Struggling with mastering your inner chef? Alongside planning your meals, the right kitchen essentials help ensure that the dishes you have so diligently set out for yourself taste (and look) great!
If you can find a way to “cook for the fun of it” and “prepare for people you love” your time in the kitchen doesn’t have to feel like a chore. My advice is to cook with a friend and socialize during the preparation.
Meal Garden is a great way to find new inspiration and you can easily change the number of guests you will be serving. Print your grocery list and you are organized for your shopping trip.
Next I like to start off with my kitchen as clean as possible. I find if I remove the clutter from view I don’t get as easily distracted from the task at hand. Sometimes I think my husband gets worried after he cleans the kitchen. To me the wide open space on the counter is an invitation to bake the things I love, especially on a weekend afternoon.
A few key cooking tools can make your kitchen even more enjoyable.
Here are my favourites*:
*Meal Garden has added recipes to serve as examples of the types of dishes you can prepare utilizing Alison's suggestions - just click the image for the full recipe!
A cast iron enamelled dutch oven or braiser
A heavy duty pot that retains heat well and cooks evenly. Perfect for stovetop to oven recipes. Great for soups, stews and stir fries. A large size close to 5 or 6 litres will work for many family meals.
- Stainless steel mixing bowls; Various sizes
They help organize your prep work.
A selection of measuring cups and spoons
Make sure you have both dry measure cups and glass liquid measure cups. I like to put mine in a storage bin and I keep at least 2 or more of each measure so there is no need to wash until the end of the preparation.
Heat proof silicone spatulas
Ideal for stirring on the stove as well as baking. Find fun colours that make you happy or give these as gifts!
A good chef knife
As well as a selection of smaller versions. When kids are starting out they can use “crinkler cutters” to chop vegetables or small steak knives.
A microplane grater
My go to for fresh ginger and finely grated parmesan cheese.
A kitchen scale
Because I bake often I have one of these for flour to increase accuracy and save time on spooning and levelling in measuring cups. No need for the expensive stainless steel ones my plastic $20 version has lasted years.
A garlic press and garlic roller
My press is from pampered chef and works like a charm when you need to distribute a small amount of garlic into your food – especially for uncooked items like salad dressing. My garlic roller peels the skin easily and is a fun task for the kids.
A wire whisk
Perfect for cheating on the sifting of dry ingredients.
A fine mesh strainer
Which I often use for thickening mixtures added to hot food – no clumps allowed.
Small and medium “ice cream type” scoops
These work well for pancakes, muffins and cookies. My favourite sizes are 3 tablespoons or 45 ml and 20 ml for cookies.
Super sharp they finely slice herbs without the bruising that can happen with chopping. The covered choice is best for cleaning of herbs without the risk of cutting your fingers.
Items in check? Time to get scheduling!