Essential Kit for Your Kitchen
A fully stocked, well equipped kitchen is a home cook’s best friend. When it comes to feeling confident in the kitchen, knowing that you have all the right tools at your fingertips is a great place to start.
Trying out a new recipe can catch you off guard if it calls for something that you don’t use every day, no matter if you’re a novice cook or an old hand in the kitchen. The good news is that we like to keep all of our slimming friendly recipes nice and simple – and that means in terms of kit as well as ingredients!
Wherever possible we’ll only use equipment that comes in handy time and time again, so your cupboards won’t be cluttered with expensive bits of kit that you’ll use once and forget about.
Whether you’re kitting out your kitchen for the first time, or simply having a good old sort out, we’re here to help you fill those cupboards with the essential equipment you’ll need to cook all your favourite Pinch of Nom recipes at home.
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Along with the usual cutlery and serving spoons, there are a few essential utensils you’ll be reaching for with almost every recipe you’ll make.
First and foremost is a good set of knives. Practically everything you’ll make will start with some chopping, slicing or dicing, and good quality, sharp knives are always worth the investment.
We’ve got a whole guide to the best types of kitchen knives right here.
To get started though, you can pick up a set like this one, which includes a range of sizes, from a vegetable knife to a bread knife.
You can’t chop without a chopping board! They protect your kitchen surfaces and help to keep the cooking process hygienic, as they’re easy to wash up. It’s a good idea to have a couple of them so that you can chop your meat and veggies separately. You can pick up a set like this, which is durable and includes a few different sizes.
With your knives and chopping boards you’re all set to slice and dice. This Chopped Thai Chicken Salad is the perfect recipe to test drive your new kit. It’s fresh, fragrant and so easy to make!
It might seem a little basic, but a silicone spatula will come in handy for almost anything you fancy making. Heat resistant and easy to clean, they’re great for mixing, scraping ingredients out of bowls and moving food around in the pan as it cooks.
This set from Amazon includes a few shapes and sizes.
Some utensils like ladles, spaghetti spoons and tongs are handy to have, but not necessarily essential. While you can manage without these, you can’t have mashed potatoes without a masher, so guess what’s next on our list?!
We like a strong, stainless steel masher like this one from Amazon. It’ll get out all those lumps so that you’ve got beautifully creamy mash for your roast dinner or to top your cottage pie.
And mash isn’t just for potatoes – this Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Mash is so delicious and comforting.
Another kitchen staple is a good cheese grater. We always recommend picking up a microplane grater – you won’t believe how much further your cheese goes when you grate it really finely. You can also use it to grate garlic and ginger (as well as spices such as nutmeg) so it’ll get plenty of use.
Finely grate the Cheddar for this Cheesy Courgette Gratin and a little bit will go a long way.
Pots and pans
If you’ve never invested in a proper set of pans, or if it’s time for some new ones, the choice can be overwhelming. Which ones are essential and which can you do without? Should you go for stainless steel? Which ones work on an induction hob?
If you’re starting from scratch, this guide on How to Use Different Pans and Cookware is the perfect place to start. It goes into lots of detail about each different kind of pan, how to use it and how to look after it.
A good saucepan kit is the easiest place to start. Most sets include a few sizes of saucepan, plus a frying pan – so you’ll have what you need for lots of different recipes.
We love these Ninja pans that are available on Amazon. They’re not the cheapest set around but they’re hard to beat on quality. This set includes four saucepans and a frying pan, so it’s a great starter kit.
The frying pan will be useful for lots of our Fakeaway recipes, including our ever-popular Fakeaway Fried Rice. It’s easier to make than you might think!
You can use your saucepans for rice, pasta, vegetables and potatoes – but you’ll also need to pick up a colander to strain off the water when you’re done cooking. One like this from Amazon is also handy for washing and rinsing fruit and vegetables.
Have your colander ready to strain your pasta when you make this Beef Ragu Fettuccine. It’s a classic, hearty dinner for any day of the week.
For cooking in the oven, you’ll need an oven tray and a roasting dish. If you’re going to invest in just one, a casserole dish that can go on the hob as well as into the oven will serve so many purposes.
A good quality ovenproof casserole dish with a lid is perfect for casseroles, stews, one pot dishes and slow cook recipes. You can sear your meat and get the flavour started on the hob and then finish it off in the oven.
A dish like this is ideal for making our Oven Baked Pasanda Curry. Rich and flavourful, it’s hard to believe this is slimming friendly.
You might not think of yourself as much of a baker, but with the right kit you’ll be surprised what you can make! There are a few baking related kitchen essentials that are good to have in the cupboard, even if you don’t have much of a sweet tooth.
For starters, a non-stick muffin tray is ideal for Breakfast Muffins and Yorkshire Puddings, as well as sweet bakes.
Why not try whipping up a batch of these Strawberry Oat Muffins for a healthy breakfast on the go?
When it comes to baking, you often have to be more precise with your measurements than you would with other types of recipes. That said, a weighing scale is a kitchen essential when you’re trying to bake – but also when you’re counting calories too.
You’ll be surprised at how many extra calories you can add to your meals by not weighing out your ingredients correctly. A simple digital kitchen scale like this one will do the job and come in useful time and time again.
Use your scale to weigh out the ingredients for our unbelievably good Chocolate Brownie recipe. These are so dreamy with a cup of tea.
Along with a bowl to mix ingredients in, you’ll also be needing a whisk. Useful for egg recipes and salad dressings as well as baking, a proper whisk helps to get more air into your mixture – which is key for light fluffy cakes and omelettes. You can just whisk ingredients together with a fork, but a real whisk is inexpensive and makes all the difference.
Our Lemon Drizzle Cake is so light because we whip up the egg whites to get as much air as possible into the batter.
Although there are some pretty snazzy kitchen gadgets out there, if you were to buy them all you’d spend a fortune and probably never get around to using them.
A few gadgets do class as essential in our eyes though, including a blender. You could opt for a full food processor or just pick up a hand blender – either way, you’ll need one for soups, smoothies, sauces and dips.
This hand blender will do the job nicely, blitzing all your ingredients together until they reach the desired texture for the recipe you’re making.
Blend up this Carrot, Orange and Thyme Soup for a warming lunch. It’s vibrant, flavourful and full of goodness.
Not strictly essential but super handy, a slow cooker can take the hard work out of so many recipes. Definitely worth the investment, there are lots of affordable slow cookers around.
Once you’ve got one, all you have to do is throw in your ingredients and leave them to cook low and slow throughout the day. By the time you get home your house will smell incredible – and your dinner will already be cooked.
You can leave this Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole to work its magic all day. It’s perfect when you’re tired and hungry and want a big bowl of something tasty and warm when you walk through the door.
What’s top of your list for essential kit for your kitchen? Let us know over on our Facebook Group where there are almost 1 million members sharing ideas and moral support for your slimming journey. Come and join the fun!