Living frugally means that we rarely eat out and cook almost all of our meals at home. Scratch cooking is such an effective way to save money folks. Restaurant food and take out is usually overpriced and often times the cost of one meal for a family is the equivalent of nearly a weeks worth of grocery.
An extra large pizza is nearly $50 in this area. Crazy right?
$50 can buy a heck of a lot of grocery to make delicious and healthy home cooked meals. If you cut out $50 per week on take-out you can put that money toward padding your savings or even building a stockpile.
I’ll admit that scratch cooking can seem tedious. But, with a few basic kitchen essentials preparing and cooking delicious and healthy meals for your family can be a incredibly easy.
When you’ve got the right basic kitchen essentials, things like food prep, cooking and storage become simple. I love things that are easy and as a result I’ve worked really hard at streamlining my kitchen so that every item serves a purpose and helps me make mealtime easier.
Here’s a highly curated list of basic kitchen essentials that I own and use almost daily. Every item listed below is a vital part of my kitchen because it makes preparing food (and avoiding take out) a breeze.
Must Have Kitchen Essentials for Every Frugal Kitchen
Food Prep Essentials
1. Pyrex Mixing Bowls With Lids
These Pyrex Mixing Bowls are incredible. I use them from everything from preparing cake batters, meat mixtures and salads to baking. These bowl come with convenient lids that allow you to prepare food and pop it straight into the refrigerator without having to transfer to a Tupperware or waste plastic wrap. They are also incredibly easy to wash and are dishwasher safe. My favorite way to use them is to bake peasant bread. These bowls are oven a safe and help produce gorgeous loaves of bread!
2. Resort Chef Cutting Boards
We take food safety very seriously in our house. We cook a lot and are often handling different types of meats, produce and dairy. As a result, it’s important that we use a set of cutting boards that help keep food contamination to a minimum. These Resort Chef Cutting Boards are made from BPA free plastic with built-in Microban Antimicrobial protection. This means that they don’t stain or collect funky odors when they are used. Best of all, they are conveniently labeled to be used with different types of foods. They are super easy to wash and stack nicely so they take up minimal space in cupboards and drawers.
4. Prepworks by Progressive Measuring Cups & Spoons
After fussing around with and being disappointed by a variety of metal (rusted) and plastic measuring cups (faded numbers) I invested in these Prepworks Measuring Cups & Spoons. These sturdy plastic measuring cups are great for both wet and dry ingredients offering measurements in both cups and ML. What I especially love about this set is that the measurements are engraved into the handles which makes fading and peeling a non-issue. Additionally, they are held together with a sturdy ring and stack together for easy storage. They offer a variety of different measurement options and even include a smidge, pinch and dash!
5. Emojoy Knife Set
Knife sets are tricky because good quality knives can cost hundreds of dollars (which I refuse to spend). These Emojoy Knifes are a fantastic deal at only $28.98. They are sharp, offer a sturdy rose wood handle and thus far have not dulled or rusted at all. And, I use them a ton. It’s really a great value for your money because it’s truly a complete set including a chef knife, slicing knife, bread knife, utility knife and paring knife. It’s also a rather compact Pakkawood knife block that doesn’t take up a ton of counter space. These knives need to be hand washed and dried immediately after washing to prevent damage. Although I wish they were dishwasher safe the price and quality are so worth the extra effort.
6. Cooksmark White Ceramic Nonstick Pots and Pans Set
These Cooksmark Ceramic Pots and Pans are just incredible. Absolutely nothing sticks to them because of their durable ceramic coating. They are fairly priced, are super easy to wash and can also be put in the oven. When I was shopping for a new pot set my number one priority was having ceramic non-stick pans (after dealing with Teflon for far too long) that were relatively light weight. These pots and pans are truly wonderful and make cooking food easy and clean up a breeze.
7. Crock-Pot 8-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
We received the Crock Pot 8-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker as a gift some years ago and we absolutely love it. It’s BIG which means we can use it to make huge portions and save our leftovers for lunches and dinners throughout the week. Crock Pots come in all shapes, sizes and price points and at around 60 bucks ours does a phenomenal job! No need to spend a fortune on your crock. We use ours frequently and it really helps with taking a break from cooking on days when life gets busy with my toddler. I love prepping my meal in the morning and coming home to a delicious dinner!
8. Vremi Baking Sheets
After dealing with baking sheets that warped, changed colors and were nearly impossible to get completely clean I bought these 3 Piece Vremi Baking Sheets. These baking sheets have a sleek non-stick finish which makes baking and making sheet pan meals very easy. We’re big fans of sheet pan meals because everything cooks at once and there’s very little clean up. These sheet pans wash wonderfully, are light weight and make oven cooking really easy. I absolutely love that they’ve also got silicone side handles which makes pulling them out of the oven extra safe. These come in 3 convenient sizes which makes batch cooking effortless. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used them to make a sheet pan dinner and bake a batch of cookies at the same time. I’ve also noticed that they require very little greasing and food still comes out wonderfully without sticking.
9. Staub Baking Dishes
When it comes to baking casseroles I love using Staub Baking Dishes. Admittedly, these are a little pricey for a baking dish but I’ve been fortunate to collect 4 pieces without ever paying full price by thrifting and finding online deals. These baking dishes have a porcelain enamel finish that is scratch resistant. They’re broiler, microwave and freezer safe which makes putting together freezer meals incredibly easy. When I make a casserole, I’ll often double the recipe and freeze an uncooked one to eat at a later date. It really doesn’t get easier than pulling dinner from the freezer and popping it straight into the oven.
10. Circulon Large Roaster
When cooking turkey, whole chickens or roasts I use the Circulon Roaster with U-Rack. This roaster is on the larger side at 17 or so inches by 13. It fits a mid-size turkey comfortably. One Thanksgiving I cooked a 20 lbs Turkey in this roaster and it turned out great. Considering its size, this roaster is rather light weight which makes clean up a breeze. Don’t you hate it when your roaster doesn’t fit comfortably in your sink? Yup, me too! That wont be a problem with this one because it’s light enough to move around freely without making an extra mess.
Eating & Drinking
11. Corelle Dishes
My mom first introduced me to Corelle dishes and I’ve never really eaten on anything else. These dishes are break and scratch resistant which is so important when you’ve got kids in your home. They are also incredibly light weight and wash very well in warm soapy water. I’ve had my set for a few years now and they do not chip, stain or scratch at all. What I love most about these dishes is how forgiving they are. I’ve dropped them more times than I can count and they live up to their promise. These DO NOT break.
12. Premium Quality Plastic Water Tumblers
These are the most recent addition to our kitchen. With a super active toddler in the house and my clumsy hands we were constantly replacing our drinking glasses which was costing us unnecessarily. What a waste of money! So, I purchased these plastic water tumblers without really knowing what to expect. I am extremely pleased with how realistic they look without being glass. They hold up well to washing both by hand and in the dishwasher. Most importantly, they are super safe around kids. These tumblers are a fair size and look great on the dinner table too! No more broken glass in our house!
What I Surprisingly Don’t Have in My Frugal Kitchen
I like to keep things as simple as possible around here. I’m one of these people who believes that more stuff means more effort and time required to store and clean it.
Lazy? Yup. Practical? I certainly hope so.
So, the products listed above are things that I use day in and day out to help get breakfast, lunch and dinner on the table for my family. These items truly make my life easier because they are decent quality, are holding up well to be used often and make cooking less tedious and a little more fun. See, I don’t necessarily love to cook. I do it, because I know it’s healthier for my family and that ultimately it saves us money. So, to keep kitchen clutter in our house to an absolute minimum I do not own an Instant Pot, Pressure Cooker, Rice Cooker, Juicer or Griddle.
Am I really missing out?
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A Few More This Tiny Blue House Posts You Might Enjoy
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- Reduce Food Waste By Freezing These 25 Surprising Foods
- How Brewing the Best Cup of Coffee Saves You Thousands
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- 20 Cheap & Healthy Snacks For The Whole Family
I Want To Hear From You!
What are some kitchen essentials you cannot live without?