Four Kitchen Gadgets Every Home Needs

Kitchen gadgets
We demand a lot from our kitchen gadgets on a daily basis. (Photo by Jathan Fink, Jadeworks Entertainment)

Whether you need to cook for yourself or a crowd, you really need the right tools. Sure, you can get away with using the same gadgets your grandmother did, but these days there are better solutions on the market that simplify the cooking process and shorten your prep time. Here are some of our favorites!

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Cast Iron Care

cast iron skillet

Properly season, clean and maintain cast iron pans and they will last a lifetime.

Whether you love braising meats, frying eggs, grilling steaks or baking bread, cast iron pans are a cook’s best friend. Long lasting, inexpensive and easy to maintain, this cookware can be handed down from one generation to the next if properly seasoned and cared for. Read more of this post

Red Chile Honey

Red Chile Honey

Great as a glaze or as an addition to your favorite salsa, our Red Chile Honey makes everything a little extra special.

Ever since we were wed, we’ve had a love affair with the American Southwest. We’ve taken more trips to New Mexico than we care to count, and whether we’re in the little town of Jemez Springs at a rustic bath house and its neighboring cowboy bar, stepping into the past at a Mexican saloon in Albuquerque’s Old Town square, or exploring the wonders of magical Sante Fe and dining at one of the city’s culinary treasures like Pasqual’s, Geronimo or The Shed, we’re always discovering new flavors we want to introduce to our kitchen at home. This recipe for Red Chile Honey is one of the many flavors we’ve brought back with us. We love how simple it is to prepare. Add it to homemade salsas or use it as a glaze for pork, poultry or even roasted vegetables like squash to give your favorite meal something extra special and a kiss of sweet, smoky flavor.

PREP: 2 minutes
COOK: 1 minute


  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon red chile powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground garlic salt


  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan on low heat and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

TIPS: If using as a glaze, baste meat or vegetables during the last few minutes of cooking.

YIELDS: 1 cup

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Broth, Stock and Barrel – Part II: Beef Stock

Beef Stock

A long cook time, big beef bones and roasted veggies combine to create a smoky, rich stock and a marvelous flavor base for classic dishes.

The best things in life don’t come about very quickly, and that is true of our homemade beef stock too. Using big beef bones and roasted veggies, this thick, dark stock simmers for several hours to build a smoky, rich flavor base for your favorite dishes, including our Salisbury Steak.

PREP: 19 minutes
COOK: 7 hours


  • 5 pounds beef bones
  • 2 large carrots, quartered
  • 3 large onions, quartered
  • 2 celery ribs, quartered
  • 4 quarts cold water, divided
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 8 fresh parsley sprigs
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed


  1. Place first 4 ingredients in a large roasting pan; roast, uncovered, at 500°F for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until well browned, turning occasionally.
  2. Transfer bones and vegetables to a stockpot. Add 2 cups water to roasting pan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to loosen bits that cling to bottom of pan; pour into stockpot. Add remaining 3 1/2 quarts water and tomato paste to stockpot. Tie parsley, thyme, and remaining ingredients in a bundle. Add to stockpot.
  3. Bring to a simmer; simmer, partially covered, 6 hours. Skim fat and foam off top of stock after first 10 minutes of simmering.
  4. Line a large wire-mesh strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth; place over a large bowl. Use a ladle to strain stock. Discard solids. (Using a ladle and avoiding sediment in bottom of pot prevents cloudiness.) Cool stock slightly.
  5. Cover and chill stock; discard solidified fat from top of stock.

TIPS: Store stock in a tightly covered container in refrigerator up to 3 days, or freeze up to 3 months.

YIELDS: 8 cups

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Broth, Stock & Barrel—Part One

Adding cracked pepper to a pot of broth

Preparing homemade broth or stock makes a heart healthy alternative to store-bought brands.

Broth or stock is the base for many of our favorite recipes. Both create an additional layer of flavor, adding complexity to soups, gravies, sauces and more. The addition of a bit of stock or broth can even make a can of store-bought veggies taste like you slaved over them at the stove.

But some of you have asked, “What’s the difference between broth and stock? Aren’t they the same thing?” In this two-part post, we’ll discuss how these things vary from one another, and will also give you easy to follow directions so you can create your own that is low in calories, carbs, cholesterol and fat.

Broth is used around the globe and is one of the simplest soups to make. Using everyday ingredients like poultry, vegetables and herbs deepens the flavor of this thin, clear liquid. How does broth vary from stock? Simply put, broth utilizes meat (in our case, a whole chicken is used) while stock is made from bones (we’ll use beef bones) rather than meat. Meat adds flavor while bones contribute body.

Although both broth and stock may contain similar ingredients (aside from the bones or meat, of course), broth cooks differently. It simmers less than stock and has a lighter, fresher flavor. Yet neither is difficult to prepare. In fact, with a little planning, there’s no reason you should ever have to buy canned stock or broth again!

Once you make your broth and strain out the fat and ingredients, it is easy to store. You can do so in a variety of ways, whether you choose to store it in plastic containers, ice-cube trays or in resealable plastic bags. Both broth and stock can be kept refrigerated for up to three days or frozen for up to three months. The only exception to this rule would be if you chose to create fish stock, which can only be stored for two months in the freezer before it goes bad.

Now that you know broth basics, let’s get to cookin’!

Chicken Broth

Homemade chicken broth can be stored in a variety of containers and frozen for up to three months!

Chicken Broth

PREP: 10 minutes
COOK: 2 hours
  • 6-pound hen or 6-pounds chicken pieces, washed and patted dry
  • 2 1/2 quarts water
  • 3 celery ribs with leaves, quartered
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours.
  2. Pour broth through a strainer, discarding vegetables and herbs. Set chicken aside and allow to cool. Cover broth and chill thoroughly. Skim and discard solidified fat from top of broth. Shred chicken, discard bones, and store meat in a plastic container or resealable bag for future use. (This cooked meat is great in soup, casseroles, and even chicken salad!)
  3. Store broth in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or freeze up to 3 months. Thaw and use as directed in recipes that call for chicken broth.

MONEY SAVING TIP: Before you prepare your next batch of chicken broth, reserve parts of the chicken you may normally discard when cooking (like backs, necks, etc.) in a plastic bag in the freezer. Then, when you want to make broth, you may have enough loose parts to prepare it without having to buy another chicken!

YIELDS: 10 cups

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment.