Need a few last minute gift ideas? Here are a few of my top present picks for home cooks in 2021, including my FAVORITE little food chopper!
We’re just over a week away for Christmas: Is your shopping done? If not (or if you need suggestions for the future), here are five great gift ideas for home cooks this December of 2021. I own and personally recommend all of these items, which will help make mealtime so much easier in 2022! Pick up a new kitchen favorite for the home cook in your life… or, for yourself.
Five great gift ideas for home cooks, 2021
Let’s start out with my favorite little workhorse of an item! This Ninja Express food chopper currently runs just $19.99 at Target, and is worth every. single. penny. What do I use this for? Oh, let me count the ways:
- Chopping peppers & onions
- Making salad dressing
- Making pico de gallo, salsas, and dips
- As a mini food processor
- Making nut butters
You can use the Ninja Express to puree baby food, make pet food, and so much more: This handy little food chopper has five star reviews for a reason. The blades are super sharp, it’s a huge time saver, and it’s easy to clean.
Next up: Do you know all of the things you can make in a 12″ cast iron skillet? These give such a beautiful sear and flavor to your food, and go from stovetop to oven beautifully (just realize that the handle gets hot, so use a towel, oven mitt, or silicone handle protector when cooking on the stove!). Use it to:
- Make frittatas, such as this smoked salmon & avocado frittata
- Sear meat, such as in this skillet chicken tenders with artichoke salsa recipe
- Create beautifully browned fajitas, such as these 25 minute veggie fajitas
- Enjoy delicious one pan meals, such as this smoked sausage & tortellini skillet
… and so much more! All sorts of cast iron is useful in any kitchen, but the 12″ skillet will be the most versatile: Start there.
And, do be sure to season cast iron occasionally to keep it in good condition and for best results.
Gift idea the third: A big old slow cooker. I’m partial to my 7 quart manual Crock-Pot, which is the perfect size for everything from vegetarian slow cooker chili, to my kids’ perennial favorite 4 ingredient slow cooker salsa chicken. Great for working families, a large slow cooker lets you throw ingredients into the Crock-Pot in the morning, and come home to a finished home-cooked meal.
In addition to the slow cooker, any home kitchen could also benefit from an electric pressure cooker. (And yes, these do also have a slow cooker function: I find however that this does not work as well as my dedicated old device.) Don’t feel compelled to purchase the brand name; Instant Pot recipes work just as well in other electric pressure cookers, and those from Best Buy and elsewhere are also well-reviewed. My favorite things to make in mine?
The Instant Pot or equivalent is an especially good choice for busy home cooks who work outside the home and want a quicker way to get dinner on the table when they get in the door.
How many times have you or a loved one scraped your knuckles raw on a traditional box grater? I’m eternally grateful for this little cheese grater with lid from IKEA; it’s saved me many a time. You can pick up an equivalent model on Amazon, complete with storage lid. Use it for everything from grating or shredded cheese, zucchini, and potatoes, to zesting citrus. Save the fingers!
These are just a few kitchen gift ideas to get you started, but why not invest in one or more of these to help make home cooked meals a bit easier in the New Year?