I am constantly in search for something that will let me explore the world of food without breaking my budget or calorie count.

When it comes to food preparation, the things you cook and bake with, I try to go for inexpensive and high quality. I also look for multitaskers — equipment that I can use in various ways. Finding great multitaskers helps cut down on clutter in the kitchen.

So, here are three things that have made my life in the kitchen easier and healthier.

Leanne Brown’s cookbooks

Leanne Brown is the author of “Good and Cheap,” a cookbook that offers up ways to eat well for $4 a day. The book is free via .pdf on her website, which includes a Spanish version. I also like the fact that this book doesn’t just have recipes. It offers up ways to save money and get more out of your food budget. Suggestions include buying seasonal produce, buying in bulk and using leftovers to make something amazing.

Grill/giddle combo pans

I’m not going to recommend a specific brand, as I’m still testing these out myself. But I love my grill/giddle pan. I can make pancakes or eggs in the morning, wash it off, and then grill meat and veggies in the afternoon or evening. Since I live in a windy area, I’ve relied on my grill/giddle more than my grill.  I have a nonstick pan, which isn’t the best, but it works. If you have any suggestions on good grill/giddle pans, leave a note in the comments. The pans can vary in price. Mine costs about $20.

A good set of knives

Again, prices vary on a decent set of knives. I have a Betty Crocker knife set that I received as a wedding gift. It has lasted almost 20 years of cutting, slicing and sometimes not being used properly. I could go on and on about a good knife set, as my culinary school days come into play. For a beginning person in the kitchen, I’d go for a self-sharpening knife set and knives with a full tang. The tang is a part of the blade’s metal that extends into the handle. A good knife will have the metal extend through the entire handle. This will help prevent accidents in which the blade separates from the handle while you’re cutting something.

A basic knife set should have a paring knife (small), chef’s knife (big, all-purpose), meat knife (looks like a little sword) and bread knife (looks more like a saw with a handle). The rest is up to your preferences.

Do you have some favorite things that you’d like to see on my blog? Please comment or send me an email.