Looking for good low-to-midrange cookware
I know that the best pots and pans cost hundreds of dollars each but we can't possibly afford them so I don't need to know about them... we've been using a set of non-stick pans from Target and I liked them (nicely heavyweight) but they haven't lasted that well - the teflon coatings are very nicked and beatup, and I broke the lid of the large saucepan! DH has promised me a nice set of pans to replace them... If I was to go to TJ Max or Homewares to buy them, what brands/items would you suggest looking for? I'm thinking of stainless-steel rather than non-stick - it lasts better...
PS. This apartment has a VERY SMALL KITCHEN! I don't have room for a hundred pots and pans - I only have room for one larger saucepan and two or three smaller ones... the stainlesssteel steamer has to live in the closet in the livingroom because there isn't anywhere to put it!
I am getting rid of worn out Calphalon and Magpro, they were very expensive and even though I only used wooden and silicone spoons and forks in them the anodization wore off and in many cases the metal has pitted. I was searching on Amazon for new stainless yesterday and decided to forgo ordering any until I had a chance to go to T J Maxx this afternoon. The 2 qt. Cuisinart all stainless that Amazon had for $49.95 I picked up for $24.99 at TJM. My first test drive of it tonight was rice. It seemed to cook evenly and with no hot spots. I'll be watching for some other sizes and also to replace my 3 qt. Calphalon saute pan that warped.
I have a number of different types of cookwear, from a cast iron skillet (purchased on ebay) to heavy stainless steel saucepans with sandwiched cores to inexpensive costco nonstick to old enameled iron, but my go-to cooking pot is an aluminum caldero I bought in a 99cent store 25 yrs ago. It has a solid matching cover and is just perfect for sautes stews, pilafs etc.
The calderos come in various sizes and can be found in chinese and indian groceries as well as hispanic stores. Mine is probably about $12 in across, enough to cook full recipes or a big pot of pilaf. Their best point -in addition to thick aluminum construction and cheapness is the rounded sides. I highly recommend this multiuse, durable item which probably wont cost more than $20.
Have you ever actually had this experience? Ive been seeing this statement made as long as Ive been cooking, but have never had this problem with my caldero. I make wine based braises, use tomatoes, etc.
For that matter, my Dad has always cooked chilli and his other awful (to my taste) tomato concoctions (slum gullion) in his aluminum dutch oven to no ill effect, and they have a set of aluminum saucepans that theyve been using for everything for 60 years.
No sign of any reaction to acid in either case. (for that matter, my Italian juice squeezer is cast aluminum and is doesnt react noticeably when I squeeze lemons (unlike my marble countertops) Id say this issue (if true) is totally overblown.
My only problem with aluminum cookware is that it cant go in the dishwasher because the strong detergent turns it black/dulls it. Otherwise, it works just fine.
I feel your pain - our kitchen is tiny! I can't live without my anodized wok, as we cook a lot of Asian food. I think you also need a stock/pasta pot for large soups/stews, and a non-stick saute pan. I love my Calphalon omelette pan and my All Clad saucepan.
Amazon has a 10 piece set of Cuisinart's Chef's stainless cookware for only $109.88. It has a good mix of pieces. Good reviews on it there. It's a beautiful looking set that should last a lifetime. If you add something else to bring it to $125 or more they give you $25 off, and there's free shipping on it too. You also get a free $50 Mini Mate chopper with it as a send in rebate. That's the lowest price I have seen that set. If you want it hurry, as Amazon changes prices very quickly!
Do a search for Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless 10-Piece Cookware Set
Just recently at Tuesday Morning I snagged a 2-quart saucepan and a 3.5-quart sauté pan, both Cuisinart stainless with lids, for $23 and $30, respectively. I haven't even tried them out yet, but if they perform half as well as the similar Cuisinart pans I have used almost daily for over 25 years now, I will be delighted. I never use my old Calphalon anymore, and, like Candy, will look for an opportunity to get rid of it.