Hey there! Thanks for stopping by!
A well-stocked kitchen is key to cooking healthy meals without wasting a lot of time. Here are 4 of my kitchen essentials:
1. A good knife
You don’t need to buy a whole set from cutco or any of those other companies, you really just need one good knife. I recommend a good 7 inch chef’s knife. A good knife stays sharp longer, allows you to chop more efficiently (huge time saver!) and doesn’t hurt you hand. Plus, it’s actually safer to use a sharp knife over a dull knife (a dull knife can slip and slide a lot more and you have to use more force with it, making injuries more likely). This is my favorite knife. It works for me because I have small hands and it’s super light weight. If you’re a big guy, you might prefer one of the German made knives. You can also go to a kitchen store and play around with some different knives to see which works best for you. If you’re looking for an inexpensive good knife, I recommend these guys. I use them for my cooking classes.
If you’re not comfortable using a kitchen knife, take a knife skills class. It’s more than a worthy investment.
2. Counter space
If you live in NYC, you probably know how hard good counterspace is to come upon. But, there’s always a way! In an old apartment I used to have a small shelf on wheels that was the perfect height and was great to chop veggies on (with a cutting board). In other spaces I’ve put the cutting board on the stovetop or on a kitchen table. Take a look at your space and see what you can do. You can also move your drying rack, paper towels or random kitchen clutter to a different spot to make space for meal prep. Ideally, you want whatever surface your chopping on to be about hip level. Chopping at this level will keep you from straining your back.
It may sound like a given, but tupperware is so important for good meal prep. You want tupperware that fits one individual portion so it’s easy to pack and take to work, heat up when you’re hungry and ready to go, or freeze for later use. If you’re using plastic, make sure it’s BPA free! You can also use extra tupperware for storing any extra veggies you’ve prepped and munch on them for a snack or throw them in an omelet or stir fry. Prep once, eat twice!
Aromatics (i.e.) onions, garlic, herbs, ginger etc are great for adding flavor to a dish. Saute some onions and you get a whole new depth of flavor to whatever you’re cooking, whether it’s a soup, omelet or stir fry.
5. Spices, Oils and Vinegars
In addition to aromatics, spices or sauces that make you happy are essential to making quick and healthy meals. And they give you great flavor without any of the artificial BS. Cumin is my favorite spice, it adds so much to any dish I make. You don’t need a million spices to make good food – just keep a few on hand that you know you like. My 3 essentials are garam masala (a spice blend), cayenne and cumin.
Same goes for sauces or oils/vinegars. I always have olive oil, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil and lemon juice at home (I buy this great lemon juice that is organic, not from concentrate, and never goes bad!). Plain veggies are completely transformed with a little spice, olive oil and lemon juice. Figure out which flavors work for you and make sure you have them around. Some others I really like are ume plum vinegar, lime juice and sesame oil.
6. Pre-chopped veggies
That’s right, I said it. Don’t be afraid of buying packs of pre-cut veggies at the supermarket. It will save you a ton of time, which is super important when you’re tired, hungry and just getting home. Sometimes they are even less expensive than the whole veggie!
What are your favorite kitchen staples?