Getting started: Kitchen gadgets
Whether you are one of my coaching clients, or trying to keto on your own, there are some products that I would definitely recommend getting your hands on before you begin. I will break them into two blog post categories: kitchen gadgets and items to stock your pantry. I find it is much easier to cook for myself at home because I know exactly what is going into my meals and can make sure they are ketofriendly, it is better for my budget, and I have a ten month old baby! I am not going to get into specifics of any recipes (yet), but here are my most used items that you might want, too!
First up: Kitchen gadgets
The most used product in my kitchen is probably my Kitchen Aid mixer. If I could, I would have 2 or 3 of these! I use this daily, and I find myself popping one recipe in the oven, washing the bowl, and getting something else going immediately afterwards. I can't even list the names of the recipes I use this product for...
Next, you're definitely going to want a cast iron pan. Most of my dinner recipes start off by cooking something on the stove top and then finishing it in the oven. This is a great time-saver when you're multitasking recipes because you can start one thing, put it in the oven, and move right on to the next thing. As an alternative, you could always start something in a regular frying pan, and then move it to a baking dish to put in the oven, but that means more dishes. Yuck!
If you already have a cast iron pan, or plan to get one, you're also going to need salt and a chainmail scrubber. I got my cast iron pan at Bed Bath and Beyond, and they had the chainmail scrubbers right there in the same section. This is a HUGE help when cleaning a cast iron pan, because you never want to use dish soap in your pan. Cast iron is pretty porous, which is good because it will get a good "seasoning" in it from all the previous meals you've made, but the downside is that you cannot use detergent or else it will get inside the pores of the pan and your future meals will taste like soap.
To "season" your cast iron pan, preheat your oven to 400 degrees, coat the pan with vegetable oil or shortening, place upside down on the oven rack, and bake for about an hour. Place a baking sheet on one of the lower racks to catch any drips. Allow to cool completely in the oven and it is ready for use! This will act as a non-stick coating in your pan, but I still use olive oil or butter in the bottom of the pan each time I cook with it. Make sure you season your pan before the first use, or if you start to notice the shiny coating wearing down from scrubbing.
To clean your cast iron pan, I use a thin layer of salt to soak up any excess grease, and then scrape this into the garbage can. I use my chainmail scrubber with hot water and scrape until it is clean! I rinse it with hot water, dry it as much as I can with a dishtowel, and place it on the stove top on high heat. You want to evaporate all the water off the pan because any moisture left over will rust the iron. Once all the water is gone, I re-coat the inside of the pan with a thin layer of vegetable oil and leave it on high heat for a couple of minutes (heating the oil will prevent it from going rancid in the pan). Once it is cool, I use a paper towel to take up any excess oil and I leave my pan right on the stove top ready for its next use!
Next up, my spiralizer, or as one of my clients calls it, a "Zoodler" (I like this!) This gadget basically takes any vegetable and turns them into noodles. I incorporate zoodles into my weekly menu, and couldn't keep this keto lifestyle sustainable without tricking myself into thinking that I am eating noodles! Its a great way to bulk up any of your meals!
You may notice that they also sell "spiralized" zucchini at the grocery store, but in my opinion, it is jacked up in price just because someone pre-cut it for you. Considering how often I use zoodles, it is way more cost effective for me to buy the tool and make my own each week.
Cooking tip with zoodles: you want to lay out your zoodles in thin layers, sprinkle with salt, and place a paper towel between each layer. Let them sit for about ten minutes. This will allow your zoodles to "sweat" and will prevent them from becoming mushy when they are cooked! Also, your zoodles will "cook down" a bit, not quite as drastic as what happens with spinach, but similar.
There are other things that I use weekly such as glass baking dishes, baking sheets, parchment paper, or a brush for doing the egg wash on top of my keto bagels, but I think most of you guys would have those items in your kitchen. If not, add those to the list!
Stay tuned for tips on stocking your pantry!
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