Quick Recipes and Easy

Cooking Supplies for Stocking a Basic Kitchen

All kitchens need certain basics to be functional. Functional is a relative term that means different things to different people. To me it just means making sure I have everything on hand to make my kitchen a nice place to be and my cooking experiences as enjoyable as possible. For home cooking, while certain basics are necessary, nothing is set in stone. Different cooks need different things. This is an outline to help you make sure you have at least the bare minimum without breaking the bank.

Cookware

There are many different types of cookware. This is where I do not skimp on price. Quality cookware will last a lifetime and is a worthwhile investment to make your home cooking experience enjoyable.

Cookware is manufactured with a variety of materials but my top three choices are cast aluminum, cast iron and stainless steel. Cast iron probably distributes and maintains heat the best. It is also the least costly of my three choices but it is also the toughest to care for. If properly maintained and seasoned it takes on an nearly perfect nonstick end and will last for years. Without proper maintenance it can discolor and rust. Stainless steel is extremely simple to maintain but does not distribute or hold heat as well as cast iron or aluminum. Stainless with a bonded aluminum bottom is an brilliant choice. Cast aluminum is probably the best all around choice based on its properties. It spreads and holds heat nearly as well as cast iron. It is lightweight and nearly as simple to care for as stainless.

Cookware to have on hand

While the most cost effective way to buy cookware is to buy sets it may not be necessary for everyone. You can always add pieces later. They may not match but functionality is more vital than appearance for the Home Cook. Feel free to either add or eliminate pieces to this list as you see fit. If you are just starting out and are only cooking for one or two you most likely don’t need three saucepans. Always keep in mind that you can get specialty items as needed. In other words – if you don’t plot to bake pies for a while don’t buy pie pans.

Sauce Pans 1, 2, & 3 Qt. With lids
Stock Pot with lid 5 or 6 Qt.
Skillets 6 in., 10 in., and a 12 or 14 in. preferably with lids especially for the large one.

I also have on hand a fourteen inch Wok type cast aluminum fry pan with a rounded bottom that I find extremely useful. I use it a couple of times a week for many dishes from stir fries to frying chicken. It is a heavy gauge aluminum for which I find many uses. Heck, I even used it once to make loud noises to chase a stray dog out of the yard.

Ovenware and Bake ware

For the oven what you need on hand just depends on what type of cooking you want to do and how many people you cook for in your home or on how much entertaining you intend to do. The list that follows is the minimum that I like to have available but my home cooking needs are limited to a family of three and a Chihuahua. My wife likes to bake a lot of cookies for the holidays so I keep at least 5 cookie sheets around for convenience.

For ovenware or bake ware I mostly stick to glass or porcelain coated cast iron except for cake pans and cookie sheets. There I prefer nonstick aluminum. I keep two loaf pans – one glass for meatloaf and one nonstick aluminum for things like carrot cake and zucchini bread.

1 Baking Dish 1 qt.
1 Baking Dish 1 ½ qt.
2 9in. cake pans
2 8 or 9in. pie pans
15 1/2×10 1/2×1 in. cookie sheet number depends on how much you like to bake cookies or dinner rolls. I recommend at least two.
9x5x3 in. loaf pans 1 glass and 1 aluminum

Knives

For your cutlery choose wisely. Go for quality over price. Cheap cutlery is no bargain. Choose either carbon steel or stainless steel. My preference is excellent, high quality stainless. It is simpler to care for than carbon steel and holds its edge nearly as well. Stay away form serrated knives with the exception of steak knives and maybe your bread knife. Serrated edges tend to tear raw foods rather than cut cleanly, especially with meat. Always sharpen your knives by hand with a stone or a butcher’s steel. Electric sharpeners will eventually ruin the edge. Also, when cutting with your knives always do it on a surface that is softer that your knife. I recommend a wooden cutting board at least one inch thick. A thickness of one inch will help to prevent warping. Be sure to clean the board thoroughly as soon as possible and dry it completely to prevent warping or cracking.

Chef’s Knife – the one with the triangular blade – 7 to 14 inches long. I prefer one that is between 8 and 10 inches.
Bread Knife – 8 to 10 inch – this is better if serrated because it takes less pressure to cut through fresh bread so there is less chance of crushing the loaf.
Paring Knife for peeling and coring fruits and vegetables.
Swivel bladed vegetable peeler – takes only the peel – a paring knife tends to take a small more of the pulp unless you are really skilled so use it mostly for coring.

Measuring Cups

Not much to say here. They are available in many varieties, both glass and plastic. I use only two. Both are glass as the markings are simpler to see. Plastic is more opaque and the measurements are harder to read. Get one that measures up to one cup and one that measures up to two cups in glass with bright red markings.

Stocking Your Kitchen

While you could spend a small fortune to stock up on stuff you may use some day but will most likely throw out when it expires I reckon it is better to buy a few basics and then buy other things as the need arises for specific recipes. In most instances fresh ingredients and spices are best but some processed and dry items are very handy for day-to-day home cooking. All other items can be picked up on an as need basis. The following list is what I keep on hand.

Dry bread crumbs plain and Italian
Corn Starch – a fantastic thickening agent for gravies and stews
All purpose flour
Spaghetti
Rice



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