Kitchen Basics: Getting Started

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If you are just starting to cook, or are moving out on your own, chances are, you don’t have much in terms of cooking equipment. Here is what I recommend for you to get, in the beginning. As times goes by, you will, of course, get more kitchen gadgets. But here are 5 that I recommend starting out with:

1.  Chopping board: This is something very basic, as you can’t chop anything without having a chopping board. It is very versatile, as you can chop pretty much anything on it – onions, potatoes, tomatoes, meat, herbs, etc.

Some people prefer to get separate chopping boards for meat, dairy items, vegetables, etc. Others get differently sized chopping boards, and use them depending on the volume of things they need to chop. Start out with one, and see what else you need.

I personally have 2 chopping boards.  A wooden one that is my baking board, I only use to roll out cookies, pie crusts, pizza crust and bread.  I never wash this one as I don’t want to introduce excess moisture and chance mold growing.  A good scrape when done cleans it off just fine.

My other board is a white polyethylene board that I find is great for veggies and meats and cleans up beautifully.

2. A knife: Again, this is very basic, but you will not be able to chop anything without a knife. A good, sharp knife goes a long way to help you prepare food. You can go to some stores, and hold the knives in your hand, so that you know which one you are comfortable with.

A good knife will last you years.  This is one of those purchases that “Cheaper is not better”, it won’t save you money in the long run.  Get as good a knife as you can afford.  Sometimes even the sets are good to start with.  

Personally I bought a set at Costco and love it.  It has lasted me quite a few years. My husband makes sure and sharpens it periodically so it stays nice and sharp.  I am not some fancy chef so this set suited me just fine.  You can find knifes ranging in price from relatively inexpensive (don’t go there…just don’t) to extremely expensive (great if your Iron Chef).


3. A big stock pot: You need a large stock pot for pretty much anything – from boiling pastas to making soups to stewing to pretty much anything else. Some pots come with colander inserts, which makes it easier to cook pasta. Or, you may get a colander separately, and use that.

Personally I have a 20 qt. stainless steel large stock pot with lid.  Perfect for pasta, my soups and stews.  It could also double as a water bath canner in a pinch. Look for a good one, but it doesn’t need to cost you an arm or a leg.


4. A saute pan: I love saute pans, and use them all the time. Again, they are very versatile, and I recommend getting ones without wooden handles, so that you can put the saute pan in the oven as well.

Use the saute pan for preparing stir fries, sauteing meat and fish, cooking vegetables and much, much more.  The possabilites are virtually endless.

Personally I use several, however they all have one thing in common…they are all stainless steel.  I prefer them to non-stick.  They cook more evenly and clean up really isn’t that big of a deal.  I have 3 in a variety of sizes.  I would suggest starting with a medium size one that would work well for a large range of dishes.


 5. Roasting Pan: These are perfect for preparing things in the oven. From roast to roasted chicken to roasted vegetables, a roasting pan can help you cook your favorite dishes easier and with better results.  I prefer an enamal roasting pan.  I use if for turkey every year, all my roast chickens and beef roasts as well.  Food turns out amazingly juicy and tender using a roasting pan.


I hope this short list will help alleviate any fears about getting started in your kitchen.  Start by getting a few things that I recommended, and add to your collection of kitchen equipment as time goes by, little by little.  Before you know it you will have more gadgets and tools than you know what to do with.

 What first kitchen gadget or equipment item is on your shopping list?

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Howdy there, I'm Kat! I'm a southern gal who loves being a wife, mother, blogger, writer and a follower of Jesus Christ. I adore coffee, chocolate, sweet tea, essential oils, meows, guns, drag racing and TEXAS!
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