You don’t have to be a four star chef to be comfortable in the kitchen; you don’t even need a thousand different utensils to make a fabulous dish. In reality, all you need in a functioning kitchen is about 10 utensils.
My number one is a sharp chef’s knife. I literally could not live without it. Every night I chop up vegetables to be sautéed or roasted because sometimes it’s nice to have fresh roasted vegetables rather than pre-prepared frozen veggies. I also prepare garlic and onions on a regular basis. My fingers never smell good.
My second most used item is the handheld grater. I freakin’ love this thing. I used to chop up my garlic, but now all I have to do is grate it right into the pan. It’s easy and saves time. Plus it’s really nice to grate up personal portions of cheese if you have made taco soup, or even spaghetti. Parmesan cheese is my JAM! Love that stuff. It may be stinky, but it’s super tasty!
The third item is a potato smasher. This thing does not only smash taters, but a quick fix to break up meat in a hot pan. It’s fabulous! Every night when I’m cooking I rarely use my fine china, or even dirty up a pan when I cook proteins. I honestly think I use aluminum foil the most in my kitchen, and throw-away foil pans. I don’t want to clean up stuck-on grease. It’s so convenient to throw away dirty foil than to clean a pan.
The metal spatula is a must-have in the kitchen. This is the only thing I use when I need to flip an egg. I have found plastic spatulas do not work as well as the metal. Not only is it amazing at frying eggs in a skillet, but also cutting that perfect piece of lasagna. Think about it. How is it possible to get a perfect square of lasagna goodness when the plastic doesn’t have a sharp edge.
A whisk is a must MUST have in your awesome culinary stash. You can use this whisk in flour when you don’t have a sifter because who here has a sifter, but reads a recipe that calls for sifted flour, not me! (This is a super easy shortcut! I promise.) I also use the whisk for gravy’s and Béchamel sauces to keep the lumps away. Nobody likes those lovely lumps. When using a whisk, you will always get that perfect smooth sauce.
The next item is a given. A can opener. Ok, you don’t need a fancy electric can opener. All you need is an opener that works. I don’t really eat canned foods, but tomatoes, green chilis, and beans are delicious when canned. They don’t even have that canned taste. Go buy some! You won’t regret it.
The skinny knife you see in the picture is a bread knife. Everybody needs a bread knife. If you are like me, I freakin’ love French bread every chance I get. I will slap that sucker with some butter and toast it under the broiler, and it’s the best thing God ever created. I’m serious. Get yourself a bread knife.
Another item I hold dear are my wooden spoons. I use these every time I cook. They won’t scratch your pan when you are stirring, and they are cheap.
My pizza cutter does not only cut pizza, but pastry. An example would be Chicken and Dumplings. I will make the dough for the dumplings, roll it out, and then cut strands of dough with the pizza cutter. It’s so much faster than a regular knife, and the sizes are more uniform rather than different. I also love a homemade pizza. So my pizza cutter gives me a pizza life.
The tenth and final item you should have in your kitchen is the strainer. I. Love. PASTA. There, I said it. I don’t know how I would live my life without the blessing of pasta. I’m sure every one here cooks spaghetti or some sort of pasta dish on a daily basis. The strainer is used more times than you think. So investing in a cheap or expensive strainer is NOT a terrible idea. What are those famous words? Just do it.
I want to express in this post that you don’t have to be a super chef to be comfortable in the kitchen, and to cook delicious meals. These ten utensils will set you up for success because cooking should be enjoyable and relaxing. Once you are able to fearlessly cook, then the possibilities are endless.
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If y’all have any questions about cooking or wine pairings, just give a shout out! I’m always here to help, and make you fearless in the kitchen.
The Winey Chef,