Image by: Williams-Sonoma
Getting a homemade dinner on the table on a busy weeknight is easier said than done—but these seven tools and gadgets will help make prepping, cooking and cleaning up a breeze.
From time-saving electronic tools to simple products that cut down on messes, these must-have kitchen items will ensure your weeknight cooking sessions are as stress-free as possible.
Being organized and prepping your ingredients before you start cooking is half the battle. Start by having a variety of small bowls on-hand so you can easily chop and measure what you need for any recipe. This set of four microwave and dishwasher-safe bowls will help you do just that.
Mini latte bowls, Anthropologie, US$12.
Compact and easy to use, an immersion blender makes a myriad of kitchen tasks speedy. From puréeing soups and sauces to making homemade dressing and smoothies, you’ll use this hand blender on a regular basis.
Kitchen Aid Ice Blue 2-Speed Hand Blender, Crate & Barrel, $83, on sale for $55
Small tools can sometimes have a big impact, and this one sure fits the bill. A spoon rest will allow you to minimize mess while you’re cooking by giving you an easy (and pretty!) spot to place a saucy spoon in between stirs.
Gisela Spoon Rest, Anthropologie, US$12
Place silicone liners on your baking sheet in place of parchment paper. Its non-stick surface gives baked treats the perfect texture, without having to wrestle with cutting parchment paper to size. These made-in-France mats are easy to clean and roll up for fast storage.
Silpat Silicone Cookie Sheet Liners, Williams-Sonoma, $32–39
This pretty print makes a useful addition to any kitchen space. It will give you all the kitchen conversions you need at a glance so you don’t have to find all your answers via Google.
Kitchen Conversion Chart, WeJustLikePrints via Etsy $10
One of the handiest tools in the kitchen, this rasp will allow you to finely grate garlic, spices, chocolate and citrus zest in a matter of seconds.
Microplane Rasp Grater, Williams-Sonoma, $22
A cookie scoop simplifies baking by ensuring that all of your cookies, muffins and cupcakes are evenly portioned out, every time! Available in two different sizes, it helps make homemade treats that much more bakery-worthy.
OXO Cookie Scoops, Williams-Sonoma, $19–20
Purchase pre-made pizza dough to make this appetizer even easier!
Be the host with the most by making these delicious appetizers at your next party.
1 Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2 On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pizza dough into a thin 12" circle.
3 Transfer the dough to a rimmed baking sheet, pulling and stretching with your hands to maintain the circular shape.
4 Top the dough with the squash slices. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the dough is crisp and lightly browned.
5 Meanwhile, heat the honey and chili slices in a small saucepan over medium heat until the honey is thickened and syrupy, about 2 minutes.
6 Slice the flatbread into squares. Drizzle each with a bit of the spiced honey; serve warm.
Prep & cook time: 45 minutes
You'll love this cream pie with its layer of creamy caramel.
Recipe developer and food stylist Tanya Eng makes over an after-dinner favourite with a layer of creamy caramel.
To take a favourite recipe and update it with a twist is not a novel concept. But when said twist involves our 2015 go-to ingredient, dulce de leche, and a delicious standby like banana cream pie, the culinary world feels dazzlingly, delightfully new again. It seems our taste buds have been waiting forever for this scrumptious flavour infusion, and now that we’ve had it, we’re never letting it go.
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a high-powered blender or food processor, pulse the banana chips to a fine crumb. Combine with the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter in a medium bowl.
2 Scrape the mixture into a 9" round springform pan.
3 Using a flat-bottomed glass or spoon, gently and firmly work the crumb mixture into a well-packed even layer. Bake for 10 minutes, until the crust is light golden brown; set aside to cool.
4 In a small saucepan, make a custard by whisking together the milk, 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks and vanilla extract. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and just begins to boil. Remove from the heat and transfer the custard to a shallow heatproof bowl and cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until cooled.
5 To assemble the pie, spread the dulce de leche in an even layer over the graham cracker crumb crust; peel and slice 2 of the bananas and arrange the slices over the dulce de leche. Spread the chilled custard over the banana slices.
6 Using an electric mixer, beat the whipping cream with the icing sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the custard; chill the pie until ready to serve.
7 Just before serving, peel and slice the remaining 3 bananas on the diagonal and arrange the slices on a baking sheet; sprinkle liberally with the remaining 1/3 cup sugar. Caramelize the bananas by using a brulée torch or broiling them in the oven. Arrange the banana slices over the pie and serve immediately.
Makes: 10 servings.
5 easy Easter egg projects
Golden Easter eggs
These glittery Easter eggs take minutes to put together and are sure to add a little pizzazz to your tabletop decor. Simply cover each egg with a thin layer of all-purpose glue and then place in a sealable plastic bag filled with gold glitter. Close the bag and shake. Gently remove the egg, tap off excess and leave to set.
For another metallic look, cover a few eggs using patterned gold tape.