New to cooking? Cooking your own food allows you to control how it’s prepared and how much seasoning is used. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to create your own flavor combinations! Whether you’re just starting to cook more often, have just moved to a new place or are curious as to what you may be missing, here are our essential tools for every starter kitchen.
Here are a few extra appliances you may consider to help you with meal prep and cooking:
· Toaster oven. We’re not talking about your traditional bread-only toaster oven; rather, we’re into the smaller counter version of your oven. You can use it for broiling, toasting or heating up smaller items without using as much energy as your oven would.
· Slow cooker. If you want to make meals in bulk and not worry about having to make dinner when you get home from work, this is the appliance for you. Slow cookers allow you to “set it and forget it” since most come with timers. They’re capable of making stews, soups, sauces and chili, as well as slow-cooked meat such as chicken, pork or even vegetables in bulk.
· Blender. Ideal for smoothies or even soups, investing in a high-quality blender is a great way to get creative in the kitchen. Plus you can use it to puree vegetables and even herbs.
Here’s what you can fill your cabinets and drawers with (outside of forks, spoons and knives):
· Chef’s knives. You’ll want to have at least a few sharp knives for slicing and dicing. Look for one with a smooth edge and long blade. You can also add a serrated (bread) knife to help with slicing tomatoes or skinning squashes with tough exteriors.
· Cutting board. A cutting board provides a steady, clean surface to prep your food or cut it up for servings later. Look for one with rubberized grips if you want to enforce the steadiness or have a slippery counter. Also, make sure to always use one side for meat and one side for vegetables to avoid cross-contamination.
· Pans/skillets. Cooking pans range in size, material and quality. Ideally, you’ll have a few different sizes of nonstick pans to sauté vegetables and make eggs/omelets. If you’re looking to bake in your skillet, or have a recipe that requires the skillet to go into the oven, invest in a cast-iron skillet as well.
· Spatulas/spoons. Food needs to be tossed, flipped, stirred and mixed, so spatulas and spoons are a must for all of your cooking.
· Colander. Colanders allow you to wash fruits and vegetables, rinse canned items and drain pasta.
· Measuring cups and spoons. Having measuring cups and spoons allows you to portion how much of each seasoning is used, especially in regards to salt and oils. Plus these are required for baking.
· Baking sheets. You will want to have a few different sizes for all your roasting and baking needs.
There are plenty of other tools out there that will enhance your kitchen abilities, but these tools are the perfect place to start your culinary adventures. Keep an eye out for more articles about recipes we love and what kitchen gadget (spiralizer, anyone?) or culinary trend has us running to our kitchen to prepare and enhance in true Jenny Craig fashion.
Edited by Kari - Jenny Craig