Monday, July 7, 2008

When I moved into my studio apartment, no microwave was to be found. Three months later, I still haven’t gotten around to buying one and I’ve realized something astounding. Not having a microwave has helped me save money. How? I’m less tempted to buy convenience foods (why buy Lean Cuisine when I can’t cook it?) and have become more familiar with cooking and utilizing the tools readily available to me. I am by no means a rockstar in the kitchen but that's all changing (hellooo grilled chicken of last week). What tools are a must (stove, refrigerator and oven are givens) for beginning any culinary adventure?

I bought a 3 QT Crockpot for $16.00. This is an excellent tool for making sauces, stews and chili. Great time saver too, put your ingredients in the pot before you leave for work, come home to a delicious meal.

Knives come in handy when you need to…er…well cut things. Forget the deluxe 32 piece knife set. Unnecessary for someone just starting out (plus that’s just 32 different ways you can cut yourself), get a pairing knife and a chef’s knife and you’ll have everything you need. You can find perfectly suitable knives at Target or a discount retailer like TJ Maxx.

Toaster Oven
I use this to reheat leftovers, bake potatoes and toast bread. 3 in 1 use? Aces!

Cutting Board

Because cutting on the counters= very bad

This allows you to grate veggies, cheese, fruit (did someone say lemon zest?) and even breadcrumbs. Preferably not all together…

Two Baking Pans and a Baking Sheet
Perfect for cooking chicken, baking desserts and making casseroles. You don’t need a plethora of baking pans, two sized will suffice. A 9x9 for your smaller side dishes and a larger 9x13 will certainly cover your bases.

Two Pots and a Skillet
I have two pots, a large one and a medium one. I use these to reheat leftovers, cook vegetables and make small amounts of gravy, sauce and the like. The skillet is excellent for eggs, breakfast items and cooking your meat. That’s it, I haven’t yet found a need for one of those cooking pot sets that comes with 10 different sizes of pots. One day I will, and then I will ask for it for Christmas ;)

Spice Rack
Preferably loaded with your basic spices. I enjoy the spice array: basil, oregano, cinnamon, garlic powder, onion powder and nutmeg.


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