1. I recommed stainless steel pots and pans. When I was first married, I had a set of aluminum pans that were yellow on the outside. (My kitchen was orange and yellow - psychedelic!) Anyway, they were beat up and looking bad within a year. Next, I got a pretty teflon set that was white with little flowers on the outside. Again, they didn't last very long. Then I became an Amway dealer for about 4 years. In order to up my PV (points value), I scraped together enough money to buy a set of their waterless stainless steel cookware. It was one of the best things I ever did. I bought them over 25 years ago, and they still look great. They were heavy enough that they didn't get warped, even if I got busy and boiled one dry! And no matter how they got stained, a little elbow grease and a brillo pad helped them look like new again.
2. Cast iron skillets! Cast iron is not popular like it used to be, but I feel every kitchen needs at least one cast iron skillet. Once you get them seasoned and broke it, they are perfect for grilled cheese or to bake cornbread. I have two sizes, an 8" and a 9". The 9" skillet belonged to Jim's grandmother. I've had it for 33 years, no telling how long she had it before me. Some of the things I cook in my cast iron skillet:
- sloppy joes
- fried potatoes
- scrambled eggs
- eggs fried over easy with just a spray of a cooking oil like Pam
- ground chuck browned and ready for other recipes
- grilled cheese
- baked cornbread in the oven
3. The third useful item of cookware is my handy-dandy MicroMaster Microwave Pressure Cooker. You can see a description of it here. The main thing I use this item for is to cook potatoes for mashed potatoes. Peel your potatoes, slicing them into 4 wedges each, and put them in the cooker with enough water to cover. I then nuke them for 20 minutes. Perfect every time for mashing, I never have a pan boiled dry on the stove, and I don't have to check and see if they're done. I then drain the water off and mash them right in the cooker (it's plastic and it won't hurt the cooker). The beauty of doing this is that I can put the lid back on, close the vents, and the mashed potatoes stay nice and warm. I also use this to make potato soup. I've also barbecued chicken breasts in the cooker. For under $10, it's a steal!
4. Next, I feel everyone needs the small micro cooker from Pampered Chef, or something similar. You can see it here. It's awesome! You can melt butter in it, make a white sauce, one can of tomato soup fits perfectly in it, or you can cook a can of peas in it. Microwaving these items means you never burn it on the stove!
5. Last, but not least, I recommend a stainless steel roasting pan, again for the cleaning qualities; and if you buy a heavy one, it will last a long time.
These cookware items are what works for me!
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