Kitchen essentials everyone needs
Whether you have been a home cook for years, or you’ve just moved into a new space and need to stock up your dream kitchen, it’s always smart to have an arsenal of reliable ingredients and tools at hand to whip up a tasty meal in a moment’s notice.
When your kitchen is well stocked with the basics, you will be impressed with how many delicious meals you can easily prepare with the addition of a few fresh seasonal ingredients.
Basic kitchen tools
If you’re just getting started with preparing and cooking meals at home, you will just need a few simple kitchen tools. It’s best to start with the basics and gradually build your supplies over time to save you both money and precious counter space. Keep a running list of items that you may want to invest in to build out your kitchen tool kit. If you only need a food processor or slow cooker once or twice a year, then it may not be worth investing in them up front.
Here are the basic tools you should always have on hand from the beginning:
- Wooden spoons for mixing and stirring.
- Mixing bowls for combining ingredients, marinating proteins, tossing salads, etc.
- A large pot for soups, stews, and chilis.
- A frying pan for everything from vegetable stir fry to your morning bacon and eggs.
- A few good knives to make your chopping and slicing a breeze.
- Oil and vinegar. There are many varieties of cooking oils and vinegar, but at the bare minimum, good olive oil and balsamic vinegar are a must! These two ingredients have a variety of uses independently, but using them together also creates a delicious and light homemade salad dressing or drizzle for a fresh pasta dish.
- An arsenal of your favorite spices. Aside from the classic salt and pepper; red pepper flakes, cumin, and an Italian seasoning blend are a great place to begin your spice collection.
- Canned beans. From minestrone soup and chili to fresh salads or tacos, a variety of beans can be turned into a plethora of healthy and filling dishes.
- Canned tomatoes. Different types of canned tomatoes and tomato pastes are also extremely versatile ingredients to keep on hand. These can be tossed with fresh veggies and baked into a ratatouille, added to a hearty chili dish, or used to whip up a homemade pasta sauce.
- Baking items such as flour, baking soda, sugar. Even if you aren’t necessarily a baker, these ingredients will always be handy to have around, and you may be surprised at how often you reach for them!
- Dried grains such as pasta, quinoa or rice. These grains make great bases for a variety of entrees and side dishes, plus they are easy to cook up and add some bulk to your meals. Think, casseroles, risottos, or stuffed peppers.
- Boullion. Whether you prefer chicken, vegetable, or beef, it’s always a good idea to keep bouillon cubes or paste on hand so that you will be able to whip up a vat of soup in a moments notice. Soups are a great way to “clear out the refrigerator” and use up any fresh produce before it hits its expiration date.
- Onion. Both versatile and tasty, adding onion to recipes adds an easy burst of flavor that is compatible across most cuisines. Add raw chopped onion to your salads, sandwiches or burgers. Sautee onions to start your stir fry, soups, or curries. The possibilities are literally endless.
- Garlic. Another extremely flavorful and versatile ingredient to have on hand is garlic. Mince it, chop it, or roast it whole, it’s sure to take your culinary creations to the next level. You can also buy minced garlic that can be kept in the fridge for several months.
- Leafy green. Always have a leafy green on hand like spinach or kale. They can be eaten raw, blended into smoothies, and added to soups for an extra kick of nutrients. These are always great as a quick and easy side dish too, sauteed with a bit of olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper and you’ve got a delicious addition to any meal.
- A few of your favorite seasonal fruits and vegetables. Shop your local farmer’s markets and keep a stash of your favorite fruits and vegetables on hand and you will always have ingredients to whip up a tasty meal. Fresh produce can have a short shelf life, so be sure to make a big batch of veggie soup and freeze portions for a rainy day. Fruit is also perfect to freeze so you always have quick smoothie ingredients in a time crunch.
Take it a step further
If you’ve already got your kitchen basics down, take it to the next level and plant your own herb garden. Fresh herbs in the convenience of your own backyard are an impressive and easy way to make your meals feel extra special. Cilantro, basil, and dill grow great together, and can even thrive when planted in the same pot, making them a perfect choice for a beginners herb garden.
What are your favorite kitchen items that you always have on hand? Let us know in the comments.
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