Simple Kitchen: 7 Essentials

For a little over a year I lived in a “simple kitchen”. And by that, I mean, one with only a few cooking essentials, a bit of muscle, and a lot of creativity. I have learned since then (and while still confined within a tiny kitchen) what my kitchen essentials are and what I can do without. And I am convinced, as long as I have these few simple kitchen tools I can cook just about anything simply & easily. I know I am leaving out several “little” must-haves like good wooden spoons or something like a cheese grater, but this list still contains some of my most used, most needed, and most loved kitchen essentials.

1. Good cutlery. All you really need is one REALLY good knife. I love my knives and they make all the difference in creating a quick meal. I have 3 really good Santoku knives that do all the tough work in the kitchen and then a few good paring knives that help me out when getting picky about the details.

Recommendations: Wusthof 4188 Gourmet 7-Inch Hollow Cut Santoku Knife or Calphalon Contemporary 7-Inch Santoku Knife

2. Measuring Utensils. Tablespoons, teaspoons, cups, quarts? Sometimes getting just the right amount can make all the difference (especially when you are baking). I have a good pair of stainless steel measuring spoons and then a couple measuring cups on hand to deal with liquids and dry ingredients.

Recommendations: KitchenArt Pro 2 Cup Adjust-A-Cup, Champagne Satin Finish and MIU Stainless-Steel 7-Piece Measuring Cup Set

3. Nesting mixing bowls. Space savers and time savers = win/win. There are times when I use all of mine in one meal without realizing it until the end, so I am really glad I have them all easily accessible. Being able to mix things separately helps me improve my accuracy and timing while cooking.

Recommendations: Trudeau Melamine Mixing Bowls, Set of 3 and 4pc Mixing Bowl Set Stainless Steel 1-5 Quarts

4. A large, well-made saucepan – Do you feel like you burn everything? There’s a chance your pots & pans are really to blame. Some just are not well made with thin, cheaper metals. We had one that I swore could even burn water into charcoal. A good heavy duty pan really makes a difference, so look out for heavy stainless steel, adonized aluminum, or enamel coated cast iron pots (and if you can splurge, copper is an excellent heat conductor).

Recommendations: Simply Calphalon Nonstick 2 Quart Saucepan with Cover or Calphalon Contemporary Stainless-Steel 2-Quart Chef’s Pan with Glass Lid

5. A non-stick saute pan – Great for cooking & even better for cleaning. I love sauteing vegetables and preparing dinner in our saute pan. For cooking, a saute pan is so versatile that it can be used for any type of dish you want to make. I use ours almost every day.

Recommendations: Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick 10-Inch Omelet Pan and Simply Calphalon Stainless 3 Quart Saute Pan

6. A 5-quart (or larger) slow-cooker – A call slow cookers magic machines. You toss ingredients in, walk away, and hours later there is a yummy meal. Ta da! Finding one with a good, secure lid is also a plus since they can be hauled with you to social events. Sometimes it amazes me all the different foods you can create in a slow cooker.

Recommendations: Hamilton Beach 33967 Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker or Crock-Pot SCCPVL600S Cook’ N Carry 6-Quart Oval Manual Portable Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel

7. A set of baking dishes & pans. Of course any good foodie + chocoholic knows that the best things come last…and usually from a baking dish or pan. Yes, that’s right – Desserts. Cookies, cakes, turnovers, banana breads, and much more are from the lovely world of baking. For the basics, having a 13″ x 9″ and 9″ x 9″ baking dish is great to have as well as a few large baking sheets. I would include a baking/pizza stone too for a nice upgrade.

Recommendations: Calphalon Classic Bakeware Special Value 12-by-17-Inch Rectangular Nonstick Jelly Roll Pans, Set of 2 and Rachael Ray Stoneware 1-Quart and 1-1/2-Quart Oval Bubble & Brown Baker Set, Blue

I am sure there are MANY more essentials, but those are mine! What are YOUR cooking essentials?

For more recommendations, visit The Fresh Fridge store for my Amazon Favorites!

Photos thanks to and stock.xchange.

2 Responses to “Simple Kitchen: 7 Essentials”

  1. Joanne says:

    I love this list of favorites! I will definitely be checking out those knives. Mine could totally use an upgrade!

  2. Eliana says:

    Great list girl! All signs are pointing to my getting a slow cooker in my very near future.