1. I have a set of nesting mixing bowls, and I use at least one every time I cook something. Glass makes them easy to clean, and you can microwave them too.
2. I only use wood spoons. They won’t scratch your non-stick cookware, and they just seem to get better as they age.
3. These metal strainers get a lot of use in my kitchen. I use the small one for straining things like lemon juice. The medium one I use with powdered sugar for dusting, and the large one gets used for everything from straining pasta to straining chicken stock.
4. Sharp knives are essential, and the easiest way to keep them sharp is learn how to sharpen them yourself. I prefer the control of a manual sharpener, and this is the one that I use. I usually just use the fine side, but if your knives are really dull, the course side is great to get them back into shape.
5. Nothing bugs me more than crappy, plastic tongs. Do yourself a favor and get a pair of nice metal ones. They don’t have to be expensive, just make sure that they close fully, and have deep enough grips to really hold on to a piece of meat.
6. Another kitchen tool that I am very particular about is a spatula. This one from Ikea is hands down the best one that I’ve used. It is flexible and small enough to be perfect for eggs, but it is strong enough to flip larger foods like a quesadilla. We actually have 2 so we never have to worry about it being dirty.
7. I was gifted this 6 3/4 qt round wide french oven when I got married. You might have seen it in a few pictures. It is large, but I find that I can use it for pretty much anything. I usually just keep it on top of my stove because I use it at least 4 times a week. Le Creuset makes them to last a lifetime, so while expensive, they are high quality.