Over the years, I have definitely found my "must have" kitchen items that I use over and over and that are essential to preparing healthy meals. If you're going to go to the effort to cook meals at home, having these tools on hand will get you through most recipes. And, you don't have to spend a fortune on these things. I sourced all of these products through Amazon (which has great prices on quality products), and I know that many people use the site because it's such a big time-saver and the convenience of having things delivered right to your door is hard to beat!
These items may not be as inexpensive as you would find at Wal-Mart, but the prices are great for the quality at Amazon. Since cooking and preparing meals is a daily chore, you want your tools to last and be easy to use. I have all of these items in my kitchen and can attest to their quality and usefulness. Because I'm simply a home cook who still has a lot to learn, I do not have the "best of the best" chef's cookware, but I consider these items very high quality for a good value.
8-inch knife // This one knife, if you keep it sharp, will make preparing meals so much more enjoyable. So many of my meals start with dicing up an onion and then chopping up fresh herbs.
Serrated knife // Essential for tomatoes, which we eat often, and also for bread.
Cutting board // One really nice cutting board, like the Boos brand, will last forever if you care for it by handwashing and oiling it regularly. I like a cutting board with a very large surface area so I can chop different foods and keep them on one board. The one pictured is 24x18, but smaller ones will be less expensive.
Peeler // I'm forever peeling carrots and cucumbers. I hate peeling potatoes, but if I have to, this is the peeler I like to use. I've had mine at least 5 years and it's still going strong. It's dishwasher safe too.
Can opener // I use a manual can opener to save counter space and keep it in a drawer (as opposed to an electric opener). This one works really well and you don't have to be superwoman to use it. Just be sure to clean it after using so the blade doesn't get stuck.
Mixing bowls // One set with a few sizes is all you really need for both meal prep and baking. I keep one handy as a garbage bowl for all the garbage/recycling as I'm preparing my meals.
Spatula // A four-inch stainless steel spatula is good for turning almost anything and I feel it is sturdier than its rubber counterparts. I also use it for separating meat while cooking like ground turkey for chili or my Tex Mex dish.
Grater // Again, I opt for a one sided microplane grater (as opposed to a box grater) to save space. I mostly use mine for cheese.
Wooden spoons // There's always something to stir or mix.
Rubber spatulas // I call them rubber spatulas, but they are really made with silicon. They are great for helping empty the contents of a jar or bowl and are heat resistant so you can use them when stirring hot things on the stove.
3-quart pot // The smaller, nonstick pot is good for steaming veggies and boiling smaller amounts of pasta. It's dishwasher safe, but I always hand wash mine for extra precaution.
10-inch pan // I use this for cooking everything from meat to pancakes and omelets, and for sauteeing veggies. I've made a million grilled cheeses in this pan.
5-quart pot // Perfect for chili, stews, and soups.
A few more things not pictured that I also use all the time and have in my kitchen:
plastic measuring cups
stainless steel measuring cups and spoons (These are a splurge. They were a Christmas gift from my girlfriend Karen a few years ago and I love how they feel in my hand. Such a crazy good gift!)
What's YOUR must-have kitchen item?
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