Three essentials your kitchen can’t do without

Whether you’re a recent graduate, moving out on your own for the first time, or interested in learning the art of cooking, you’ll need the right tools to guide the way. These kitchen essentials are the first step to a simple preparation and satisfying meal.

Here’s a list of the top three essentials that every cook should have in their kitchen.

1. Knives

The countless options of knives at department stores can make this task completely overwhelming. I am going to make this easy for you. Simple meals and the majority of complex ones require three knives. That’s it.

A chef knife, a serrated knife and a paring knife.

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  • The chef knife is your go-to for knives. Use it for slicing, dicing and chopping.

 

  • The serrated knife, known as a bread knife is a lifesaver for your bread and baked goods.

 

  • Use the paring knife for peeling fruits and vegetables.

 

 

Check out this video to learn basic knife techniques.

 

2. Cutting boards

Your kitchen needs at least two cutting boards, and I cannot stress that enough.

One is for vegetables, bread, and fruit that you can safely eat raw. The other is for raw meat and fish. Two cutting boards limit the risk of any cross contamination.

For more information on food safety click here.

Wood cutting boards are a huge trend lately but they can make a serious dent in the wallet. Fellow blogger To Simply Inspire teaches you how to make cutting boards for a fraction of the retail cost.

 

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Photo Courtesy of To Simply Inspire

Cutting boards also make great serving platters for meat and cheese boards.

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Photo courtesy of bon appetit

 

3. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar

If you are going to splurge on something besides the important things like purses and shoes, spend extra money on a good olive oil and balsamic vinegar. By splurge, I mean opt in for the $20 bottle rather than the $8.

Take a look at The Olive Press for top rated oils and vinegar from around the world.

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Photo Courtesy of The Olive Press

 

Check out this list on how to fill your cupboards and drawers for under $300.

Now that you’ve seen my essentials, what are yours?

 

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Photo courtesy of Woolworth

 

 

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Quick and easy summer salad recipe

Welcome to Simply Satisfied! This blog is dedicated to making the world of food less overwhelming and more appetizing for beginners. I am no master chef but I love to cook, and more importantly I love food.

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My inspiration to start cooking began with my mom. She’s a talented woman in (and outside) of the kitchen. She taught me the importance of buying fresh ingredients, to embrace new flavours, and to cook for the people you love.

I love learning from my mom, but because I’m a student on a budget I had to come up with a few tools of my own.

 

 

 Buy fruits & veggies based on the season

Click here to see what fruits & veggies are available by season in Ontario

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Buying in season saves you money and guarantees fresh meals delivered to the table. Luckily for us, our warm September means strawberry season is still here.

 

 

 

My first post features my favourite summer meal, a healthy salad loaded with fresh fruit. It’s a lighter option for lunch or dinner and has plenty of alternatives to suit your needs.

 

Use recipes as a guideline and let your creativity flow


Recipe: Strawberry pecan summer salad 

DSC05543.jpg(Photo courtesy of I Wash You Dry)

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 6 oz spring mix
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries, stems removed
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 avocado cut into squares
  • 1/2 cup sliced cucumbers
  • balsamic vinaigrette

 

 

Instructions:

  1. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add pecans and brown sugar, stirring to coat. Cook over medium heat until the sugar begins to stick and caramelize (about 3 minutes). Spread out pecans on a baking sheet to cool.
  2. In a salad bowl layer the spinach leaves, strawberries, avocado, cucumbers, goat cheese and pecans. Add the dressing when ready to serve.

 


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(Photo courtesy of I Wash You Dry)

Alternatives & Suggestions: 

  • Goat cheese is my favourite but feta is a great alternative – use what you prefer.
  • This salad can be substituted with any leafy greens (spinach, arugula, kale).
  • Add in any extra fruit for extra flavour – try apple or pear.
  • Feeling adventurous? Try making your own dressing. My favourite is honey poppy seed dressing or strawberry balsamic vinaigrette .
    • If on a time crunch or not up to making your own dressing, any balsamic, oil and vinegar, or poppy seed dressing from the store will still taste great.
  • My final suggestion: make extra candied pecans! If you have a sweet tooth like me, they make the perfect snack and make a great holiday gift.
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Photo Courtesy of The Healthy Apple

I would love your feedback. Let me know how you made your salad, if it satisfied your taste buds, or add suggestions in the comment box for me to try.

 

Cheers!

Randi Ptolemy

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