I love fall. The leaves change colors. The temperatures cool. The whole atmosphere of the season seems ideal for doing more cooking. For me that means stews, chowders, and roasts. If you feel the call of the kitchen this time of the year too, maybe you’ll benefit from some of my favorite (even if sometimes simple) kitchen tools that make fall cooking a breeze.
Here are five cooking tools I consider essential in the fall months:
1. A Crock Pot / Slow-Cooker
Crock pots come in various shapes and sizes, but I’m a big fan of my 6-quart oval variety. Crock pots are seemingly one of fall’s most popular kitchen gadgets, and for good reason. As the air gets colder there’s just something wonderful about coming in from the nippy outdoors to a hot meal waiting for you. Make your favorite stew, chicken, pot roast (or anything else you can stick in a crock pot), and have it cook on low while you’re away at work all day. Come home to a piping hot home-cooked meal. Yum!
2. A Roaster Oven
My roasting oven is actually one of my more recent kitchen gadgets, purchased last fall. Now I don’t know how I could do without it. While I might not use it daily, it’s wonderful for those end-of-the-year get-togethers. It was always a challenge to schedule my turkey in with other cooking that required my oven. Now I can cook the bird in the roaster oven and cook my casseroles, biscuits, and other dishes in the main oven.
3. Stock Pots
One of my signature dishes is my recipe for chicken corn chowder. Stock pots make life much easier when you’re cooking chowders and soups for a cool fall day, letting you brew up as big a batch as you want. No spills. No fuss. Just delicious chowder and homemade soup every time.
4. Casserole Dishes
Fortunately casserole dishes can be used for so much more than casseroles. And mine get an extra workout every fall. Not only do I regularly make green bean casserole (often double batches because I send some home with a brother who adores it), but I also use my various-sized casserole dishes to cook things like scalloped potatoes or even oven-baked pot roast when I don’t want to wait on the crock pot. Another favorite use this time of year is cooking up some nice soft yellow squash and zucchini or even spaghetti squash.
5. A Good Meat Thermometer
This might sound basic, but in my kitchen a meat thermometer is an absolute must in the fall. I don’t worry about meat thermometers so much with beef dishes because I know exactly how I like each to look inside, and I can easily determine if or when they’re done. However, I cook much more poultry in the fall months, especially turkey. And when it comes to poultry perhaps I’m just a wee bit paranoid, but I prefer letting a trustworthy meat thermometer determine doneness over my eyes any day.
Well, those are my must-have kitchen tools in the fall. What are yours? Do you make certain dishes this time of year that require special tools or gadgets? Tell us what your favorite fall meal ideas are and what tools you like to use when preparing them in the comments below.