Tuesday, September 9

Essential Kitchen Equipment For The Make-Ahead Cook

Everyone knows the benefits of home cooking—tastier, healthier meals and significant savings. But some nights there's just no time to make dinner from scratch. Below are a few essentials of top-performing gear, from freezer bags to casserole
dishes, to help you produce the best make-ahead meals. These tools won't let you down, giving you one less thing to think about in the rush to put dinner on the table.

HIC Porcelain Lasagna Baking Dish
This porcelain baking dish has large handles for secure gripping and straight sides for easy serving. It’s deep enough for lasagna, but not so large that the butter burns when broiling fish. Perfect from freezer, to oven, to dishwasher. Amazon, $29.95.

Le Creuset 7 1/4-Quart Round French Oven
The "gold standard" of Dutch ovens will put gorgeous, golden crust on meat, as well as cook up perfect rice. This pot is a kitchen workhorse that’s heavy, but not excessively so, and perfectly suited to big-batch cooking for make-ahead meals. Amazon, $329.95.

Lodge Color Enamel 6-Quart Dutch Oven
Crafted from enameled cast iron, you can cook anything in this wonder pot; from fluffy white rice to crispy French fries. This is my preferred choice for a dutch oven. Yes, I like it better than the Le Creuset brand.  It cooks almost as well and LOOK at the price! Amazon, $59.95.

All-Clad Stainless 8-Quart Stockpot
This stockpot is ideal for making stock, soups, and stews and for preparing food in large quantities. The pot's wide bottom allows for easy sautĂ©ing of ingredients. It is constructed with bonded stainless steel around an aluminum core for exceptional heating. Its stick-resistant, 18/10 stainless steel interior and easy-to-grip loop handles make this an essential tool for any kitchen. Amazon, $268.00.

Cuisinart 4-Quart Cook Central 3-in-1 Multicooker
A slow cooker is great for busy families since most of the work is done ahead of time, and this "multicooker"—slow cookercan brown, saute and steam food. Chicken, steaks, and ribs turn out perfectly with no scorching or hot spots. This slow cooker has a programmable timer that can be set to cook for up to 24 hours and then automatically switches over to “keep warm." Its lightweight, easy-to-clean, has an unbreakable metal insert with extra-large, comfy handles. This is one of those items EVERY cook needs! Amazon, $99.95.

Wear-Ever Half Size Heavy Duty Sheet Pan 
Perfect cookies, oven fries, and jellyrolls can be cooked  in this "flawless" pan. This pan can't be twisted and doesn't warp. The search is over.  Amazon, $18.99.

CIA Bakeware 12-Inch x 17-Inch Cooling Rack
This rack fits perfectly inside a standard 18- by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet, and offers extra support with a central brace and six feet rather than four. It doesn't warp in the oven or dishwasher. Amazon, $15.95.

Ziploc Double Zipper Freezer Bags with the Smart Zip Seal
Frozen food stays fresh in this bag even after two months. Its band of thicker plastic extending 2 inches below the zipper provides structure that makes for easier filling and offered an extra barrier of protection. Its double zipper helped it remain leakproof and stand up to abuse. Get busy filling your freezer with quick meals! Amazon, $8.99.

Kinetic Go Green GlassLock
A neat, tight, reliable seal, good capacity, and solid performance is what makes this container a standout. Yes it will break if you drop it—unlike its counterpartsbut if you are concerned about microwaving food in plastic storage containers, this is the one to choose. Freezer to microwave to dishwasher. Amazon, $11.99.

Snapware Airtight
This container's simple snap-down lid seals easily. Its flat, rectangular shape encourages quick cooling or heating and stacks neatly, with the lid attaching to the bottom. It's the perfect way to keep foods fresh and organized when it comes to packed lunches. Amazon, $8.95.

Maverick Cold-Chek Digital Refrigerator/Freezer Thermometer
This thermometer is the newest and most innovative electronic thermometer that accurately indicates the instant temperature of your refrigerator and freezer. It also computes and displays the weekly average temperatures for both. You can set weekly average temperature maximums. It's a wonder! Amazon, $19.95.

Glad Cling Wrap Clear Plastic
Don't let your leftovers go to waste.! Glad Cling Wrap clings tight, so your food stays fresh and delicious the second time around. Cling Wrap actually seals to surfaces including plastic, paper, wood, metal, styrofoam and glass, so there's no leaky mess. Amazon, $7.99.

Photos provided by Amazon


  1. I missed the dometic gene somewhere so I am completely hopeless when it comes to things like this. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I couldn't help but turn out this way. The domestic gene goes WAY back in my family. My great-grandmother was one of the first women to attend Texas Tech, she studied home economics!

  2. My husband is kind of a "cookware snob", so he has almost ALL this stuff! I still don't seem to manage to cook ahead though! I'm lucky if I'm not behind, actually... :-)