If someone were to ask what non-traditional tool gets the most use in my kitchen, it would hands-down be my immersion blender. This unexpected appliance is the solution to many of my kitchen needs - not to mention it is far less bulky, and much easier, to clean than a blender or food processor!

An inexpensive addition to your long list of must-haves, an immersion blender can aid in the following cooking needs:
-whipping up the most perfect salad dressing (see recipe below)
-blending your simmering soup to creamy perfection
-chopping nuts (perfect for baking or a quick salad topping)
-simplifying your morning smoothie routine

My favorite immersion blender is the Cuisinart, which sells for under $40 here.

If you're looking for an easy immersion blender recipe to start out with, try this incredibly simple - yet super refreshing - Lemon-Basil salad dressing:

Place 10 leaves of basil, 1/4 cup olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt and/or pepper in a mason jar or large measuring cup. Blend with your immersion blender and say goodbye to store-bought salad dressing!

Kitchen tools - both complicated and simple - can make the biggest difference when it comes to preparing your meals. What are your favorites?