Top 5 Kitchen Essentials

Today I want to talk about my top 5 essential items in my personal kitchen! 

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You don’t have to have a fancy kitchen or fancy kitchen gadgets to get started cooking. A handful of staples is all you need. Plus as you get familiar with types of dishes you cook you can expand your collection from there.

1. KNIVES

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I use two different knives for most of my cutting. I sprung for some fancy options because I use both of these every. single. day. Sharp knives are essential for any kitchen - the sharper the better. Dull knives can actually be more dangerous than a sharp knife. Again, you don't need to spend a million dollars on knives but one or two nice options should last you a very long time with proper care.  

I have a short option for smaller foods like fruit or smaller veggies. And a larger knife  for things like onions and potatoes.


2. POTS AND PANS

I have invested in some nice pans throughout the years. I love All Clad Stainless steel ones because they have a lifetime warranty and they seem to distribute heat well. You don't have to invest in expensive pans to get started but here are the sizes and types I would recommend as essential. Sizing is key - I am generally only cooking for two people so massive pots and pans are something I don't need right now.  If you have a family you might want to size up or size down according to your needs.

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Small pot 3 quarts - this would be for sauces, pasta, rice, etc. It’s a great size for me when I cook for two. If you were trying to make soup or a big batch of something I would size up.

All clad frying pan with full sides This one is similar to the one I have. This pan is the workhorse of my kitchen. It gets used almost daily. You can make a good meat sauce, saute up some veggies, or even pan fry some steaks then finish them in the oven because this pan is oven safe!  I always try to use stainless steel pans vs. nonstick options. The nonstick coating has so many chemicals and crap in it that ends up in your food! #avoid

Cast Iron skillet: I try not to cook in this all the time because it can increase the iron in your body but if you are deficient you might add cooking in a cast iron pan a couple meals a week! They are fairly inexpensive. I used the Lodge Brand and they have treated me well. Hardest thing about cast iron pans is the maintenance. They are meant to be “seasoned” overt time so you are supposed to not wash the pan with soap. I will make another post about cast iron maintenance in the future. Great things about this type of pan is the even distribution of heat you can also cook with it on a stove top, oven, over the fire, etc.


3. Sheet pans

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I bought this pair from Williams-Sonoma a few years ago. I have a few larger pans if i'm roasting a massive amount of food but these are the perfect pans for day to day use.  


4. Garlic press

Garlic is life. End of story. BUT having your hands smell like garlic all night can be pretty aggressive. This garlic press is a much better option than most of the minced garlic I have seen is stores. Most of those pre-chopped varieties are swimming in some sort of crappy oil like soybean oil and probably has preservatives. You can mince it yourself for pennies and two minutes of your time!


5. Utensils

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There are a handful of utensils I use regularly. I like wood/ bamboo spoons a LOT. Why?  Maybe the way they feel in my hand or that its not plastic in my food? I don't know. I have a handful of ones like these that I have had forever! I use them almost every day. 

Other utensils that I would recommend would be a small pair of tongs.

A decent spatula - I personally have a plastic one and a stainless one. If you do have non stick cookware you will scratch it with the stainless option.

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Here you have it, my essentials. There are plenty of other things that can help with cooking like expensive Vitamix blenders, fancy electric pressure cookers (looking at you instant pot), and Kitchenaid mixers that just sit on your counter top for decoration. Do you really need those things to be a successful cook? No. If you’re just starting grab a couple of nice knives a few pots and pans and go from there, Eventually as you get better at cooking you might add more helpful items to your kitchen.