Ramen, Macaroni and Cheese, quesadillas, spaghetti, pizza, pizza, pizza, and, well…pizza.
Sound familiar? College “cooking” at its finest. Not many 20-somethings know their way around the kitchen after leaving the comfort of the endless buffet at the college’s dining center
Now, as a warning to all of you, I am absolutely NOT an expert in the kitchen. My mom and dad are still scared to let me help out when I’m home. Yes, they have every reason to be. I recently mutilated our bread bowl for spinach dip.
I know I’m not the only one struggling to make new things and try out recipes at home. I would have found it easier when I was shopping for my first apartment to have a list. I’m a HUGE list person. So I have compiled what I think every young adult NEEDS in the kitchen to start them off. I’m not going to list the obvious silverware, cups, and plates, but this isn’t going to be fancy appliances that you can’t tell which side is up even after reading instructions. Practical. Simple. Useful. Must have gadgets:
My mom bought one of these for me when I was moving into my college dorm. I laughed thinking, what the heck will I use this for? Well, its magical. It heats water incredibly fast even to a boil. This is perfect for those lazy lunch days or quick dinners before diving into a book or Netflix series. I’ve recently been using mine for instant coffee and hot chocolate, but those “college” meals like Ramen and Instant Mac are even easier with this. They’re super cheap too! – Find one here.
Side Note: I deserve a medal or a advertising job from Amazon. I swear I keep them in business single-handily.
George Foreman 2 serving grill
This is the best way to cook simple, healthy meals. I use it all the time to grill up chicken breasts. Clean up tip: put damp paper towels or napkins on the grill while it is still hot (not plugged in) while you are eating. This keeps the grease from hardening making for a quick and easy cleanup. Find one here.
Good pots and pans
I learned my lesson the hard way. I hate spending money so the bright eyed bushy tail 19 year old I used to be spent pennies on a pot and pan set from Amazon- The ONLY time I regret using Amazon. Food stuck in them making them a pain to clean. When I did clean them, the surface easily scratched. I accidently made hazardous eggs, the surface coating flaked looking deceivingly like pepper. Yuck. So when I moved out of my college apartment, I decided to invest in some better pots and pans. I am still cheap so I found some great ones at TJ Maxx. They may have a limited selection, but you can’t beat the prices of higher quality products.
A Slow Cooker
This was or will be one of your first gifts when you move off campus. I just got one recently and I love it! The only problem that I have is preparing meals in the morning so that I can let them cook all day while I’m at class and work. I’ve found it easier to brown hamburger and thaw chicken the night before and getting everything ready to throw in. Other than that- you can’t go wrong. I only look for the easy, cheap ingredient recipes, but it seems like that’s almost all there is. I find all my recipes on Pinterest. My favorite is the chili I whip up every once and awhile. For as wonderful as these babies are, they are also very inexpensive and they come in all sorts of sizes perfect for dips, food, and soups. I love THIS one.
I was looking for a blender while I was living in my college apartment and my parents answered my prayers with a Ninja blender. It’s heavy duty so I can blend anything from fruits and sauces to pizza and cookie dough. Although I haven’t tried yet, but they said its so powerful that you can juice fruits and veggies because of the sharp blades and high speeds. Primarily, I make smoothies on the go in the travel cups that came with it, but I have made pesto and a chipotle sauce as well. These are not cheap, but they are a great quality blender that will last you a long time. THIS is the one most similar to mine.
- Not so obvious- The following are all things I never thought to buy when shopping.
- Magnets- they are surprisingly obligatory
- Magnetic whiteboard for the fridge- great for quick shopping lists you can write down later
- Oven mitts- yeah I used a towel for a year.
- Tupperware- don’t be afraid to reuse Cool-Whip and butter containers. THIS is my favorite though.
- Cutting Board- wood is best for your knives (don’t forget those)
- Tongs- these go great with your George Foreman
- Water pitcher- I use a Britta, but without the spendy filters. I just use it to keep cold water on hand
- Utensil holder- no one with gaps- I have learned I don’t always think when shopping
- Coffee maker- I have a Tassimo, but we all know Keurig is the most popular. I’m looking into getting a French Press as I type.
I got a Le Creuset dutch oven and matching spatulas for Christmas and it is BEAUTIFUL (eggplant color). I haven’t used it yet, but very excited to. Is it sad that I’m excited about kitchen stuff? *sigh*
What other appliances have you found you can’t live without?