Tic-Tac-Toe

Tic-Tac-Toe is a classic kids game that has been around for thousands of years, originating in ancient Egypt. This classic game is often referred to as an educational game for young kids because it teaches them and understanding of predictability, problem solving, hand-eye coordination, turn taking, and strategizing.  Although once they play it enough times and have a true understanding of the strategy, they soon realize that it is a game where no one wins.
I use to love playing this game with my daughter Emma when she was younger. Seeing the excitement on her face when she thought “this time, I’m going to win”  but sadly didn’t lol. She got bored of it really quickly and then we moved on to checkers after that.   But one afternoon I was trying to figure out a craft to do with a piece of wood from an old tree truck that we had cut down. I thought it might be cute to make a Tic-Tac-Toe board and to see if Emma wanted to help, so we had a nice little reminder of one of the first games we use to play together.  Plus, it was a great way to make something out of an old tree from our property.

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Well, as it turns out, Emma wasn’t that excited to make a Tic-Tac-Toe board with me so I decided to do it myself.

Here is how to make the Tic-Tac-Toe board:

  • Paul cut a piece of the tree trunk about 4 inches thick. I took an electric sander with 150 grit paper and sanded the top of what would be the grid surface, until it was smooth. I then took painters masking tape and taped off where I wanted the grid positioned and painted the grid lines with black acrylic paint.
  • Once the back paint was dry, I removed the masking tape and then varnished the surface and sides of the tree trunk with a water based clear varnish.
  • Once the varnish dried, I decided to show Emma in hopes that it would inspire her to want to help create the game pieces. Well, it worked. Momma got her wish and Emma was finally excited to help. We wanted to do something fun with the game pieces, so Emma and I looked up ideas on Pinterest. Instead of just the traditional X’s and O’s, we decided on ladybugs and bumble bees.
  • we went to the dollar store and purchased, a bag of smooth river rocks, yellow, red and white paint. We then turned 5 rocks into ladybugs and 5 rocks into bumble bees. I can’t tell you how much fun we had doing it and talking about how we use to play the game together.

    We placed the game board on a small side table in our outdoor sitting lounge. Every now and then we find ourselves wanting to play a game or telling someone who sees the board the story behind it. It’s moment like these that mean the most to me, I hope Emma will look back at these crafts we do together and smile and perhaps want to do them with her kids.

I hope this inspires you to be creative in your home- enjoy!

Simply Refreshing: Watermelon Basil Salad

One of my most favorite salads that I love to make on a hot summer day is this watermelon basil salad. The ingredients of watermelon, basil, fresh figs, feta, pine nuts and balsamic vinegar, make it the perfect combination of sweet and tart. Bright, colourful, easy, refreshing and super light, what more could you ask for. Every time I make this salad, it take me back to my trip to Spain, where I first had this delicious combination and I have been making it ever since. If I can’t find fresh figs, I will just omit them from the recipe and it still taste wonderful. Try it and you will see why this has become one of my favorite go to salads in the summer.

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Here is what you will need:

  • 1/2 watermelon cut into chunks
  • 6 purple figs cut into quarters (optional)
  • 1 cup of cubed or crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup nine nuts
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Fresh cracked pepper

Here is how to make the salad:

  • Cut the watermelon into cubes and add it to a large bowl.
  • Cut the figs (if using) into quarters and add to the large bowl.
  • Cut the feta and add it and the pine nuts to the large bowl.
  • Add the basil leaves to the large bowl.
  • Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and fresh cracked pepper, toss the salad and serve.

I hope this recipe inspires you in your kitchen – enjoy!

Summertime Sangria

When entertaining, I like to serve one main cocktail and then have some basic alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages on hand for those who don’t wish to partake in the beverage I have chosen to serve.  A few weeks ago I had some of Paul’s family here for food and cocktails and given that it was the start of the warm weather in Toronto, I decided to make a huge pitcher of sangria.

Sangria is one of those beverages that is perfect for summertime entertaining. On a hot summer day, there’s nothing more refreshing than an ice-cold glass of sangria filled to the brim.

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Little is known about the origins of this flavourful Spanish drink but it has become a popular summertime beverage. It is generally believed that the word Sangria is taken from the Spanish word sangre meaning blood, in reference to the red color of this wonderful beverage.

You will find many versions of how to make sangria on the internet but the one I like the best is the one that I had when I was in Spain last year.

Here is what you will need:

  • One bottle of red wine (preferable Spanish)
  • 1/4 cup of brandy
  • 1/4 cup of Triple Sec or Quantro
  • 2 cups of orange juice (non pulp)
  • 2 cups of cranberry juice (like Tropicana)
  • Fresh cut fruit such as strawberries, blackberries, orange slices

Here is how to make it:

  • Add the sliced fruit to the bottom of a pitcher
  • Add the wine, brandy, Triple Sec, orange and cranberry juice to a pitcher
  • Let merry for a minimum of 30 minutes before serving

I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

BBQ Pizza Sauce

There is nothing like the summertime and cooking outdoors. As soon as the warm weather hits, Paul and I are outside cooking up a storm with the smoker and BBQ. Using the BBQ like a stove or oven is great especially during the warm weeks of summer when it is so hot, the last thing you want to do is heat up your kitchen cooking.

One of my favorite things to do on the BBQ is roasting tomatoes to make pizza sauce. The hint of smoke flavour you naturally get from roasting the ingredients on the BBQ is out of this world and creates such a unique taste to your pizzas or pizzettes.

BBQ Pizza Saoce

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Here is what you will need:

  • Vine Tomatoes
  • Whole garlic cloves
  • Fresh Basil leaves
  • Whole onion cut into wedges
  • Fresh Oregano
  • Fresh Thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive Oil

 

Here is how to make it:

  • Heat your BBQ to 425 (one burner on and one burner off. (If you have 4 burners, put the two outer burners on and the center ones off) this will create an oven like effect when cooking.
  • On a baking sheet fitted with parchment paper add your tomatoes, garlic, basil, onion, thyme, oregano.
  • Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and toss.

 

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  • Once your BBQ is at the right temperature, place the baking sheet on the off burners and close the BBQ lid. Cook for 25 minutes until the ingredients get soft and easily mashed with a fork.
  • Take the ingredients off the BBQ and let cool slightly.
  • Place the ingredients in a bowl and mash with a fork for a more rustic sauce or place in a food processor and blend until desired consistency.

I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

Biscuits with Sausage Gravy

Biscuits to me are one of the yummiest comfort foods you can eat. They taste so good warm out of the oven, smeared with butter, dipped in gravy or used as a breakfast sandwich. Whatever your preference, there is no mistaking that a good biscuit is both comforting and indulging.  For me, I love on a cold rainy day to make biscuits and sausage gravy. Nothing says warmth to me like fresh, light, fluffy mile high biscuits  smothered in a beautiful sausage gravy.
Traditionally I have made my biscuits with baking powder and baking soda but, I was watching Trisha Yearwood’s cooking show and she went to a biscuit cafe that made Angel biscuits with yeast. I had never seen biscuits made like this before, I worried that they would be dense like hockey pucks but they looked so good, I thought it was worth a try. WOW, they were delicious! Still very light and fluffy. I don’t know why I was worried about the yeast making them like hockey pucks, they definitely lived up to their name “Angel” biscuits.
So today’s post I am going to share with you a recipe for biscuits and sausage gravy that was inspired by Trisha Yearwood’s Angel biscuits.

The Biscuits

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Here is what you will need:

For the biscuits:

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm (90 to 110 degrees F) water
  • 1/2 ounce (2 packages) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, cold, cut into small squares, plus 4 tablespoons, melted
  • 2 cups buttermilk

 

For the sausage gravy:

  • 1 pound of ground sausage (any flavour you prefer)
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup of AP flour
  • 3 cups of milk (I used 2%)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Here is how to make it:

For the biscuits:

  • Preheat the oven to 425.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 3 tablespoons of the sugar.
  • In a small bowl, combine the warm water with the yeast and the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar; stir until the yeast is dissolved. Let stand until bubbles appear, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Using your hands, mix the 1 cup cold butter into the flour, breaking the butter into small pebbles, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk and the yeast mixture. Gently fold the flour into the wet ingredients. Keep mixing until a ball starts to form, then gently knead, 12 to 15 times, to create a smooth dough.
    Note: Trisha’s recipe covers the dough and lets it rest in a warm place for 1 hour at this point but I didn’t. I transferred the dough directly to a work surface without letting it rest.
  •  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and press out to 1- to 1 1/2-inches thick. Fold the dough in half, press again to 1- to 1 1/2-inches thick, and then fold again.
  • Cut the dough using a 2- to 3-inch round biscuit cutter, depending personal preference.
  • Place the biscuits on a baking sheet fitted with parchment; cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.IMG_E2547
  • Remove the plastic wrap and brush the tops with melted butter.
  • Bake until golden brown, 18 to 22 minutes, depending on size. Brush again with melted butter and serve immediately or let rest until sausage gravy is ready.

For Trisha Yearwood’s full recipe vist: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/trisha-yearwood/trisha-yearwoods-angel-biscuits-3236443

 

For the Sausage Gravy:

  • Place sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium heat until evenly brown. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon, leaving the drippings in the pan.
  • Stir in the butter until melted.
  • Add flour and stir until smooth.
  • Reduce heat to med-low, and cook until light brown. Gradually whisk in milk, and cook until thickened.
  • Stir in the cooked sausage.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • If gravy becomes too thick, stir in a little more milk.
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  • Cut biscuits in half crosswise, place on a serving dish. Pour gravy on top and serve.

I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

 

Baked Doughnuts – Just as good as fried

Whether you grew up with the “doughnuts” or the more modern “donuts,  it’s hard to resist these fresh baked treats. A classic snack that is prepared in various ways with various toppings or fillings to chose from – glazed, jelly or cream filled, dusted with powdered sugar or sprinkles, doughnuts are a delicious treat many people like to indulge in.
My Emma loves doughnuts, when she was really young and we would go grocery shopping, her favorite and last stop was at the doughnut counter.  I don’t think we ever went grocery shopping without stopping for one. Her order was always the same, vanilla dipped with coloured sprinkles. Today, she is more willing to venture out to include cinnamon sugar and powdered to her list of favourites.

With National Doughnut day around the corner (June 1), I thought I would make doughnuts as a treat for Emma. Now, there are two types of doughnut batters you can make –  yeast or cake. Yeast doughnuts are more the traditional doughnut that uses yeast and tends to be soft, fluffy but relies on the doughnut toppings or fillings for its sweetness. Cake doughnuts are made with what would resemble more of a cake batter, it tends to be more crumbly and a bit sweeter just like cake. I prefer yeast doughnuts, the struggle I always have is with the frying part of making doughnuts. I know there are people who believe if you are going to indulge than indulge big. I understand the mindset but I still feel that if there is a bit of a healthier way to enjoy something, then you should try. Doesn’t make you feel so guilty when indulging and when was the last time you ate just one doughnut.
Most doughnut recipes I have come across that bake the doughnuts vs fry, tend to be the cake batter ones. The recipe I am going to share with you, is a yeast dough that is baked. It was really hard to tell that they were baked and just like regular doughnuts that are amazing the day you bake them but can be heated in the microwave the next day to get that soft chewy texture back.

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts

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Here is what you will need:

For the dough:

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup  sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dried yeast
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup milk (I used 2%)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

For the cinnamon sugar

  • Melt 4 Tblsp  butter in a bowl
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of cinnamon

How to make the cinnamon sugar doughnuts:

For the dough

  • Mix the flour, yeast, sugar and salt together in a standing mixer fitted with dough hook.
  • In a saucepan, melt butter. Add milk, water and vanilla extract until just warm.
  •  With the standing mixer on speed 2, add the milk mixture and mix until everything is combined and the dough is smooth (about 5 minutes).
  •  Grease a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat lightly. Cover  with plastic wrap  and let the dough rise until doubled, 1 -2 hours.
  • Heat the oven at 350
  • Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Roll out to ½ “ thick.
  • Using a doughnut cut of your donuts. If you do not have a doughnut cuter circles.
  • Cover your donuts and let them rise at room temp for 30 minutes.
  • Unwrap the donuts. Brush the very top with melted butter.
  • Bake for 13 minutes.

For the cinnamon sugar

  • Melt  butter.
  • Mix sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
  • Take you donuts out the oven and while warm dip the doughnuts in melted butter and then toss into the cinnamon sugar.
  • Place on a wire rack to cool completely.

I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

 

To view the original doughnut recipe go to Gemma Stafford’s website at http://www.biggerbolderbaking.com/homemade-donuts/

Jalapeno Corn Bread

I know, another jalapeno recipe – clearly my family love jalapenos. Bare with me, this recipe is a good one.
If you are like me, I find that I make more of certain things based on the season that I am in. So as the spring becomes more sunny and warm, I find myself back in the kitchen ready to bake my favourite things like the recipe that I am going to share with you today.
Corn bread has become very popular outside the southern states because of its wonderful aroma and amazing texture. What I like about corn bread is that it has a basic favour that you can easily change up or personalize with the ingredients that you add to it. Like adding cheese and jalapenos  to take it over the top on the delicious scale. This recipe is a basic corn bread recipe that you can easily have fun with and add your own ingredients but I promise you, adding jalapenos and cheese will not disappoint!

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Here is what you will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup corn oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 6 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated  (i have also subbed the cheddar cheese with parmesan cheese)
  • 1 or 2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 green onions chopped (optional)

 

Here is how to make it:

  • Preheat an oven to 375°F. spray a 9-inch spring-form cake pan.
  • Sift together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
  • In another bowl, whisk the milk, sour cream, corn oil and egg.
  • Fold milk mixture into the flour mixture. Be careful to not overmix.
  • Gently stir in half of the grated cheese, green onion (if using) and the jalapeno
  • Pour into the prepared pan.
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  • Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Let cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.
  • Cut into squares and serve.

I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

Topsy Turvy Cherry Tomato Pizza

I love pizza, it is as simple as that. Now that the weather is warming up and the BBQ is going, I can find a reason to include pizza with almost every meal. It makes a great side dish to many BBQ menus. I have so many different types of pizza’s I like to make in the summer, thin crust, think crust, margarita, veggies, potato and garlic – the possibilities are endless. As we move through the spring and summer, you will see pizza pop up in my posts more often. One of my favorites is Cherry tomato pizza. I like this recipe because you need to prepare the pizza in a slightly different way. Instead of the traditional, roll the dough and place all the ingredients on it, you actually prepare your ingredients on a baking sheet and place the dough on top so, essentially you are cooking the pizza upside down. It is a great pizza that I am sure you will enjoy!

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Here is what you will need:

For The Topping

  • 1-2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 quart cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1/2 an onion diced
  • 1 package of diced pancetta
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • Diced bocconcini
  • Fresh thyme and oregano
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves plus small leaves for garnish

For The Pizza Dough

  • 1 cup (250 ml) warm water
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) sugar
  • 2 cups (500 ml) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt

How To Make The Pizza:

For The Topping

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  • In a frying pan over medium-low, heat the olive oil.
  • Add the onion and pancetta, cook for a couple of minutes before adding in the garlic.
  • Add the white wine, herbs and chili flakes and cook for a few minutes until the alcohol has cooked off and a nice sauce has formed.
  • Take off the heat and stir in the cherry tomatoes.

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  • Place tomato mixture on a non stick rimmed backing sheet and set aside. 

For The Dough
This pizza dough recipe is really simple and only takes a few minutes to prepare. I make mine in the food processor, but it is not essential. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook or you can make the dough by hand by making a well in the flour and salt and pour the liquids to the center. Work with your fingers gradually adding dry ingredients to the liquids until it forms a soft dough.

  •  In a bowl, combine the water, yeast and sugar. Let stand until the mixture foams approx. 5 minutes.
  • In a food processor, fitted with the plastic blade, combine the flour and salt. With the machine turned on low add the yeast mixture until a soft ball forms.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and knead for a few minutes on a floured surface to prevent sticking.
  • Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean cloth or plastic wrap.
  • Let the dough rise in a warm place draft free place for at least 30 minutes.
  • Cut the dough in half and freeze one half for another day or you can use both.
  • Once the dough has risen, on a lightly floured surface roll the dough to the shape of the rimmed baking sheet.
  • Place dough over rimmed baking sheet and cover the tomato and pancetta toppings with the dough.

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  • Place dough in a preheated 425° oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Let cook for 5 minutes and turn pizza out on a cutting board.
  • Cut into squares and serve.

I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

 

Mussels Marinara

Growing up in an Italian catholic household I was exposed to different foods and experiences. One of my favorite memories was Good Friday dinner. My grandmother spent all day in the kitchen making different fish and pastas, making sure she had something that everyone enjoyed. Often she would make so much it would be a feast fit for more than the 9 of us at the table, it would be a feast fit for a king. My favorite was her mussels. I remember being Emma’s age (11) sharing 4 pounds of mussels with my dad which, I am sure I ate 2 pounds just to myself lol but, I wouldn’t want or eat anything else, just her wonderfully steamed mussels. My love for mussels has never wavered, no matter how many I eat or how old I get. It is a special dinner that I enjoy making because it reminds me of my grandmother and fond memories of special occasions spent with my family but it also reminds me of special moments shared with my dad. Sitting together enjoying food and each others company.  Today, I love making mussels for Paul and no matter how long we have been together, I always tell him the story about Good Friday and how eating mussels always brings back fond childhood memories. So given this, here is my mussels marinara recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have.

Mussels Marinara

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Here is what you will need:

  • 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 small diced onion (optional)
  • 1 cup white wine, something that you would want to drink or serve to guests
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh baguette sliced

Here is how to make it:

  • Heat to olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add the onion (if using) and saute for 5 minutes
  • Add the garlic and saute until golden brown, about 2 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add red pepper flakes and wine, and cook until reduced by half.
  • Add the tomatoes and bring it to a simmer.
  • Scoop the mussels into the pan and cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until they all open, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Divide among 4 bowls and serve with bread for dipping.

I hope this inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

The Essentials – Pots And Pans Every Kitchen Should Have

The other day a friend of mine asked me my thoughts on what are the essential pots and pans every kitchen should have. I thought this was an interesting questions because with so many different sizes and styles, knowing which are the essentials can be difficult to figure out. Some things I think every cook needs to factor in before purchasing any cookware are; cookware material, maintenance, storage space and what if needed can work double duty in the kitchen.
Cookware material and maintenance are the big ones for me. There are certain materials that I do not want to work with like aluminum, because it is a reactive metal which means I need to avoid cooking high acid foods like tomato sauces. As for maintenance, I do not want to spend a lot of time caring for my cookware which, is different than abusing your cookware. Copper for example, is something that needs a bit of maintenance. Copper is an awesome heat conductor which is important and I enjoy cooking with my copper pot but, it is also a reactive metal that can colour food if not taken care of.  For this reason, I only have a couple of copper pots that I keep on hand when I am cooking.
Here is a snapshot of the essential pots and pans that you will find in my kitchen, It isn’t everything I have but these are my go to pots and pans that I couldn’t live without.

My Essentials

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The following is a list of different pots and pans that you may want to consider when looking at essentials for your kitchen. it isn’t an exhaustive list, but it will get you started. These are the pots and pans that you’ll probably find that you use the most.

  1. Large Saute Pan: Has straight sides and a large surface area. I recommend having one that is at least 12-inches in diameter and 2 inches deep, which is ideal for sautéing, braising, frying, and making quick sauces.
  2. Sauce Pan: A saucepan is something that you will want to own if possible, in a couple of different sizes. I have 2 sizes,  a 2 quart and 4 quart. They are great to use for anything that needs gentle even heat like warming milk. They are also great for cooking vegetables, soups, rices, and pastas.
  3. Non Stick Skillet: A skillet is essentially a frying pan. Non stick is great to have on hand for food that you know there is a high probability of sticking, like omelets or frittatas. The thing to keep in mind with non stick is that they have a short life span and it is important not to use any metal utensils. For this reason, you may want to also have a metal skillet. I have both non stick and metal skillets in my kitchen.
  4. Cast Iron Skillet: Very sturdy and durable. I have had mine for almost 20 years and I use it all the time. I would also recommend a 10 – 12-inch size. Cast iron skillet retains its heat for a very long time. These skillets need to be seasoned before using for the first time.
  5. Enamel Dutch Oven: I love dutch ovens. They are coated cast iron pots that can go directly from the stove top to the oven. They are great for cooking hearty dishes like stews, soups and chili. If you are tight on storage space or budget, this pot can work double duty so you don’t have to by a stock pot.
  6. Roasting Pan: They are great because they come with a rack that allows the bird to sit above the drippings and get nice and crispy. You could get away with using a cast iron skillet if you can’t afford one but the challenge is keep the bird off the bottom and the size of the bird will matter.
  7. Baking sheet: Baking sheets are a must have for being able to bake cookies and dough but they also come in handy for roasting veggies in the oven. I have 2 sets of baking sheets, one for strictly baking purposes and a set for roasting. Using baking sheets to roast things like vegetables can beat up your pans quickly so it is helpful if possible to have a set for roasting and a set for baking, if your budget can afford it. I prefer aluminum or metal baking sheets vs non stick because the life span of non stick is a lot less.

Nice To Have

  1. Stock Pot: Most of what a stock pot does a dutch oven can do. However, if you want to make a larger quantity of something like chili or stock, then a stock pot can be a great essential in any kitchen.
  2. Casserole Dish: Functional for both baking and cooking. Casserole dish is great because it can go from the oven to the table and look good. It can also due double duty and be used to bake cakes and squares. I would recommend a 9×13 as the size tends to work for most cooking and baking needs.

Cookware Material

There are different types of cookware materials to choose from. It is important to think about what will suit your needs and budget before purchasing. I am of the mindset that you get what you pay for and it is important to do your homework. I would rather have fewer good quality essentials and add on over time vs having more essentials and having to replace them because of a short lifespan. Below is some information on the different materials that hopefully you will find helpful.

  • Stainless Steel: Non reactive, durable  but can be expensive.
  • Copper: Awesome heat conductor, expensive need to take special care, reactive and can colour food.
  • Aluminum: Heats up quickly, reactive metal so avoid cooking acidic foods like pasta sauce.
  • Non Stick: Shorter life span vs stainless steel, coating will wear over time , avoid using metal utensils.
  • Cast Iron: Retains its heat for a very long time. Need to be seasoned before using for the first time, special care so they do not rust.

I hope the above helps you find the essentials you need for your kitchen – enjoy!