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First 10 Things to Buy for Your New Kitchen

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Whether you're just moving into a new home, or you're updating your current kitchen, there are certain things you should purchase. These top 10 items will get you through just about any cooking situation and will make your culinary life that much more enjoyable. 

1.Knives. In the kitchen, your knives are invaluable tools. They should be sharp and feel comfortable in your hand, and despite what you may think, a dull blade is a dangerous blade. If the blade of your knife is dull, you'll apply more pressure which could cause your grip to slip and you could injure yourself. 

When purchasing a knife set, stick with a few essentials: a chef knife, paring knife, serrated knife and carving knife. These four will get you through most any situation. Choose a knife with a comfortable grip with a blade that extends the full length of the handle for proper balance and weight. 

2. Cutting boards. Cutting boards might seem like an afterthought, but if you've just spent time and money on granite countertops, don't use them as a cutting board. Protect them as much as you can with a sturdy cutting board. A thick wood cutting board is perfect for vegetables and fruit and a large plastic cutting board is good for raw proteins. Don't cross-contaminate your boards by cutting fruit on your meat board or vice versa, and be sure to wash your cutting boards thoroughly after each use to keep them in top shape. 

3. Cookware
. Your old rusty cookware won't hold up forever. When you remodel your kitchen, your new kitchen deserves new cookware. Invest in quality pieces that are sturdy, medium to heavy-weight aluminum, anodized aluminum or stainless steel. If you don't want to invest in an entire cookware set, stick with these essential items: 10-inch skillet, deep-sided pan/skillet, 3-quart saucepan, 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven (cast iron is best) and an 8-quart stockpot. Optional (but well-worth it) is a cast iron skillet. If you decide to buy a cast iron skillet, be prepared for a bit of upkeep as they need to be hand washed and properly oiled. 

4. Slow cooker. A slow cooker will become your best friend during the fall and winter. Anyone's dream of coming home from work to dinner made is easily attainable with a slow cooker in your new kitchen. Put all your ingredients in the bowl before you head off to work and by the time you get home, a warm and hearty meal is waiting for you when you arrive. When shopping, look for one with a timer setting that will automatically switch from "cooking" to "warming" when time runs out. While not mandatory in slow cooking, it will save you from the potential threat of your cooking liquid running too low before you get home. 

5. Fridge. Your fridge and freezer deserve an update, but before you go shopping, whip out the measuring tape! Then, figure out which style works for you -- freezer on top, freezer on bottom, side-by-side? There are many combinations to consider. A freezer on top is best for those of us who buy frozen foods in bulk while a freezer on the bottom is great for anyone who frequents the farmers market for fresh produce quite often. A side-by-side is great if you're looking for a fridge that gives you plenty of access to both compartments without using a step stool.

6. Oven and stovetop. Your oven and stovetop is where the magic happens! It's where you transform a pile of ingredients into your famous chili or your grandmother's apple pie. A convection-style oven uses a fan to circulate the hot air saving you time and energy dollars. Depending on whether you have a gas or electric stove connection, you'll be able to decide which cooking method you prefer. 

7. Dinnerware and flatware. Spruce up your dining room with a new colorful place setting pattern. Updating your dishes is an easy way to add color to your home without breaking out the paint buckets. 
8. Coffee maker. Upgrade your coffee maker to make sure you get the best cup of joe in the morning. If you don't want to buy a new one, just give your old one a really good cleaning. You'd be surprised what a difference it will make! To deep clean your coffee maker, empty and clean the filter. Pour three cups of water and three cups of white vinegar into the water chamber then switch on the brew cycle. Halfway through the cycle turn the machine off and let the solution sit for an hour. Switch the coffee maker back on to complete the cycle. Run at least one cycle of clean water to rinse the machine of any leftover vinegar. 

9. Food processor or blender. Having to chop excessive amounts of vegetables can be relaxing to some. For others, it's torture. If you're one of the latter, consider buying a food processor or blender to make quick work of your prep time. If you decide on a blender you'll be able to make yourself a smoothie as a treat for saving all that time. 

10. Baking dishes. Get rid of your old rusty pie pans and cake molds. A new set of non-stick baking dishes will get you back in the mood to bake your favorite treats for friends and family--maybe just in time for a housewarming party in your new home. When shopping for a new set, glass bakeware makes it easy to go from oven to table and then into the fridge because it absorbs the heat instead of reflecting it. Your foods will cook faster, and anything that will get brownies in your stomach faster can't be a bad thing. Can it? 

Whether you're stocking up your kitchen essentials for your new home, or you're treating yourself to new equipment after a recent kitchen remodel, these 10 items are a good place to start.

Ana M. Ferrer  Posted by Ana M. Ferrer on November 4, 2014

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