One of my favorite tools in the kitchen is the microplane. They come in a couple of different forms, and whatever variety you use, they are great to have. Microplanes can grate ginger, and whole nutmeg, zest lemons, limes and oranges, and mince garlic. Once you grasp how to use this little gem to grate fresh nutmeg, you’ll never buy ground nutmeg again.

My next favorite handy tool is a mini food processor, or mini food chopper. I laughed at it when I first saw it. This handy Food Chopper Plus by Black & Decker makes quick work of mincing garlic, chopping cilantro, mincing onions, or any other chopping job too small for the regular sized food processor.

The first chopper I used like this one came from former roommates, and though I berated the tiny little work horse, once I tried it, I fell in love. When the roommates moved out I mourned the loss of this time saver.

 mini chopperThis little gem runs a good $25.00 on the retail market. I live in an area with an abundance of Goodwill thrift stores. We went last weekend on 50% off day, and I found one, in good shape. I tested it out and I’m in heaven. No more hand breaking knife mincing with garlic and cilantro. After a full day of chopping at work, sometimes I need the time savers at home.

My next favorite tool is the rolling pin. I don’t get to use it much these days, with the partner being gluten free, but on the same Goodwill trip,  found a very nice, well-weighted rollingpinrolling pin. I hope to use it often when I finally tackle cooking gluten free vegan desserts and pies.

 As a chef, you would think that I want to spend lots of money on my tools. But with perfectly good equipment, discarded by those who no longer need them, why spend the extra bucks? Shop smart when looking for kitchen tools. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get good quality machines.  Read reviews on products, and then see if any of the thrift stores in your area have these items. It can go a long way in saving both time and money.