Beginners guide to the kitchen: Tips and Tools
Getting familiar with the kitchen can be overwhelming, especially if you're a beginner cook. When it comes to stocking your kitchen with the right tools and equipment, it can be overwhelming to navigate through all of the different brands and options available. In order to make the process a little easier, we've put together a list of must-haves and good-to-haves to help guide your shopping.
- A good chef's knife: A high-quality chef's knife is a kitchen essential. It's the most important tool in the kitchen and will be used for almost every task. Look for a knife that feels comfortable in your hand and is well-balanced.
- Cutting boards: Having a variety of cutting boards is important, including both wood and plastic. Wood cutting boards are great for meat and vegetables, while plastic cutting boards are best for fruits and raw fish.
- Pots and pans: A good set of pots and pans is a must-have in any kitchen. Look for heavy-duty, stainless steel or copper cookware that will last for years.
- Measuring cups and spoons: Accurate measuring is important in cooking, so it's essential to have a set of measuring cups and spoons on hand.
- Mixing bowls: Having a set of mixing bowls is essential for any kitchen. They come in handy for mixing ingredients, marinating, and storing leftovers.
- A stand mixer: A stand mixer is a great tool for baking and can save you time and energy when making bread dough, cake batter, or whipped cream.
- Slow cooker: Slow cookers are great for making soups, stews, and other hearty dishes. They make it easy to prepare meals in advance, so you can come home to a hot meal ready to eat.
- Food processor: A food processor is a great tool for chopping, grinding, and pureeing ingredients. It can save you time and energy when preparing ingredients for recipes.
- Immersion blender: An immersion blender is a handy tool for pureeing soup, making smoothies, and emulsifying sauces.
- Microplane grater: A Microplane grater is a kitchen tool that is great for grating citrus zest, chocolate, cheese, and ginger.
Stocking your kitchen with the right tools and equipment can make cooking and meal preparation easier and more enjoyable. Now that you have familiarised yourself with basic kitchen tools, let’s move on to meal prep. Starting a meal prep routine can be a great way to save time, eat healthier and reach your dietary goals.
- Plan ahead: Decide what meals and snacks you want to prepare for the week. Make a grocery list and stick to it.
- Use containers: Invest in a set of reusable containers to store your food. Glass or BPA-free plastic containers are safe and durable options.
- Prepare in bulk: Cook meals in large quantities so you have leftovers for the week. Grains, such as rice and quinoa, as well as proteins, like chicken or tofu, can be cooked in bulk.
- Mix and match: Create meals that use similar ingredients to make the meal prep process easier. For example, roasted vegetables can be used as a side dish or added to a salad.
- Keep it simple: Start with simple recipes that have few ingredients and can be prepped ahead of time. Gradually add more complex recipes as you gain confidence.
- Be organized: Label and date your containers, and store them in a way that makes it easy to find what you need.
- Keep it fresh: Use fresh produce and store your food in the refrigerator to maintain quality.
Here are some types of meals that are easy to prepare in bulk:
- Grains: Rice, quinoa, and pasta are all great options for bulk meal prep. Cook a large batch at the beginning of the week and use it as a base for different meals.
- Proteins: Chicken, paneer, tofu, and tempeh are all easy to cook in bulk and can be used in a variety of meals throughout the week.
- Soups and stews: These one-pot meals are easy to make in bulk and can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for future use. This can also be used to prepare other variations for your meals.
- Salads: Mix and match greens, vegetables, and proteins to create a variety of salad options that can be prepped ahead of time. You can also keep a mix of seeds to add nutrition and a crunch to your salad.
- Casseroles: Bake a large casserole at the beginning of the week and enjoy it for several meals. Casseroles can be made with a variety of ingredients, including pasta, rice, vegetables, and proteins.
- Stir-fry dishes: Cook a large batch of stir-fry with your choice of protein and vegetables and enjoy it for several meals.
By following these tips, meal prep can be a stress-free and enjoyable experience. With a little bit of planning and storing, you'll be able to eat healthy and delicious food every day, no matter how busy your schedule is.