These are a few of my favorite things! (My staple kitchen pots and pans)

Before I turned 30, I always had in my head that I should just use all the hand me down stuff I used in college and not buy new things since I was sure to get married someday and register for all that cool stuff, right?  Well the jig was up and it was time to start stocking my own kitchen.   My parents gave me  a crock pot and a mini prep food processor the Christmas before I turned 30 and my friends gave me serving pieces and cooking tools at my surprise 30th birthday party.  I then turned to making a stocked kitchen with only the basics that I needed as I had a small kitchen, and a small budget!

I am going to make this a series on the blog because all this cooking leads to dishes to do and I hate doing dishes and don't have a dishwasher!  The first installment is on pots and pans.  You don't NEED a lot when it comes to them, although it is nice to have 8 different sized pots!  The one thing I will say is you have to know when it is appropriate to spend money and when it isn't.  

My first rule.  Never spend money on a nonstick skillet.  You will be replacing it every couple of years no matter how much you spend.  So go to Marshalls/TJ Maxx/Homegoods for that and save your money for a Rachel Zoe Box of Style!

My $12.99 Kitchen Aid skillet from Marshalls.  Almost time for a new one!
Another thing that I personally don't think you need to spend money on is an enameled cast iron dutch oven.  While I still dream of owning a Le Creuset one someday, I have had mine for 6 years and it was a fraction of the price from Marshalls.  It works like a dream and cleans so easily! You can even put it in the dishwasher. These things are so great, you can make soup, short ribs, pot roast, spaghetti sauce or even just saute a lot of veggies in it.

Looks almost as nice and was only $49.99!
This one is 6 quarts, the stains are a sign it has been well loved!
You can get by without spending a lot on a great tool, a cast iron skillet.  This is the one I have now.   An ex got me my first one, he lived in DC and mailed it to me the week before we broke up, via text. It was so heavy and large I could barely pick it up.  I used it only once and left it at the shared house in a weird spot so I guess it it still there! Moral of the story, you don't need to go big or go home! Once it is seasoned properly (many are sold preseasoned) you can cook anything in it.  And don't be afraid to clean it with soap and water!  Unless something is really stuck on there I clean it with soap and water and then place it on the stove at high heat to evaporate the excess moisture.  After that I rub it with a bit of oil on a paper towel.  If something is really stuck on there, use a paste of equal parts oil and Kosher salt to scrub it off.

It was preseasoned when I purchased but have added some seasoning of my own 
One thing I spent no money on was a stainless steel saute pan.  This pan is excllent for browning meat and getting a good pan sauce.  I won this in a Le Creuset giveaway along with a 2 qt sauce pan. The Le Creuset stainless steel is awesome and probably worth spending the money.  These are dishwasher friendly as well! I have had them for 4 years and find them so valuable!

I have never been able to get it looking "good as new" clean.  But as with all my pots and pans, the stains show love!
Looks older than 4!  You can tell I use it a lot!

 Last but not least is my "grill pan"  It is actually a panini pan.  I use this to grill meat indoors.  As you know I use it a lot!  Chicken just tastes better with grill marks!

The multipurpose champ!
Those are my staple pots and pans and the ones I use most on the blog.  Please note that I was not paid for this post or compensated in any way.  I just was getting some questions about what I use and how I clean things and wanted to share!  I will have a forthcoming post on my favorite tools as well. What are some of your treasured pots and pans?  And if you have a cast iron skillet, how do you clean it? 

Happy Cooking!


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