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Abs, pie, and nachos are made in the kitchen, but do you know what else is made in a kitchen? An exhausted mom.
Is it just me or does anyone else feel like they spend ALL their time in the kitchen? It’s like dishes are the new laundry this year. There’s never an end in sight. And the minute I get done cooking one thing, someone else is hungry or my sink is full again and I’m back at it. The minute I walk into my kitchen I can hear Taylor Swift singing, “no one likes a mad woman.. what a shame she went mad… you made her like that..”
Too much? I’m getting tired just thinking about it.
So.. I’m sharing 15 must have kitchen essentials that you need to make your life and your meal prep (and clean-up) just a little bit easier!
This is the exact air fryer that I have an use every single day, and it’s not an exaggeration to say I usually use our air fryer more than once per day; I love it that much. You can make pretty much anything in one of these; crispy chicken nuggets, mozzarella sticks, chicken thighs, chicken breast, salmon, tilapia, chopped potatoes, veggies, brussels sprouts, and more.
Non-stick pans are a must. Bonus when they’re deep and come with a lid! This one checks all those boxes. Perfect for stir-fry, cooking proteins, one-pot meals, and more. No one has time to be scrubbing pans for endless hours or letting them soak in the sink only to NOT become unstick and then have to reach your hand into cold, dirty dish water. No thanks.
I love my Ninja Express! Okay, maybe not quite as much as I love my air fryer, but it’s pretty close. I think I was gifted this one year for Christmas, and I use it all the time. It’s a great way to fine chop veggies, Oreo cookies (hey..I make a great no-bake Oreo bomb for the holidays), and other things. This is definitely something you need in your life to save you time and trouble when you have a lot of mixing/chopping that needs to be done.
I also love using it when I’m going to make green pancakes. AKA – taking my pancake mix and adding spinach to it and having it go through a whirl in my Ninja. You can’t taste the spinach, but you’ve added a whole layer of “healthy” to your pancakes.
Raise your hand if you don’t yet have an Insta Pot. Well that’s about to change! Not only is this bad boy affordable, but you’ll be able to cook entire meals in the matter of minutes. I’ve been so in love with my air fryer that I kind of thought I didn’t need one of these but I’m realizing that was the wrong mindset 😉 so I’ve shifted and can’t wait for this to arrive!
Run, don’t walk, to your nearest phone or laptop to order this Crock Pot because it’s on major sale. Talk about making meal prep super easy. You can throw your protein in a crock pot and have it all cooked for the week, or even make soups, dips, chili, and more. My favorite ever is the bbq pulled pork I make from time to time in ours!
Now that you have a slow cooker, you need a cook book to go with it, right?! You all know by now I’m a fan of the Whole30, and whether you’re doing the Whole30 or not, this Whole30 Slow Cooker cook book will have some amazing recipes centered around whole foods that you can easily cook, eat, and enjoy!
I’m old-fashioned when it comes to my coffee. I don’t need anything fancy; nothing that only pours one cup or makes a latte or espresso. I just want to set a timer and wake up to the smell of a freshly brewed pot of coffee in the morning. I love my Mr. Coffee. He never lets me down.
Clean-up/Storage Kitchen Essentials
Meal prep containers help make life SO MUCH easier when you’re tracking macros or meal prepping for the week. I like to get all my meals ready to go, then slap a post-it note on top of the container that tells me which day/what time that meal should be eaten. These also work great as little lunch containers you can throw in your kiddo’s lunch box.
Someday, in another life, I’ll have a clean, organized pantry AT ALL TIMES. One that doesn’t instantly fill with crumbs and open cracker boxes the minute I organize it. But until then, I can dream and browse Amazon and the Container Store salivating over all these organized pantries. These storage containers are a steal, and they’ll make your counter space and/or pantry shelves look beautiful.
Nothing drives me crazier than when I can’t find something when I need it. We spent the longest time keeping our kitchen cleaners in like three different spots. The dish soap under the sink, the sponges in a drawer, the mop in a closet, the spray in the pantry, the garbage bags in the pantry.. it was a disaster. I love the idea of this little storage shelf you can fit in your pantry or under your sink to keep everything in one spot for easy clean up and easier storage.
There’s no shame in buying dish soap simply because Joanna Gaines created it. end of story. Moving along.
Everyone needs kitchen towels, so why not get some customized with your name or initials on them? These make great decorations to hang in your kitchen, use as tea towels, or to give someone as a gift.
If your kitchen allows for it, and you need a way to store dishes or even decorations, I love the look of these farmhouse floating shelves with wall anchors. Plus anytime you can buy something from Etsy and support a small business I feel you’re doing something good!
Kitchen wall decor is a must. I’m a sucker for hanging sayings on walls (Chad hates it), and I think this would be the cutest addition to your kitchen. If you’re not into dancing in your kitchen (I mean, do you hate puppies, too?) then there are tons of other amazing options to choose from.
If you’re tracking your macros or counting calories, a food scale will make your life so much easier. In addition, they’re a really great tool to help you learn true serving sizes. You may think you have a good idea of how much you’re eating, but it can be eye opening. I use my food scale to help track all my meals and food when I’m consistently in a macro-tracking phase of my eating.
Natasha Funderburk is a wife, #boymom, NASM-Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Consultant, and ACE-Behavior Change Specialist. When not watching her son play baseball, she can be found on various writing platforms, coaching her clients to live their best lives, drinking all the coffee, and conducting living-room dance parties.