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Bells and Whistles of Pots and Pans, my top 5

Having a great selection of tools makes all the difference in any task you undertake, cooking is no exception. Here’s my list of the best kitchen tools that will also make the food you cook healthier. With 2021 around the corner, this could be a good New Year resolution towards a healthier lifestyle.

This year I’ve replaced most of my nonstick pans with cast iron and stainless steel. I’ve been using enameled cast iron Dutch oven and enameled stoneware baking dishes for a whole, but most of my daily favorite pans were nonstick. Apparently this is not very healthy. I can’t speak much to the details on why, but there’s a lot written about it by experts. I made it simpler, got rid of most of plastic containers and nonstick (teflon type) pans and replaced with cast iron / stainless steel. I did, however, discover that not all (even expensive brands) healthy cookware is made equal and ALL of them require time and patience to get used to.

I went a little overboard and have more cookware than I need, but this also helped me find the pans that I actually love. So let’s look at the list:

1. Le Creusset cast iron frying pan – either 10″ or 12″ based on your needs. This one definitely took a while to get used to, but we finally understand each other. Not only does it need to be well seasoned, but I’ve found that it needs to heat up on slightly higher heat than medium. It’s either this or my stove top settings are just lower than average. Everything used to stick at start, but now it’s my absolute favorite pan for almost everything. I use it for frying and oven roasting. One downside is weight. Definitely gives a good workout to arm muscles. Not dishwasher friendly.

2. Enameled stoneware baking dishes. I have several Le Creusset rectangular ones in different sizes and also a round one. These are really great for gratins, baking rolls, veggies, mac and cheese, even just warming up things in the oven. They are also pretty to go from oven to table.

3. Le Creusset stainless steel frying pan. I got this one in biggest size too, as I fry potatoes, as well as beef patties often and want to have it all covered in one go. Though, I love the 2 piece set option on Amazon. Had I found this before, I probably would have gone with this option. Same as the cast iron one above, I think this needs slightly higher than medium heat for best results. Downside – doesn’t fry evenly on all sides, might be because of the large size of the pan, but I’m finding ways around that. Washes well in the dishwasher.

4. J.A. Henckels 3 quart sauté pan. I got the whole set at and am very happy with all the items, but this particular pan shape and size (one in the top left of the photo) has been amazing. Perfect for all kinds of curries, rice, any protein or veggies in sauce and dishwasher friendly too.

5. I also have a large round enameled cast iron Dutch oven. If I had to choose one thing to invest in, this Le Creusset Dutch oven would be it. So versatile and useful. You can often find promotional offers on these. Can go from stovetop to oven, great for soups, stews, bread baking, anything really. Again, downside as with any cast iron, it’s very heavy and I don’t wash it in the dishwasher.

Next thing on my list for 2021 is to replace baking trays. I’m thinking of the enamel coated steel. Probably the Falcon brand, I love how they look, but still need to do bit more research on this.

Happy holidays and happy shopping!

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