I got a basic set of stainless steel pots and pans from Martha Stewart's KMart collection for my wedding 7 years ago. I'm just starting to cook more seriously and I worry that these pots&pans are not up to par and will affect the quality and taste of the food I prepare. However, I'm also cooking on a crappy apartment electric stove. Maybe it's that, rather than the brand of pans, that's affecting my cooking.
I recently bought a Lodge cast-iron skillet that works great. Other than that, I use a 12-inch skillet, pasta pot, and saucepan the most frequently. I have a dutch oven from TJMaxx somewhere, but I never use it. I tend to slow cook meat more in a crock pot.
If I need new pots&pans, which brands are the best? I've read All-Clad is amazing, but I worry that's out of my budget. Any recommendations? Does using All-Clad make that much of a difference?
ETA: Other than my cast-iron skillet, I don't want to get overly heavy equipment. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and Le Creuset seems like it'd be too heavy for me to use on a daily basis.