4 Apr

Top Chef Taste, Chipotle Budget

By Libby Esterle

Senior Account Executive

Awhile ago, I posted a blog re: my deep affection for finding a deal and where to shop on a budget for frugal-friendly furniture and accessories.  Turns out, you can use that same mind set in your kitchen! Given that I love to cook almost as much as I love finding a good deal, I’ve also made it my mission to find the best deals on must-have kitchen items for those of us who spend more time at the stove than on the (inexpensive-but-still high-quality-because-I-got-it-on-sale) couch.

So, following is a list of kitchen items I use almost every day that and couldn’t live without and where you can find them inexpensively.

WalMart’s Tramontina Dutch oven ($35)– This little gem was brought to my attention by my best friend during a visit last summer. Her husband loves to cook and after researching several different Dutch ovens and reading countless reviews, she settled on this one as a gift for him. Turns out the Tramontina Dutch oven is every bit as good as its $150.00+ Le Creuset cousin. Bargain!

Pampered Chef Dripless Olive Oil Dispenser ($23) and Large Stoneware Bar Pan ($34)- Ok, so I realize that the words “Pampered Chef” and “frugal” rarely belong in the same sentence but I can honestly justify  my purchases of these items as great “you get what you pay for” examples.  After a friend recommended the large bar pan to me as something she uses “for almost everything” and after searching for an olive oil dispenser that wouldn’t leak as the seal started to wear down, I was sold.  I truly DO use these items almost every day as they perform as promised and have even purchased several of the dispensers as gifts. That’s value.

Sam’s Club 11 piece Tri-Ply Clad Stainless Steel Cookware Set ($179)- Unfortunately, Sam’s does not carry this exact set anymore, but it is still a great example of how you can save a great deal of money by not paying for “the name” (as my parents would say).  I received my set for Christmas after it was recommended to my husband by a professional chef who uses his set daily for heavy-duty catering. At a fraction of the cost of other, brand name sets that start at $400 and go up from there (take a seat, All-Clad), this was truly a steal.  And I’m sure other similar sets are out there if you keep your eyes open.

Thrift store and Half-Price Books Cookbooks ($3-$10)- I love cookbooks. And I like finding ones with attractive covers to display in my $8 plate/frame holder from Hobby Lobby (actual cookbook stands start around $30. Highway robbery, I tell you!).  I knew I was on the right track when I scored a copy of Southern Living’s 30 Years of Our Best Recipes (retail price $23 when new) for a mere $3 at a thrift store. The best part? All proceeds benefit a charity. Talk about a win/win!

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