Bakeware: One 13×9 Pyrex and two 8-inch circles

Chef's Knife: Buy a size that feels comfortable for you. It’s better to have a cheap, sharp knife that you replace every few months or so than a dull, fancy, expensive knife.

Cutting Board: Two plastic cutting boards, one for proteins and one for everything else.

Dishrags: Multitask cloths for spills, drying, and handling hot things

Garlic Press:Garlic is good, saving time is even better.  

Grater: Because buying pre-shredded cheese is a no.

Grill Pan: So good for cooking all proteins, get one with a grill side and a flat griddle

Mixing Bowls: You shouldn’t be mixing pancake batter in a soup bowl

Non-Stick Skillet: As mentioned in Eggs-cellent, one large and one small

Pans: A 3-quart saucepan and a 2-quart saucepan

Pots: One large 4-quart soup pot

Sheet Pans: At least three of varying sizes

Mixing Bowls: Three different sizes

Tongs: Stainless steel, needed for flipping, tossing, grilling…

Strainer: I think I still have wounds from straining pasta by putting a plate over the pot. SMH.

Utensils: Two to three wooden spoons, both kinds of spatulas, and whisk. 

Zester: Lemon and lime zest make the world go round

If you are really fancy and cook a lot, add these in, too:

Blender: For smoothies, sauces, and soups, but make sure it’s a good one; don’t buy one at all if you don't do the research. 

Mandolin: This creates thin slices which you can use or quickly chop for a easy julienne. 

Mini Food Processor: Makes creating dressings and spreads--and chopping garlic--so easy

Scissors: For the kitchen, only if you’re serious; you’ll need them, trust

 

That’s it! There is a misconception that it takes a lot of tools and gadgets to create a masterpiece, thus leading to all these useless things in your kitchen that end up gathering dust and cluttering everything. But seriously, when is the last time you used that bagel slicer or butter spreader?

Go over this checklist and please equip your kitchen. If I come to your house and you’re missing more than three items, I won’t cook and you shouldn’t either. We are not in college; no more irons as griddles. It is so frustrating to not be prepared, but add a few basic tools and the kitchen is your playground.