The holidays are upon us, and if you are like me, you struggle to find the perfect gift for every person on your list. Good gift giving requires the perfect balance of thoughtfulness, creativity and practicality and can have you pondering on the perfect present for days. If you’ve got any kitchen-loving, dairy-eating friends and family, check out this list of 12 #DairyAmazing must-haves:
For the Coffee Junkie: Milk Frother
Though all milk frothers are a must for any coffee junkie, this one is our team’s fave. It’s only $10, and it’s battery operated – which means taking it on the road is that much easier. Using real cow’s milk gets me the best foam every time for lattes and cappuccinos! Combine it with some gourmet coffee beans for a great gift.
For the DIY-er: Cheesecloth
A pack of cheesecloths costs about $5. I love to make homemade ricotta cheese with mine; it’s wonderfully simple with just a few ingredients. The hardest part is waiting for the ricotta to drain as it sits in the cloth, but the end product is well worth it. Whether savory or sweet, I just love adding fresh ricotta to my favorite dishes, including this Grilled Chicken With Herbed Ricotta recipe. To make the cheesecloth extra gifty, add some other accessories or ingredients (like cheese knives, a cheese board or herbs and kosher salt).
For the Busy Bee: Instant Pot
Meal prep is a challenge at my house, but you know what makes it a breeze: an Instant Pot! I make multiple meals on the weekend so there’s less stress on weeknights and dinnertime is a breeze. The Instant Pot also makes more than we need, and I can freeze the leftovers for weekends when I don’t get extra prep time.
For the Parent of Picky Kids: Spiralizer
My kiddo is a picky eater (so is his momma J). One of my favorite kitchen gadgets is a spiralizer; it cuts vegetables into fun shapes, making it easier to incorporate veggies into dishes, and my little guy loves to help me use it in the kitchen. A couple of my favorite dishes include Zucchini Noodle Shrimp Scampi (which uses butter and lots of fresh Parmesan cheese) and Enchilada Sweet Potato Skillet with melty cheese topped with yogurt. As you can see from these dairy-friendly recipes, cheese can help children (and adults) eat more fruits, veggies and whole grains.
For the Proud Perfectionist: Slotted Spatula
Most cooks buy this tool after experiencing the frustration of flipping a flimsy piece of fish. It’s designed for delicate items, and you’ll find that you’re able to gracefully slip it under salmon filets, blueberry pancakes and that perfect piece of lasagna. This spatula makes it easy to transfer from pan to plate or baking sheet to rack. Strength, flexibility and reduced surface area help lift foods without them falling apart. Use it to flip your perfect grilled cheese filled with protein-packed goodness. Gift it with a whole set of cooking utensils or maybe with a pan of homemade brownies.
For the Swanky Chef: The Whisk
The reason I love a whisk is because it makes cooking more fun, especially when you’re cooking with dairy. Whisks allow you to seamlessly blend ingredients or add air for volume. Seek out the right variety for the right task – or buy a whole set as a gift for a friend. Next time you plan a dinner party, create a cheese soufflé packed with protein, calcium and vitamin D – which is a dish that is delicious, good for you and quite impressive. End the night with some homemade whipped cream and people are sure to call you the master chef.
For the Person Who Hates Cleaning Their Blender: Immersion Blender
I use the immersion blender every single morning to whip up my smoothie! It’s easier to clean and more portable. It’s great for smoothies and blending up veggies in spaghetti sauce so my son will eat them. For immersion blender smoothies, I let frozen strawberries or mixed berries thaw just a little before blending, and I always add flavored Greek yogurt and a splash of milk. This useful appliance is also great for creating creamy soups, like this Pumpkin Soup With Chipotle-Roasted Sunflower Seeds.
For the Salad Addict: Oil Infuser/Sprayer
An oil infuser allows you to infuse cooking oils with herbs and spices, and it sprays a really fine mist that gives you more control over how much oil you use. It’s really awesome for salads. Need some #DairyAmazing inspiration? Spray some herb infused oil over a caprese salad. Arrange the infuser in a basket with some artisanal cooking oils and herbs for a great gift.
For the Grill Master Who’s Stuck Inside: Electric Griddle
If it is Saturday morning, you can bet my husband will be in the kitchen using our electric griddle. My family loves a big breakfast, and we have found that this small portable grill can usually cover all the bases of our breakfast menu. Sizzle up a package of bacon in one batch and then cook up some eggs over easy or try my husband’s favorite dish, fluffy pancakes. After a busy day, I have been known to whip up a cheddar cheese omelet. If you don’t have an outdoor grill, it can cook hamburgers and steaks, too!
For the Cheese Lover: Cheese Grater
Fresh grated cheese is one of my simple pleasures in life. It might be finely grated Romano cheese on my favorite Italian dishes or the larger shreds of colby and cheddar on Mexican cuisine, like on these easy enchiladas. Whatever the dish, chances are I’m topping it with some sort of cheese from my handy cheese grater. If I grate more than I need, I just store the excess cheese in a zip-lock bag, and it’s ready for my next meal! There are all kinds of cool options to make grating easier, and you can pair one with a garlic press or a pizza wheel for the perfect present.
For the Delicate Chef: Double Boiler
A double boiler is on my wish list this year! The double boiler is vital when you’re working with ingredients that don’t respond well to direct heat, like when melting chocolate or cooking sauces. It sounds complex to use, but it’s so easy. I use a small saucepan and add a metal bowl over the top. Then, I fill the saucepan with some water, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl when the heat is on. For a gift, buy a double broiler set, some fancy chocolate and pretzels for a sweet treat!
For the Dip Lover: Mini Food Processor
Great for dips, sauces and spreads in a snap. Make a Greek yogurt dressing by blending Greek yogurt, dill, chives, garlic and lemon juice. You can thin it with milk as needed and serve with veggie sticks, serve over grilled chicken or slathered on your whole wheat wrap. Find more dairy delicious dips, sauces and spreads here.
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