With this basic kitchen equipment, you can really get cooking.
On the Counter
- Toaster oven—A great time- and energy-saving appliance! Why wait 15 minutes to preheat the oven when you need only a little more than five minutes to toast garlic bread, grill open-faced sandwiches, reheat pizza slices, and so on?
- Knife block—Start with a paring knife for cutting fruits and veggies, a serrated knife for slicing French bread, and a larger carving knife for slicing beef, pork, and poultry.
- Stove-top tools—Always keep a flat spatula, slotted spoon, wooden spoon, and soup ladle near the stove top! You can buy a stove-top utensil holder to keep them together and out of your way.
- Cutting boards—Select two cutting boards: one for fresh produce and bread, and one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Wood boards are attractive and sturdy, but more difficult to clean, so consider dishwasher-safe plastic or environmentally-friendly bamboo.
In Drawers or Cupboards
- Can opener—Consider a hand-held opener instead of electric; it's easier to use and keep clean.
- Measuring tools—Get a set of measuring cups and spoons in sturdy stainless steel or affordable plastic, plus a glass measuring jar with a spout for measuring liquids.
- Top-drawer tools—Favorites include a set of tongs for turning meats, a pasta fork for dishing up noodles, a whisk for stirring sauces, and a pizza cutter for pizza and quesadillas.
- Pots and pans—If you have a large (10- to 12-inch) skillet, a small (6-inch) sauté pan, and a mid-sized (2- to 3-quart) pot for soups and pasta, you're ready for just about anything. For ease, use a nonstick skillet, unless you prefer a heavy cast-iron version. And don't forget the potholders!
- Ovenware—Also valued and versatile: a glass baking dish (13x9-inch), a covered casserole dish, and at least one baking sheet.
- Mixing bowls—Rely on a set of three to four nested bowls with non-slip bottoms for easy mixing.
- Colander—A must for washing fruits/veggies or draining pasta.
- Slow cooker—Set it, forget it, and let it do the cooking for you!