1. A jar of delectable Fly By Jing chili crisp because just a drizzle of this incredible stuff will elevate almost any soup, frozen pizza, rotisserie chicken, fried egg sandwich, or whatever almost-incredible-but-needs-a-little-something food you have in front of you to heavenly heights.
2. A regular old cookie sheet, so you can embrace the gospel of ~sheet pan dinners~: where you toss some meat and veggies together with oil and seasonings or sauce, and simply bake for a bit.
3. A weekly meal planner because if you plan just a little bit in advance, you can make sure you A) only have to go to the grocery store ONCE and B) everything you're going to eat for the entire week won't be too much effort while still tasting incredibly delicious.
It's made with a magnet so you can stick it to the fridge. Half of it lists the days of the week so you can plan, and the other half's a grocery list, so you know everything you need to buy. And the sheets are perforated so you can easily tear off the list when it's time to leave!
Promising review: "I’ve been starting to get into meal prepping and this planner really helps! I like being able to look up recipes on my phone, then write down whatever ingredients I still need on the grocery list section of this planner. Being magnetic is cool because you can hang it on the fridge. I love how the grocery list section can be ripped off so you can take it to the store, but the daily meal plans remain on the fridge so you can stay organized. This is a very simple idea, but it’s cute and helps keep me organized and motivated to plan out my meals." —Samantha M.
Get it from Amazon for $10.95.
4. A veggie chopper to slice and dice onions, celery, and even tomatoes in a matter of seconds. One of the keys to tasty dinners is fresh ingredients, and this'll significantly cut the amount of time and effort you have to put in to prep them.
5. Or a food processor, which was literally invented to chop, shred, and slice all kinds of foods with the ~power of electricity~.
6. A jar of za'atar because this Middle Eastern spice blend (packed with thyme, toasted sesame seeds, and sumac) will take your favorite snack — hummus — to the next level. Switching up the spices you add to all your basic, easy-to-make foods can make something boring taste brand new with like, zero effort!
Promising review: "This za'atar is the best quality I have found. I've also found that the balance of sumac and thyme to be just right. This instantly spices up my boring meal-prep food and I put it on my chicken, meats, salads, yogurt, or just in olive oil — basically it makes everything taste so much better. I highly recommend it!" —TC
Get it from Amazon for $10.99+ (available in two sizes).
7. A variety pack of microwaveable pre-seasoned beans you'll find dozens of different ways to enjoy, because they're so darn easy: add 'em to soups and stews, enlist them as an instant side, spread them on tacos, spoon them over a bowl of rice...you pretty much can't go wrong here!
8. A microwave steamer that can cook a full meal of fish and veggies in five minutes or less — or just a perfectly al dente side of pre-chopped broccoli — so you can spend your valuable time relaxing on the couch instead of making a mess in the kitchen.
9. A compact air fryer to turn veggies, meats, and all kinds of frozen foods (fries, chicken wings, tater tots, various appetizers like those TGIF Potato Skins) and more into a fast-food-worthy meal in no time — and all while using less oil and less of your time.
10. And a colorful, easy-to-read magnetized air fryer cooking cheat sheet so you never have to hunt down your phone and google for the hundredth time exactly long you should be cooking your frozen popcorn shrimp.
Willa Flare is a California-based Etsy shop that specializes in these bright and fun cooking guides along with other home products.
Promising review: "I love it! I am not a cooker so this kind of help is greatly appreciated. The product is of great quality and was shipped fast. Thanks!" —Francisca
Get it from Willa Flare on Etsy for $12.99 (this item ships for free!).
11. A knife sharpener so simple and effective that you won't want to put it away until every single blade in your drawer is as fiercely honed as when you very first bought it. Especially once you realize it's 1,000 times easier to slice and dice when each knife's at the peak of its power.
12. A pair of scissors — they make prepping fresh herbs incredibly fast, so you'll actually use all of the ones you buy.
13. A sushi roll making kit that includes all the fool-proof tools you need to make it quick and easy to not-cook your favorite raw (or vegetarian!) rolls right at home. Pair it with a rice cooker or the microwave steamer above, and you won't even have to turn on the stove.
14. A bottle of Mike's Hot Honey, because the sweet and spicy medley lends its deliciousness to all kinds of different foods — like pizza, eggs, breads, toast, pork, chicken, cheese, fruit salad, beans, s'mores, grilled cheese, salad dressings, roasted veggies, turkey, and tea — with jut a simple drizzle.
Promising review: "This is now a staple for my kitchen. How I cooked without it before, I'll never know. Makes the best vinaigrette ever and quick pan sauces for pork; plus, it adds unexpected zip to dozens of dishes. Does it come in gallons? Have given it as hostess gifts several times, and everyone gets hooked." —Martha Ronemus
Get it from Amazon for $13.49.
Check out BuzzFeed's review of Mike's Hot Honey for more info!
15. The "Fasta Pasta," aka a microwave cooker because with it, preparing a batch of your favorite noodles goes MUCH easier and faster — you don't even have to wait for the water to boil.
16. An indoor grill that lets you make flavorful chicken breasts, burgers, steaks, veggies, and more all without leaving your kitchen *or* heating up your oven.
17. A three-sectioned nonstick skillet so you can make a full meal for just yourself while only dirtying one pan.
18. A combo pack (one original, one spicy) of the TikTok-beloved Dan-O's seasoning that just might make you believe you're a restaurant-trained chef when you swap it into your regular rotation. The blend of herbs, citrus, onion, and garlic packs a punch on fish, beef, eggs, and veg *without* adding a bunch of salt to the mix.
Promising review: "The best seasoning I've ever had. I literally put it on everything. I love to cook and I put this on just about anything I grill or make on the stove too. Amazing stuff and the guy who created this seems like a hell of a dude. Has a fun YouTube channel and his personality is real solid. He's passionate about his product and I bought some and it did not disappoint." —Kevin L. Kemper
Get a pack of two (one original, one spicy) from Amazon for $13.99.
Dan-O's seasoning is a small biz with over 1.5 million followers on TikTok thanks to the mouthwatering food videos they started posting during the pandemic.
19. A 3-in-1 avocado prep tool so you can halve, pit, and slice one in less time than it takes to say "scrum-diddly-umptious." Plop the slices on a piece of toast, add some salt and red pepper flakes, and call it lunch!
20. And the ~Guac-Lock~, which squeezes all the air out of your guacamole so you don't have to scrape off a brown-ish layer when you go to eat the leftovers. You may only be able to eat so much of your favorite garlicky avocado concoction in one night, but now you have an excuse to make a little extra to enjoy through the week! (Plus there's nothing my lazy heart loves more than leftovers.)
21. A rapid egg cooker that can effortlessly hard boil, soft boil, poach, and scramble too, meaning you'll almost always have SOME sort of tasty protein you can add to all your favorite dishes. Add some veggies, and it'll even steam you an omelet, which IMO is a meal in and of itself.
22. A produce saver because it does exactly what it says: keeps fruit and veggies fresh longer (up to two weeks), so you actually end up eating more of your food instead of tossing it. Which, besides being good for the planet, means you won't have to go to the grocery store quite so often.
23. A pack of two silicone microwave covers that also multitask as a trivet, potholder, food cover, and jar opener. If you're regularly microwaving leftovers or just a frozen meal from the grocery store, having something to help you pick up the hot bowl could make life just that little bit easier.
24. A bottle of gluten-free, Paleo- and keto-friendly avocado hot sauce because when you slather a little bit of this over your corn, baked chicken, rice bowl, egg and chicken salads, shrimp, potatoes, or whatever you've got cooking, it transforms your dinner into an impressively flavor-packed experience.
Really if you love it enough, there probably isn't anything you ~can't~ put it on.
Promising review: "Flavorful and with just the right amount of kick. I lay this stuff on my meal prep foods to give it an extra oomph." —Lazara Lando
Get it from Amazon for $14.99 (available in three flavors).
25. A breakfast sandwich maker — it'll basically make fast food for you in mere minutes... and you don't even have to leave your house. Need some melty cheese over a soft egg and some Canadian bacon on a lazy Saturday? This beauty's got you covered.
26. A bag of powdered cheddar for both DIY "box" mac 'n' cheese that doesn't limit you to the amount of cheese that comes in that little packet and for sprinkling on whatever you deem needs a little cheesiness, like popcorn, potatoes, scrambled eggs, or steamed veggies.
27. The cult-favorite Truff truffle-infused hot sauce, which will impart that decadent umami truffle flavor you love on the fries from that one fancy restaurant *plus* a savory heat to whatever your heart desires it on. Oprah loves it — it was one of her Favorite Things in 2020 — and Hannah, a BuzzFeed food writer whose opinions on food I'd trust with every meal for the rest of my life, loves it too, so you know you can't go wrong with this.
Here's Hannah Loewentheil's review of this heaven-sent concoction:
"There's one ingredient that makes even my most average home cooking taste amazing, and it's this truffle-infused hot sauce. I first heard about Truff on a list of Oprah's favorite things, and I knew she would never lead me astray. So I quickly realized I needed Truff in my own kitchen.
There are three kids of Truff hot sauces: the classic black truffle sauce, a 'hotter' sauce, and the crown jewel, the creme de la creme, a white truffle hot sauce. Look, the white truffle–infused hot sauce quite literally tastes like heaven, but IMO, the classic black truffle hot sauce is the most versatile and a staple in my kitchen. And while at first $20+ seemed like an absurd price to pay for hot sauce, this stuff is worth the price tag. I mean...truffles. And here's the thing: I've tried plenty of truffle-infused hot sauces, olive oils, and what-nots in the past, but they often taste overpowering or low-quality. Truff hot sauces are the perfect balance of decadent truffle, heat, spice, and a tiny bit of sweetness. Now I'm completely and most likely irrevocably hooked to this liquid gold. I slather it on pretty much everything savory from eggs and tacos to sandwiches and fried rice. If you're looking for a way to add flavor to your home cooking or turn basic meals into pure extravagance, you should probably invest in a bottle of Truff."
Get Truff from Amazon: the black truffle hot sauce for $14.78, the "hotter" sauce for $14.99, and the white truffle hot sauce for $31.99.