The Ten Best Kitchen Tools Under $25

12/17/2010 01:56 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Does anybody really cook anymore? I mean from scratch. Opening a box and adding water to something does not, in my book, define cooking. Most people I know are so pressed for time that the easiest way to cook something for dinner is to stop at the nearest grocery store on the way home and pick up a ready, set, heat meal. Night after night that adds up to very expensive.

That is why it amazes me that people do not take advantage of the many cooking gadgets and tools are out there for the "everyday cook." Here is a list of ten that I would not be without. Each one makes it easier for me to actually cook at home.

Salad Spinner. If you have no time to do anything else in the kitchen, a salad spinner will help you make healthy green salads in minutes by taking all that excess water out of lettuce leaves and leave you with crunchy greens that salad dressing can adhere to.

Microplane zester. For all your grating needs from garlic to citrus zests to cheese and chocolate, this tool is a time saver.

Pepper mill. Just a bit of fresh ground pepper makes so many dishes that much more flavorful. Try steeping coarse ground pepper in warm olive oil as a simple sauce for spaghetti. Just add cheese. Delicious and quick.

Flexible spatula. Make and turn quick frittatas in a matter of minutes.

Instant read thermometer. Gauge when things are cooked.

Wire whisk. For beating eggs and smoothing out quick sauces.

Vegetable peeler. Not just for scraping vegetables such as carrots and potatoes but for making thin slices of vegetables for casseroles and stir fry.

Steamer basket. For quick and healthy way to cook and reheat vegetables.

Perforated non-stick pizza pan. Even if you buy pizza and bring it home, it tends to be soggy. Reheat it on a perforated pan to crisp it. Better still, get a crisp crust pizza by making your own.

Cast iron pan. Fry in it, use it to cook fish on the grill, even make a pizza, and yes, you can find them for under $25.