Holiday Gift Guide: 5 Useful Gifts Under $30

Every week this holiday season, we'll be posting our favorite food-centric gift ideas. This week, we're featuring Useful Kitchen Tools Under $30. Be sure to check back for guides on Gifts for Kids Who Cook, Last Minute Homemade Gifts and even Useless Gifts Nobody Really Wants.

Here are 5 Useful Items That Every Kitchen Needs (and I know this because I don't have/really need half of them):

See also: - Top 5 Seasonal Booze Gifts - Top 5 Gifts for Wine Lovers - Top 5 Gifts for the Baker - 5 Gifts for the Coffee Snob - Keeping It Kosher: Top 5 Hanukkah Gifts

5. Immersion Blender Sharper Image, $29.99, Bed Bath & Beyond

The immersion blender is easily one of my favorite kitchen tools. Forget the blender, this is the best way to quickly puree soups and emulsify sauces. And you can do it right in the pot. Less cleanup = best holiday present ever. Trust me; your loved ones will thank you.

4. Chop-to-Pot Cutting Boards Joseph Joseph Folding Cutting Boards, $16, Sur la table

I can never have enough cutting boards in my kitchen. These non-slip rubber boards are foldable, allowing for easy chop-to-pot cooking. Plus they come in cute colors. Buy one or two and add in this adorable pairing knife to complete the gift.

3. Cast-Iron Pan Lodge 10.25 Inch Cast Iron Skillet, $16.19, Target

Surprisingly enough, not everybody has a cast-iron skillet in their collection. Buy one at your local hardware store or pick up a pre-seasoned one at Target. Think they may already have one? Try a grill-pan version (perfect for steaks and brick chicken).

Unlike the mini-waffle pan that you bought your dad last year, this pan will actually be put to use.

2. Mandolin or Julienne Slicer Kyocera Adjustable Mandoline, $24.95, Sur la table OXO Julienne Slicer, $14.95, William Sonoma

In my opinion, the best gifts are ones that you'd really want but probably wouldn't have bought yourself. Bonus points for any tool that makes your life in the kitchen easier. And these slicers do just that. Your aunt may love cooking, but that doesn't mean she enjoys 40 minutes of slicing paper-thin zucchini for her famous tart.

1. Mini Food Processor Food Network 3-Cup Mini Food Processor & Chopper, $29.99 on sale, Kohl's

Those giant food processors are great and all, but sometimes/pretty-much-everytime you're not cooking for 15 to 20 people, this mini food processor is the perfect solution. Convenient, easy to use and small enough to store in your cabinets.

Every kitchen should have one. I know this because my hands still hurt from last Hanukkah's marathon potato-shredding session. The latkes were a hit, but seriously, someone get me this...

Happy Shopping!

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