Blog Series – In the Kitchen

Last night I was trying to figure out what to write about.  What would be helpful to my readers (I do have readers, right?)?  Then I realized when I first started on my journey to be healthier, I looked up articles on what it means to eat clean, what tools would I need, how to prepare a meal plan, what to shop for, how to prepare the foods, etc.  So, I will be doing a series of In the Kitchen.  One of my first blogs was What does Clean Eating Mean?.  I will pick up from there.

You can buy all the ingredients but if you don’t have the right tools, it will be hard to prepare them.  Here is my list of essentials.

Needed Kitchen Tools
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I have learned the hard way over the years (I’m in my mid 40’s so lots of trial and error) to buy the best you can afford.  It will safe you time and headaches not to mention $$ in the long run.  This is especially true with pots & pans and knives.  This is my list of bare basics you will need.

KNIVES – 

Chef Knife:

It is the most used in my kitchen.  Generally 8″ long with a thicker blade.  If you have a block of knives, it is the larger one.  In the picture above it is the one on the right.

Paring Knife:

Second most used knife in my house.  The knife to the far left in the above picture.  It is a smaller, lighter weight knife used to slice fruits, veggies and other foods into small sizes.  You will also use this one to do more detailed cuts (think shapes for your smaller kids).

Serrated Knife:

This one has a jagged blade.  Generally use this knife to cut ingredients that have a hard exterior or a soft interior like crusty bread or tomatoes.

 

POTS & PANS – 

Small Sauce Pot:

2-3 quart size.  This is a versatile pot.  Use this for single servings, side dishes, sauces.  This is my most used pot.

Larger Pot:

6-8 quart size.  If you only bought one, I would say go larger.  You can always cook 6 quarts in an 8 quart pot, but not the other way around.   This is for stock, soups, stews, etc.

Skillet:

10-12″ skillet.  Depending on how many you are cooking for.  I prefer one with a higher side so I can make full meals in it versus just scrambling eggs or making pancakes which don’t require muck of a side.   ** Make sure your skillet is safe for high-heat cooking.  Not all non-stick coatings are created equal.  Some surfaces will cook unevenly or even peal the coating when used at higher heats.

SAFETY NOTES: Another great reason for purchasing high-heat resistance pots and pans is so they can be used on the stove AND in the oven.  Make sure there are no plastic parts.  If you have been using pots/pans with plastic handles, beware that you will need to use oven mitts to touch or hold the handles even when on the stove.  It will only take one time of grabbing the pot/pan out of the oven before you remember next time.

Make sure the coating on your pots/pans is not one that will flake off.  It is a serious health risk and you should replace them.  Read more about the safety here.  It is recommended to use ceramic nonstick if you can’t afford cast iron.

 

OTHER NEEDED ITEMS:  

I won’t spend a lot of time explaining the rest of the items because there is no right or wrong on them.

  • Dry Measuring cups – both dry (include 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 3/4 and 1 cup)
  • Liquid Measuring cups – one that can do tablespoons and anther that will measure 1/4 cup to 4 cups
  • Glass Mixing bowls of at least 3 sizes
  • Measuring spoons 1/8 tsp, 1/4 tsp, 1/2 tsp, 3/4 tsp, 1/2 Tbsp, 3/4 Tbsp and 1 Tbsp (I don’t care for the all-in-one moveable devices because you can mess up very easily.)
  • Strainer or colander – metal or mesh
  • Peeler
  • Mixing Spoons  – a soft material or wood so it won’t scratch your non-stick surfaces
  • Rubber Spatula & an Offset Spatula
  • Mixer with variable speeds

NICE ITEMS:

These are definitely not necessary, but sure nice to have.

  • Garlic Press
  • Immersion Blender for soups, mashed potatoes and thick sauces
  • Slow Cooker or Crock Pot

There is not one store that I would say is the best place to buy essential kitchen items.  Look around for great deals.  Buy what you can afford.  Target can take care of your basic spoons and cups, but if you can afford pots and pans from a restaurant supply store or William Sonoma – go for it! The investment will be well worth it.  Stay tuned for part two of the In the Kitchen series.  Next topic will be Food Safety Tips.

 

 

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