Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tools of the Trade

When people ask me if I am a cook I reply, "In name and deed." I love to cook. And for some reason, it is more fun now that Cook is my last name. On this rainy Saturday morning, I have pumpkin chocolate chip muffins in the oven, I'm googling how to dehydrate cranberries in my oven, and I am planning grilled chicken and salads for dinner.

I have learned, however, that having the right tools makes any task more enjoyable. This coming Thursday night, I am having a Pampered Chef Party at my house. (If you live in Chattanooga, email me for time and address - I'd love for you to join us). We usually make one or two yummy recipes using the Pampered Chef tools, play a few games and then taste the delicious creations. It's so much fun!

I use at least 2 or 3 Pampered Chef products in preparation for almost everything I cook. I don't mean to sound like a commercial - but their products are great quality and seem to save me time and frustration.

Since I happen to have a few of the new catalogs here at my house in preparation for my party, I decided to figure out my top ten favorite Pampered Chef items.

And even though my last 2 posts have contained a "Top Ten" list, this is not going to be the basis for all my future posts. Don't worry!

In random order (actually, they are basically in the order that they appear in the catalog), here are some of my favorite products. These are items I use at least once week, if not daily.

1. 8 inch Saute Pan - ($48.00)

To everyone else, this may look like your typical, no-stick skillet. But it is my favorite skillet, by far. It is not just coated in a non-stick coating - the entire skillet is made of this material. Therefore, you don't have to worry about it eventually scratching off into your foods. It is also the perfect size for omelets. And, it cleans up quicker and faster than any other metal pan I've seen. We received the 10 inch Saute Pan as a wedding present, and we are thoroughly pleased with it as well.

2. Small Micro-Cooker (1 qt.) - ($8.50)

NEVER have to defrost your ground beef again! Any time I use ground beef/deer/sausage in a recipe, I pull out my Micro-Cooker (I also have the large size, but the small size is perfect for one pound of meat). It is a small plastic pot that is for your microwave. Simply put your FROZEN meat in the micro-cooker. Place it in the microwave for 3 minutes -remove, break up meat, and repeat. Usually, my meat is ready to go after 9 minutes. The lid contains easy to drain holes. Simply drain the grease and add your meat to your meal. This can also be used to easily cook veggies, heat soup, melt butter or reheat leftovers. And it's dishwasher safe.

3. Mix 'N Chop - ($10.50)

This is the other magic tool to use when cooking ground beef. It contains pinwheel blades to chop foods for even cooking. It won't scratch your cookware. I use it to break up the ground beef in between the three minute intervals of cooking. Also, it is so easy to use to smash potatoes. This is dishwasher safe as well, but because I use it more than I run my dishwasher, I usually end up washing this by hand.

4. Quick-Stir Pitchers (2 qts) - ($16.50)

If you live in the South, sweet tea is a staple. This pitcher makes it so easy to whip up a quick drink. It has a built in plunger that mixes the drink. And it has an adorable frosted dot pattern on the outside. I own the 2 qt. size as well as the gallon size. Each are used ALL THE TIME.

5. Deep Covered Baker - ($85.00)

I call this my magic pot. You can make a molten chocolate cake in the microwave in 10 minutes. You can make the best Cheddar potato soup in the microwave. You can use it to cook an entire  5 lb. chicken in the microwave. And it can be used in your oven as well. I was able to get this for free when I hosted a show! Let me know if are in the Chattanooga area and would be interested in hosting a show in your home. You could get one of these for free as well!

6. Pan Scrapers (pack of 3)-  ($2.75)

These handy little squares come with all the stoneware products. But I use them on many more surfaces. (Jeremiah even used one once to help him even up the caulk on the tub - mind you, this one didn't make it back into the kitchen). These little guys easily scrape off any baked-on food. Use it on your stove top, counters, cookie sheets, etc.

7. Deluxe Mini-Muffin Pan - ($16.50)

I used this pan this morning to make my muffins. If there is one thing I hate about muffins, it's cleaning the pan. I HATE having to try to get all the baked on goop out of all those little compartments. This pan, however is magical. It is easy to wipe off any sticky residue. And the cups are angled in a way that aids in the clean up process.

8. Citrus Peeler - ($1.00)

I love citrus fruits - but I hate having to dig my fingernails into the peeling just to get to the fruit. This little tool makes peeling oranges a breeze. We have several of these little peelers at our house. Jeremiah even has one in his gun cleaning kit -he says it's perfect to get in those tough to reach places. (Again, that one doesn't get to come back into the kitchen). I have given these as gifts with a cute little basket of oranges.

9. Classic Batter Bowl (2 qts) - ($15.50)

This is the best mixing bowl you will ever find. Mix, store, reheat and even bake in this bowl. Ever seen those Barbie doll cakes where the cake is the skirt of the doll? This is the bowl they use to make those. It has measurements on the side, a convenient spout for pouring and a great handle. I love that it comes with a lid- if I make a huge batch of cookie dough but only use part of the dough, I can put the entire bowl into the fridge or freezer until I am ready to cook the rest. I have the Small one quart size as well. The smaller one is great for dips.

10. Mini Serving Spatula - ($5.50)

I own two of this product. I received them as gifts, and often will use both in the same night. These feature a small  blade that make them the perfect tool for brownies or cookie bars.

I also love the fact that these products come with warranties - some are lifetime, some are three years - One of my products stopped working correctly after I had owned it for a few years. I simply gave it back to my consultant and she got a new one sent to me.

I could go on and on, talking about the amazing egg separator or the bamboo mixing spoons, but I won't. Come to my party Thursday night to check out the products for yourself!

And if you are too far away to drop by, you can always order these awesome products online. They can be shipped directly to you.

1. Go to

2. Click on SHOP ONLINE at the bottom of the page

3. Under option 1, Type  Cindy Cook

4. Place order.
**Outlet items may not be ordered on a show.

If you order $60 or more in products (Before tax/shipping) you will receive either a free cutting board or an easy to read measuring colander.

I own many of the products and would be happy to let you know how they work, how much I use them, etc.

And again, If you want to stop by the party, comment with your email address so that I can get you the details!

1 comment:

  1. If I didn't feel like my life was busy enough already I would totally want to come to the party after this blog! You make me so anxious to have my own kitchen someday. If we're still near each other when I have a need to buy kitchen supplies, I'll have to come to one of these parties!