I am sure this will be the theme of many posts. I collect kitchen gadgets the way rich, poorly endowed men collect loud, gas guzzling phallic substitutes. I am incredibly easy to buy presents for, given that my kitchen preferences are, shall we say, well publicized ;).
One tool I turn to again and again is my meat mallet. I do have a heavy work schedule, and I refuse to compromise on cooking for myself every night, so a practical girl learns a few short cuts. Pounding pieces of protein flat and popping them under a broiler or slapping them in a hot frying pan is a great way to expedite a meal.
Now, everyone knows you can pound out a chicken breast. But one of my favourite tricks is butterflying a whole pork tenderloin, pounding it into a nice wide slab, rubbing the sucker down with seasonings and oil, and giving in a nice quick sear.
Throw a little guacamole on top (because in my world, guacamole goes with everything) and steamed veggies (steam 'em in the microwave while you're cooking the pork, and douse with parmesan) and you have a lovely dinner you can throw together in 15 minutes PLUS leftovers for breakfast/lunch the next day. And it all starts with that nice little mallet.