Preparing to host family and friends over the holidays can seem daunting! One of the main areas of stress can be meal preparation, along with family relationships, cleaning every inch of the house, shopping and organizing. Where is MY Marie Kondo? If you are asking who is Marie Kondo, that probably means you have no issues with clutter in your life and everything you own "sparks joy!" (Check out Netflix if you want to see her "do her magic")
I have put together a list of some kitchen items that I find invaluable as I prepare and cook for what seems to be thousands, but in real life is like 10! Right?
Over the next few weeks I will give you a list for gift giving or for purchasing for your own kitchen.
Below you will find a handy list of cookware to start outfitting your kitchen to help you become a better cook! All the pictures will take you to Amazon for easy buying.
Every Day Pans
Pans should be your #1 investment in your kitchen! Do not skimp. If bought right and taken care of, they should last decades! It is better to save up and buy 2 great pans than 5 cheap Target ones.
Dutch Oven - is useful for soups, stews, braises, spaghetti and more! My favorite brand is Staub. You can also purchase them at Williams Sonoma or Sur la Table. I recommend 1 quart per person to decide what size to buy. Average is 6! I also recommend that if you are buying one, BUY ROUND NOT OVAL! Oval is great for the oven, but is not as practical on the stove top with round burners.
Stainless Skillet - used for searing, sautéing, frying and pan sauces, this pan will become the workhorse in your kitchen. It is always best to get one that is ready to go into the oven as well. I prefer the French brand Cristel, since the removable handles make them easy to stack and store.
Non-stick skillet - scrambled eggs and omelets will never stick in this pan! This pan has a slightly shorter life span than the above mentioned products because of the coating, but will easily be around in your kitchen for 3 - 5 years.
Cast iron - it fries, it bakes what can't it do? Our grandmothers cooked in them and cast iron is making a comeback! With a much more widespread focus on healthy cooking, cast iron has emerged from the shadows of our past to be a hip way to cook now. Although heavier than most cookware, it conducts heat very well and is good on stovetop or oven. Cast iron does rust if not taken care of properly, but it is basically indestructible! The link below includes a silicone handle which helps when transporting a hot pan!
The following pans I use, but not every day. They have specific applications, but I enjoy using them, because the right tool for the job is important!
Roaster - a roasting pan, especially with a rack is the right tool for cooking the Thanksgiving turkey, the Easter ham and the weeknight chicken and potatoes. The one below is what I have. If you are only going to buy one, I recommend the bigger the better! It also comes with some handy forks to lift out that big bird!
Crepe pan - having lived in France, crepes are made regularly at my house. Although you can use a non-stick skillet, a crepe pan is not that expensive and it makes the job easier!
Grill Pan - in the dark days of winter, I can not grill outside, so this is the next best option. It is reversible so you can do steaks at night and French toast in the morning.
I hope this gets you started on the journey to being a better cook!
I always tell my students if the recipe does not turn out, it may not be YOU, it may be your old pan!