Monday, March 25, 2013

Budgeting and Insourcing..Preparing meals ahead & getting your workspace right...

Step 1

Prepare your workspace

As with any other job, being a productive Household Manager, requires tools of the trade. Today I'll give you my suggested list of kitchen tools.
Here are what I consider to be the essential kitchen tools and equipment....

Sharp knives
Apple coring wheel
Chopping boards
Mandolin slicer
Food processor
Electric mixer
Large, medium and small mixing bowls
Large and sandwich size ziplock bags and marker pen
Plastic or glass storage containers
Empty sterilised jars
Pie or flan dishes or other baking dish
Large saucepans with lids x 3

Pots and Pans...

There is a school of thought, probably promoted by people who manufacture pots, pans and frypans, that an expensive version is better than a cheapie. Like many things, I have never found this to be true. You can burn your food just as easily in a $300 frypan as you can in a $10 one . My husband has thoughtfully bought me some lovely frypans over the years as I use them so much. I've had a super duper brand name one that was so heavy I could barely lift it from the bottom of my cupboard, and I've had an oval shaped one that was useless on my round hotplate. I don't use either of them much to his chagrin. The ones I love most are:

My $10 non-stick pan from KMart. It's large enough for omelettes, easy to scoop things out of, and cooks 8 sausages or 3 steaks (of the size suggested by nutritional guidelines..not a T-Rex sized one) at a time. It makes the best pancakes and pikelets and is my pan of choice for bacon and eggs.

My Wok which Husband bought me about seven years ago. It's big, non-stick, substantial but not overly heavy, has a big domed lid and I use it for everything from stir-fry to casseroles to pot roasts.

And if you only want one frypan/roasting pan, you can't beat the old electric frypans. They are roomy, efficient, heat evenly, are non-stick, and you can cook just about anything in one. I don't have one at home, but I do in our holiday cottage and it's the one piece of equipment that I cannot do without when we're there as we have limited cooking facilities. Absolutely brilliant.

As for 'other' pots, I have a small one for boiling eggs or cooking single serves of noodles or pasta, a medium sized one for veges (it has a steamer that sits on top but I rarely use that either), and a super large one for cooking large amounts of spaghetti...which frankly I rarely do these days, so I could probably toss it, but convention dictates that I keep a large saucepan...I might need it one day :)

So if you lack space or have a limited budget, my thoughts would be to keep 3 saucepans with lids in graduated sizes, and an electric frypan. The Wok is a luxury, but once you've had a decent quality one, you won't look back...don't go with the cheapies, get a decent one and it will last you forever. Unlike saucepans and frypans, a good Wok is worth it's weight in gold in my opinion.

Add to that list, the following:

Aprons..they don't have to be frilly ones so don't go all silly on me. There are plenty of simple, professional looking aprons out there. My favourite is a plastic/vinyl one from Harrods. It is easy to wipe clean, easy and comfortable to wear, and doesn't make me look like Samantha from Bewitched.

Anti Fatigue Footwear or Mat...I spend a great deal of time on my feet in the kitchen. Therefore, it's essential for my energy levels to wear either comfy shoes or alternatively to stand on an anti-fatigue mat. Just make sure it's non-slip, and made from kitchen friendly materials. My preferred footwear for working, are Birkenstock Gizeh sandals. They're comfy, look pretty enough for round the house and garden, and last for ages, so don't be frightened of the price tag. You can buy them online direct from Germany with free postage on larger orders, so get a few friends to order some as well and you'll save heaps. They're about half the retail price at

Anti-Bacterial soap in a pump don't want to have raw chicken all over your hands and then find you have to get a tray of cookies out of the oven. Just common sense really.

Baking sheets...again my preference is for the old fashioned non-stick metal ones, but if you want silicone then go for it. Just make sure you have some.

Baking paper..the non stick silicone stuff..absolutely invaluable. you go...I'll be back in a day or two with the next step.

Kitchen organising is on my Tray of Bliss today...what's on yours?

1 comment:

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