of the pan where the good stuff tends to gather (which always makes those sauces just a little bit better).  Try it next time you are making a roux for your gumbo!


3.  Le Creuset Dutch Oven

If you have been following my blog, you often see this big red pan in the pictures.  It is my Le Creuset Dutch Oven and it is my favorite of all my Le Creuset cookwear (I love the whole line!).  Of course, it is lovely to look at while on the stove (and comes in a variety of colors) but its interior enamel helps distribute the heat evenly when cooking and makes browning, simmering, and cleaning a snap!  It also goes straight from stove top to oven up to 500 degrees (not sure I have ever cooked anything at that temperature!).  I use it for braising short ribs, baking a pot roast, and making soups and stews like this recipe:


2. Wusthoff Tomato Knife

You may not have ever heard of a tomato knife and neither had I until a couple of years ago.  My favorite vegetable is the tomato and my husband, Jeff, and I have long argued over whether or not use use a serrated knife to cut a tomato.  I said yes…he said no.  He was proven wrong one Christmas when I opened one of my gifts from him and it was a tomato knife….with a serrated edge, of course!  Yes, I use this knife to slice tomatoes but as you may know, I process my own Italian Sauce every summer and this knife has a little tip that help pierce the tomato after blanching to help remove the skin before chopping.  It’s also great to slice bread, meats, and cheese….and, since it’s so small it’s portable.  Can you say PICNIC!

My Italian Sauce ready to process


1. Lodge Cast Iron Skillet


I saved the best for last!  I use my cast iron skillet for everything from searing meat to making an incredible southern cornbread.  I probably have 10 different shapes and sizes…I love it that much!  My very first Cast Iron Skillet was given to me by “Grandmother” when I got married back in 1985.  She was my husband’s grandmother but she became  mine, too, and has always been an inspiration to me in the kitchen!

Valentine’s Day is coming up soon so here is one of my favorite recipes using the cast iron skillet:


That is my list of the “Kitchen Essentials”….what are some of yours and would you add anything on my list to your kitchen?  I can’t wait to hear from you!

Coming tomorrow….My Dream Kitchen compliments of BlueStar Cooking!

For more information on BlueStar Cooking visit

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