Kitchen Essentials

Today I wanted to share a lesson from Precision Nutrition. It’s a great summary for those people who are working to build their kitchen and cooking skills so that they can do more cooking at home. It can be intimidating for those who have never really cooked before. Here are some great tips to get you started!

Many things can improve your kitchen coolness, such as:

The right equipment

A regular preparation system or ritual

A “can-do” attitude and willingness to experiment

Today we’ll give you the first two, and help you to make meal planning simple and easy. (You’ll have to supply the attitude on your own!)

Essential kitchen equipment

You don’t have to have all of these . . . but they sure do come in handy.

Slow cooker
Set it and forget it. You can easily make enough food for several meals in one batch, with only minimal prep time. (More on that later.)

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Blender
Helps you whip up Super Shakes, salad dressings, soups . . .

Good cookware
You don’t need much. A simple non-stick omelet pan and a thick-bottomed sauté or frying pan will do the trick. Pair those up with a slow cooker, and you’re good to go.

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A quality chef’s knife
A good chef’s knife makes chopping your veggies and slicing your meats a breeze. You can get a good knife for $35 or so, but if you’re looking for something other than steel, check out the super-sharp (and slightly more expensive) ceramic knives.

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A silicon spatula
Perfect for scrambled eggs and omelets.

A wooden spoon
Great for stir-fry and general stovetop cooking.

Cutting board
Because you don’t want to hack up your countertop.

Food containers
Cook and prep in bulk; save your meals in the fridge or freezer.

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It might not sound like much, but these will take care of 99% of your cooking needs. Really.

Your trusted food prep system

Unless you love cooking from scratch and have lots of free time, don’t make all your meals on the spot.

Make your own meal prep simple and easy by having a food preparation system.

Here’s what we suggest.

You may have heard about the idea of Sunday Ritual where you spend a few hours on food preparation.

Sunday is a day that most folks have a little extra time. But it doesn’t have to be Sunday; it can be any day(s) you like. And you can do “mini-meal-prep rituals” any time, such as first thing in the morning, or in the evening as you make dinner.

Here’s a quick refresher on what you can do as part of your “food prep system” activities.

Chop veggies for stir-fries, soups, chili, or to eat raw. You can also buy pre-washed, pre-chopped or baby veggies.

Cook bulk protein like ground beef, chicken, or tofu. You can use a countertop grill (such as a George Foreman grill), an outdoor BBQ grill, or a roasting tray in your oven. Boil up a pile of eggs. Whatever works for you.

Make a large quantity of easily-frozen or refrigerated dishes such as soups, stews, and chili. We give you a couple ideas on what to throw in a slow cooker below.

Pop some ingredients for Super Shakes (protein powder, oats, etc.) into containers so you can grab and go.

Do some extra food prep while you’re waiting for something else to cook. For example, while dinner is simmering or your breakfast oatmeal is in the microwave, chop a few veggies, wash some extra salad greens, make a Super Shake, etc. to have on hand for later.

Make extra of whatever you’re cooking for any given meal. Pop the leftovers into smaller containers, and you’ve got your meals for tomorrow. It takes almost the same amount of time to scramble 4 or 6 eggs as it does to scramble 2.

You get the idea.

Shop and cook in bulk and think about how to create an “assembly line” that works for you and your own lifestyle.

If you’re truly slammed for time but have a little extra cash, consider a healthy meal delivery service. Even having someone else prep a meal or two a day can help a lot.

The more confident you feel in the kitchen, the more confident you’ll feel creating healthy meals.

Have fun and enjoy learning new stuff!

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