I was recently asked what my 12 kitchen essentials are. I wasn’t sure if they meant tools or food, so I’ve made a list of both!
My must have kitchen tools (I’ve skipped things like pots and pans, utensils, etc and have highlighted some items that might not be in every kitchen in America but that I find myself using regularly):
- Electric Rice Cooker: I have this one. I love it. I can not only cook rice but other types of grains, including my favorite quinoa. It makes cooking large batches easy and I don’t have to worry about keeping an eye on a pot. I just add the water and quinoa then set it and forget it until the timer goes off.
- Mason Jars: they have so much flexibility. Cups, storage, snack containers, lunch boxes, and any number of non kitchen related household uses. You can typically find flats of multiple sizes at the grocery store or you can always just save and reuse food jars.
- Vitamix: I use this blender 5-7 times per week for smoothies, sauces, dressings, nut creams and more. LOVE IT.
- Large Food Processor: I have a beast of a food processor and I love that. I make large batches of salsa, nice cream, nut butters, and healthy snack cookies among other things. If you want to be able to make something like a nut butter you really need a quality machine.
- Parchment Paper and/or Silpat sheet: For large batches of roasted veggies and cookies these items make for much easier clean up.
- Slow Cooker: If you want to batch cook or create set it and forget it type meals you can’t go wrong with a slow cooker. I like to make large batches of beans and then freeze them in the same portions as they come canned.
- Apple Peeler/Corer: My Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Cookies would take waaaaay to long with out one of these guys. Life saver.
- Freezer Bags or Freezer Safe Storage Containers: Sometimes I can tell a week is spiraling out of control and we won’t be able to eat all the produce I bought. This is the time to freeze all the things! Veggies, greens, fruit, etc can all be saved for later in the freezer. Typically I use these for smoothies or stir fries.
- Toaster Oven: this one in particular is awesome because it’s big enough for a large cookie sheet or casserole dish. I like to use mine for reheating, smaller meals and for when I’m in a hurry and don’t want to wait for the big oven to heat up. It’s also great during the summer when you don’t want to heat up the house since the heat is more contained.
My must have in stock grocery essentials are staple items. Things that are easy for me to create meals with. They are also ingredients that I’m comfortable using and have used many times before. No chance they will go to waste because I wasn’t sure what to do with them.
- Sweet Potatoes – roasted, baked, steamed, whatever, I’ll eat them. They are so versatile for just about any meal and also as snacks, they satisfy a sweet tooth if needed and they are a wonderful source of fiber and vitamin A.
- Oatmeal – overnight oats, smoothies and lactation cookies are where the oats go in our house. I’m not much of a hot oatmeal fan usually but they’d be here if the mood struck. I even sometimes make a quick mylk from oats and water blended until smooth in the blender when I’ve run out of almond milk.
- Chia Seeds – I use these most in overnight oats and chia puddings but they are great sprinkled on just about anything, in smoothies, can be used as an egg replacement and to make a jam. Chia seeds are incredibly nutrient dense, high in fiber and a great source of Omega 3s!
- Rice or Quinoa – grains are great for use in salads, wraps, soups, bowls, stir fries and more. They keep for a long time and help you feel full longer.
- Almond Butter – it used to be peanut butter but I’ve burnt out on that. I typically go back and forth. I use the as a topper on sweet potatoes, yogurt, cereal. I add it to smoothies, have the occasional nut butter and jam sandwich and use it as a dipper for snacks.
- Frozen Fruit – always, always have on hand for a quick smoothie or to throw on yogurt or cereal
- Frozen Veggies – I like to have the stir fry variety and/or peas on hand. For weeks where I may be having a tough time making it to the grocery store, these allow me to add a little green to my plate. Frozen fruit and veggies are great alternatives to fresh, they tend to be picked riper than fresh foods and are flash frozen immediately so you get a great tasting and fresh food.
- Hummus/Bean Dip – Eating meals regularly can be hard sometimes when the baby is super cranky. Hummus or bean dips are easy, fast and filling. Love to dip my roasted sweet potatoes in hummus with some hot sauce.
- Hemp Seeds or Protein Powder – filling smoothies that keep me longer, nuff said
- Bananas – I buy them in bulk and then freeze them for smoothies
- Sprouted Grain Cereal or Yogurt – I like to have one or both of these on hand for when life happens. I pretty much just put anything and everything I can into a bowl (nut butter, frozen fruit, shredded coconut, cereal, yogurt, cinnamon, fresh fruit, seeds, nuts, whatever) and stuff it all in my face. NOM
- Lemons – for lemon water in the morning, to use in dressings, to help keep things like avocados and apples looking fresh, etc, etc, etc. Lemons are great for so many things!
I hope this helps you create your own beautifully stocked kitchen. If you have any questions, or anything you can’t live without, let me know in the comments!