I’m in no way a chef. But y’all. I like to eat. Like really, really like to eat.
Years ago, still in college, I attempted to make lasagna for my first time. I was so excited! it was a special occasion and I just knew I was going to impress everyone with my kitchen skills. But here’s the deal: the recipe didn’t tell my naive-in-the-kitchen self to boil the noodles first. I’ve since seen and tried recipes that don’t call for boiling the lasagna noodles, but apparently with this specific recipe at the time, boiling the noodles was to be an understood known.
I didn’t know. #imaginethat
At the end of that 45 minutes at 350°, my noodles were as crispy as potato chips. Yes, everyone got a good laugh at my expense, and that is one memory in life that has stuck with me.
For a long time, I though I can’t cook! But y’all. Hello? Everybody can cook. You may have to figure out that the noodles are supposed to be boiled first (or learn the hard way like I did), but just follow a recipe. It can be as simple as that. And like anything in life, the more you do it, the easier it will become. And before you know it, ya’ might even get to feeling frisky and start experimenting with recipes to make them your own. #highlyrecommendit
While I’m no Bri McKoy or Amy Hannon I’ve realized over the years that cooking, baking—just being in the kitchen—can be very therapeutic. Kinda like washing dishes. (Note: after almost a year, I got a new dishwasher, y’all. To God be the Glory.)
These are a few things that make my time in the kitchen easier and sometimes …. more fun.
I’ve had my Kitchen Aid Mixer for more than twenty years. TWENTY YEARS, y’all. Let me say, this can be considered an investment in your kitchen tools, but as much as mine has been used, it still works like it did right out of the box. I have a handful of extentions for it. I broke my pouring shield years ago, and why I have never replaced it is beyond me. I miss it every time I am baking. #orderoneofthosejenn The irony? My mom bought this jewel for me because “every kitchen needs one,” and she doesn’t even cook.
These remind me of my grandma and my Nan. Grandma would have me a cast-iron skillet of cornbread ready on Sunday afternoons. And Nan could fry up the best fried chicken you’ve ever eaten in hers. When JC’s dad passed away, he gave me a stack of cast-iron skillets (because, bless his heart, he thought I was going to use them.) And it turns out …. I do. Almost daily.
Y’all. If you are a fan of fresh garlic, you need this bad boy. This tool is one of those things that makes cooking fun. Seriously. Stick the clove in the sleeve, roll it back and forth on the counter, and voila! The garlic is peeled and your hands don’t stink!
For $5, this is the handiest thing to chop hamburger meat. A couple of friends have one, and after seeing theirs, I ditched using the wooden spoon or spatula. #chop #chop
Jimmie sold me on these. And holy moly. Given my baking sheets at the time looked as seasoned as my cast-iron skillets, these baking mats saved the day. Plus they come in fun colors. Again, I’m not a chef, nor am I Betty Crocker, but I can tell you, I don’t burn cookies when I use these things, (unless I forget to set a timer). #keepinitreal
Y’all. This may be my favorite thing ever. When we were remodeling our kitchen (out of necessity, not out of luxury), this dude saved my tail. And our budget. That was the month, I perfected making spaghetti in the InstantPot. Boiled eggs in the InstantPot? Easy peasy. HUGE timesaver on those mornings you need breakfast to make itself, because everyone is rushing out the door.
A good set of knives. Y’all this is a must for a kitchen. Here’s the truth—ours suck. Oh my word, y’all. We need a good set of knives. I’ve got my fingers crossed that Santa is going to think I was really good this year and surprise me with a fancy set of knives. Seriously. We have one that is semi-okay. And I’m thankful for him. But he really needs some friends and cousins to join him in our kitchen. It would make both of us [my one knife + me] very happy.
We were just cleaning up the kitchen from dinner tonight, and JC said, “Are we the only people in Arkansas who does not have Tupperware in their cabinets?” Yes. Possibly. We do have these, which come in handy for lunchboxes or even meal prep and some of these porcelain bowls. But, no, we don’t have random Tupperware bowls, because a) we don’t have the space and b) we don’t have the space. Do you get the feeling we don’t have a big kitchen? I’ve made plenty of room for baking dishes and pots and pans. But plastic containers aren’t really a priority. So, we don’t have any. I use mason jars to store leftovers.
What would you add to the list? What do you think is a necessity to make a kitchen functional and even a more enjoyable place to work?