Skip the Food Fight: Culinary Calm In the Kitchen

Studio 5 contributor, Kathleen Alder believes that with a few kitchen fundamentals you can master culinary calm . . . allowing you to save time, money and your sanity.



Pans (Heavy metal pans are best, food cooks more evenly)

• 1 quart saucepan plus cover

• 2 quart saucepan plus cover

• 5 quart saucepan plus cover

• 8 quart saucepan plus cover

• Stock pot and cover

• 6 or 8 inch covered skillet

• 12 inch covered skillet

• Large roasting pan

• Two 9″ round cake pans

• 9 x 13″ cake pan

• 8-10″ spring form pan

• 9″ pie pan

• 2 cookie sheets

• 2 rectangular cooling racks

Baking dishes

• 9 x 13″ glass baking dish

• 1 quart glass casserole dish

• 2 quart glass casserole dish

• 9 x 13″ glass baking dish

Kitchen tools

• Measuring tools

o 2 sets of measuring spoons

o 2 sets of measuring cups

o 1 c. glass measuring cup

o 4 c. glass measuring cup

o 8 c. glass or plastic measuring cup

General Tools

o Slotted spoon

o 2-3 wooden spoons

o Sturdy metal mixing spoons

o Soup ladle

o 2-3 Rubber scraper spatulas

o Tongs

o 4 hot pads

o Straight metal and plastic spatulas for turning

o Angled metal and plastic spatulas

o 1 metal or plastic colander

o Several sizes of stainless steel sieves to use for straining and sifting

o 3 different sizes of wire whisks

o Vegetable peeler

o Grater with several sizes of grates

o Rolling pin

o Can opener

o Kitchen timer

o Ice pick

o Kitchen sheers

o Cutting mat

o Plastic storage containers w/covers

• Knives

o 2 paring knives

o Long serrated knife

o 8-10″ chef’s knife

o Pizza cutter

• Mixing /serving bowls

o 1 quart mixing bowl

o 2 quart mixing bowl

o 4 quart mixing bowl

o 10-12 quart mixing bowl with cover

Small Appliances

o Hand held blender (Bamix)

o Large mixer (Bosch, Kitchenaid)

o George Forman or Pannini grill

o Food processor

o Toaster oven

o Crock pot

o Microwave


o Plastic bags (large zippered, sandwich zippered, vegetable bags)

o Foil

o Plastic wrap

o Paper towels


Spices and Baking Supplies

• Bay leaves

• Beef bouillon

• Brown Sugar

• Celery seeds

• Chicken bouillon

• Chili powder

• Chocolate Chips

• Cornstarch

• Cream of tartar

• Dill

• Dried Garlic

• Dried Onions

• Dry mustard

• Flour

• Ground Cinnamon

• Ground Cloves

• Ground Nutmeg

• Light corn syrup

• Oregano

• Paprika

• Pepper

• Poultry Seasoning

• Powdered Ginger

• Powdered/Confectioners Sugar

• Salt

• Sweet Basil dried

• Tarragon

• Thyme

• Unsweetened cocoa powder

• Vanilla extract

• White Sugar

General Pantry Supplies

• Applesauce

• Balsamic vinegar

• Black and green olives

• Brown rice

• Canned beans

• Canned creamed soups

• Canned fruit cocktail

• Canned peaches

• Canned pears

• Canned crushed pineapple

• Canned tuna

• Canned/stewed tomatoes

• Chocolate syrup

• Cold cereal

• Dried beans

• Dried onion soup mix

• Evaporated milk

• Gelatin

• Graham crackers

• Honey

• Instant pudding

• Jelly/jam

• Maple syrup

• Non-stick cooking spray

• Olive oil

• Pasta—elbow, spaghetti, lasagna etc.

• Peanut butter

• Pickle relish

• Raisins

• Red wine vinegar

• Salsa

• Soda crackers

• Tomato paste

• Tomato sauce

• Vegetable oil

• Vegetable shortening

• White rice

• White wine vinegar

Refrigerator Storage

• Butter

• Carrots

• Catsup

• Celery

• Cheese

• Cottage cheese

• Cream cheese

• Eggs

• Lettuce

• Mayonnaise

• Milk

• Mustard

• Peppers

• Real Lemon juice

• Salad dressing

• Sour cream

• Worcestershire sauce

• Yogurt

Freezer Storage

• Chicken breasts

• Corn

• Frozen whipped topping

• Green beans

• Hamburger

• Ice cream

• Mixed vegetables

• Nuts

• Peas

• Spinach

Fresh Vegetables

• Apples

• Bananas

• Onions

• Orange

Know your measurement equivalents:

• 3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon

• 1 1/2 teaspoons = 1/2 tablespoon

• 4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup

• 8 tablespoons = 1/2 cup

• 16 tablespoons = 1 cup

• 1 cup = 1/2 pint

• 2 cups = 1 pint

• 4 cups = 1 quart

• 2 pints = 1 quart

• 1 cup = 8 fluid ounces

• 32 ounces = 1 quart

• 2 quarts = 1/2 gallon

• 4 quarts = 1 gallon

• 1 stick of butter = 8 tablespoons = 1/2 cup

Preparing without a recipe

As you contemplate what to feed your family, there are many meals that can be prepared without a recipe. Just use your imagination along with your knowledge of ingredients and how they react with one another and then you can come up with hundreds (maybe even thousands) of combinations. By preparing the proteins with spices and adding a few other ingredients you can have a delicious, nutritious meal. Below are the ingredients to consider:

1. Proteins can be marinated, pounded, tenderized and then baked, fried, boiled, barbequed and smoked; seasoned, plain, eaten hot or cold.

2. Vegetables can be eaten raw, sautéed, steamed, fried, battered, baked, seasoned, plain, served hot or cold.

3. Grains can be served in many different ways in many different forms.

4. Fruits can be served raw, cooked, in gelatin salads, mixed with other fruits, with sauces or eaten alone and plain.

5. Dairy products can be used to consume plain, to marinate with, to enhance, or garnish.

1. Protein

o Legumes

o Beef

o Chicken

o Turkey

o Pork

o Fish

2. Vegetables

o Tomatoes

o Green Beans

o Peppers

o Squash

♦ Summer

♦ Winter

o Carrots

o Rutabagas

o Cabbage

o Broccoli
o Cauliflower
o Onions
o Potatoes
o Corn
o Potatoes
o Tomatoes

3. Grains

o Whole and processed grains

♦ Wheat

♦ Oats

♦ Barley

♦ Etc.

o Breads

o Pastas

o Tortillas

o Rice

♦ White

♦ Wild

4. Fruit

o Apples

o Citrus

o Avocados

o Bananas

o Pineapple

o Pears

o Grapes

5. Dairy

o Milk

o Sour Cream

o Buttermilk

o Cream Cheese

o Butter

Did you know?

1. You can slice strawberries, cheese and mushrooms in your egg slicer?

2. If you line your measuring cup with plastic you can measure shortening without a mess?

3. When you freeze fish you should immerse it in water in a Zip-Lock bag to keep it fresh.

4. If you spray your grater, measuring cups and spoons with oil you can grate cheese and measure sticky /greasy foods without sticking?

5. You can scoop a Kiwi or avocado out of it’s skin and not have to peel it?

6. You can peel a whole head of garlic in your mixer?

7. You can decorate cakes with Zip-Loc bags?

8. If you have to add several eggs to a mixture at one time, it is easier to break them all into a small bowl and they will pour in one at a time?

9. You can slice celery from the top down while it is still attached in a bunch then wash the slices afterwards.

10. In order to always have celery and green peppers on hand for your soups and stews, slice them up, blanch in the microwave and store in serving size Zip-Loc bags?

11. You can get a silky look to your frosted cake by blowing it gently with your blow dryer?

12. You can clean up spilled oil by sprinkling flour on it. Sweep it up and spray the surface with window cleaner to remove the remaining oil?

13. You can use baking soda to clean delicate surfaces?

14. You can clean darkened aluminum pans by putting cream of tarter in boiling water in the pan?

15. You can clean the microwave by boiling ¼ c. vinegar and 1 c. water in the oven for 5 min. It will dissolve stuck on food and deodorize the oven?

16. You can take day old bagels and slice them very thin and put them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Dry them in your oven at 300 degrees for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool. Store in a Ziploc bag in a cool dark place. Serve in place of chips with dips or with a jam dip?

17. You should always use parchment paper when making cookies to prevent sticking and eliminate the need to wash the pan?

18. You can put paper rolls over your cords to keep them neat and organized?

19. You can save money by buying in bulk whenever possible. i.e., pudding, Jello, eggs, meat, canned goods, sugar, flour, powdered sugar, peanut butter, shortening, etc?

20. You should, always grease the pan when you bake cakes but make sure you flour it too so the cake can raise?
21. You can color frosting and play dough with Kool-Aid.?

22. You can use Tapioca to thicken meat juices in your slow cooker?

23. You can make up your roll or bread dough two days in advance? Then shape into rolls or bread, cover and allow 3 hours to raise.

24. You know that you can put loaves of frozen bread at night before you go to bed and bake it in the morning so your family will wake up to freshly baked bread.

25. You can cook twice as much of something, serve half now and freeze the rest of another meal. You don’t have any more mess but you have twice as much product.

26. You can make potato salad in the microwave. Peel and cube your potatoes, cook them for 10 minutes in a plastic bag. Cool, add your boiled potatoes, mix ranch dressing in enough mayonnaise to coat everything and refrigerate overnight to blend flavors.

27. You can put your small portions of vegetables in one ZipLoc bag and when you have accumulated enough, you will have a wonderful variety to put in your soup.

28. You don’t have to cook your noodles before you add them to your casseroles? Just put them in the dish, pour your sauce over them, then add ½ – 1 cup of additional liquid. They will absorb the liquid and come out just fine.

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