Cooking does not have to be difficult. It can be a rewarding experience that is relaxing and satisfying. Cooking also does not need to be expensive to be delicious. If you love food or love to entertain then learning to cook is mandatory. In this article, we discuss some of the key tools every kitchen needs. We also talk about food choices that help novice chefs become the star of their kitchens.
1. Budgeting and Cooking — It’s Affordable
Image via Flickr by ilovebutter
For some problems, throwing money at them is the answer, but not for cooking. Cooking does not need to be expensive. In fact, it can become a tool that helps you save money. Boxed foods and dining out are expensive methods of obtaining sustenance. Cooking from scratch can save families a bucket of money each month.
One of the first things that every chef needs to learn how to do is to make weekly menus. Each daily menu should cover breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. If you want to save even more money each month on food costs, make your lunch instead of buying it.
The benefit of making a menu is that it leads to a very specific grocery list. You can pair grocery shopping with menu planning by incorporating items that are on sale into the menus that you plan, which can save even more money.
2. Kitchen Setup — You Do Not Need a Ton of Equipment
Don’t fall for marketing schemes when it comes to setting up your kitchen. A good tip is to avoid specialty kitchen equipment that you only use once in a while. So what is on the equipment list for a nice kitchen? Surprisingly, not much. Let’s take a look.
Knives: You need three of them. Find a nice quality paring knife, bread knife, and a chef’s knife. If you want to add in other knives, then a carving knife is good to have if you prepare roasts, whole chickens, or turkeys. A smaller version of the chef’s knife is also nice.
Pots and Pans: You only need four pots and a couple of pans. A good 9″x12″ baking pan is perfect for cakes or casseroles and should be a standard for every kitchen. You need a small sauce pan and a 3-5 quart sauce pan. Another must have is a deep frying pan. You will also need a stainless-steel stock pot in the 5-6 quart size range. Larger is okay too.
The cast-iron pans are perfect, and they last a lifetime. When properly cared for, cast-iron pots and pans act like non-stick pans. Teflon, while nice, is a temporary thing. The surfaces become scratch or erode away and then you have to buy another one. Just avoid the expense and waste and stick with a pot that will last your entire life. The other benefit of choosing cast-iron pots and pans is that they go from stovetop to oven without any problems.
3. Finding Recipes Your Family Will Love
Employ technology to help you. There are plenty of recipe apps out there. When you find a great recipe, save it for later. In the kitchen, your smartphone becomes your library of cookbooks. Using a smartphone, like the Samsung Galaxy S6, makes it easy to follow recipes via apps. There are websites that will help you find recipes based on the ingredients you have. There are websites that will help you find recipes for special occasions. There are even websites that have recipes for cultural and healthy cooking.
If you are just learning to cook, then start small and work your way up to the harder and more challenging meals. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little. If you find a vegetable everyone loves, figure out how to use more of it. Many vegetables are just as good raw as they are cooked. Can you add it to a salad? Probably you can. Once you get to know an ingredient you will discover that it is easy to experiment with it. The bottom line is that cooking can be highly rewarding. Just have fun with it.