September 6, 2014

Kitchen Essentials

Before I get started with some actual recipes, I thought it might be helpful to create a list of kitchen essentials; all the tools you'll need to create delicious meals at home. Now I understand that most of you are in college or are otherwise on a budget, so spending a ton of money on kitchen gadgets is not always an option. You don't need to get particularly high quality tools if you don't want to, just remember that you're going to get what you pay for, and splurging on some nicer utensils will make your life a lot easier in the long run.

The List:

  1. 4-quart saucepan - $20
  2. Large non-stick pan - $20
  3. 6-8 inch kitchen knife - $9
  4. Plastic cutting board - $10
  5. Rubber tongs - $5
  6. Plastic spatula - $4
  7. Rubber spatula - $4
  8. Plastic spoon - $5
  9. Nonstick sheet pan - $10
  10. Large colander - $3
  11. Large mixing bowl - $8
  12. Blender/Food processor - $20
(Prices based on cheap options on Amazon)

**I apologize for iphone quality photos

It's super important to have some sort of saucepan in your kitchen. You can use these to boil water, make sauces, soups, beans, pasta, you name it! The sauce pan on the left is my large 10-quart saucepan, and I love it! Although one of these pots will cost you about $70, it is so worth the time I save cooking. I'm a big believer in "cook once, eat all week" cooking, so I often make large batches of soup and store it in containers that I can pop in the microwave after I get back from class. If you have the time to cook every couple of days, don't worry about getting a big one and just stick with a smaller 4-quart saucepan like the one on the right.

Next is a large non-stick pan. The non-stick part is really important. If you're not using non-stick, then a lot of the things that you cook are going to.. well.. stick. In the end you're going to be frustrated, your food is going to be a mess, and your pan is going to be impossibly hard to clean. In conclusion, if you're not using non-stick, you're gonna have a bad time.  

A large knife is pretty essential. If you're trying to cut large amounts of vegetables with a steak knife, you're going to get frustrated pretty quickly. You don't need anything too fancy. The knife below was only about 9 dollars from Kroger, and it gets the job done. A plastic cutting board is also a must. cutting on glass is going to ruin your knife, and I wouldn't suggest wood because whatever you're chopping is going to seep into it and it can be very hard to clean properly.

 These are the most basic utensils that you'll need. Tongs make your life so much easier, whether you're roasting veggies or cooking chicken, a good pair of tongs will help you flip with ease. Go with some rubber ones though (not like the ones pictured) so that you can use them with your non-stick pans. The others are self explanatory. Spoon for stirring, plastic spatula for flipping, and rubber spatula for getting the last bits of brownie batter out of your mixing bowl!

A large non-stick sheet pan is going to help when roasting vegetables, baking cookies, or any other cooking that involves the oven!

Unless you want to scoop all of the pasta out of your pot individually, you're going to want one of these! They also help drain the grease from ground beef or bacon.

Mixing bowls are great for mixing - obviously. Whether its salad, pasta, or pancakes, a large mixing bowl will save you tons of time. 

And lastly, a blender. This is optional, but I would strongly recommend getting one. I use mine all the time, mainly for healthy breakfast smoothies, but also for pasta sauces and cauliflower. There are tons of uses for this thing, and you can definitely find a cheap one if you don't want to spend a lot. There are also individual serving blenders that are cute and easy to use.

These are all tools that I use almost every week. Could you tell my kitchen has an orange and yellow color scheme? There are tons of other tools that I use in my kitchen, but if you're trying to keep things simple, then these are the tools you're going to need. Chances are, you already have most of these in your kitchen. Now, don't go out and buy all of these things at once. Wait until you need them so you can be sure that you're actually going to use them!

What are your favorite cooking utensils?

Happy cooking!

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