What a A Well-Stocked Kitchen Should Have

I’m a baker. Not a cook. Cooking has always seemed like more of a necessity than an enjoyable activity (probably because for the majority of my adult life cooking has been done with one arm or while hollering at giggle monsters to not jump off the furniture…yeah, let’s blame the kids). Enter our friend Dan. He and his wife cook amazing meals and are all around fabulous hosts. I kid you not, when live lobsters arrived at the office squirming in a box, Dan knew what to do. He invited Shawn and I over for the best paella I’ve ever had. Who does that? If we had gotten them at that time, they probably would have wound up as pets.

Apparently I hinted at his skills enough so that as a going away present Dan invited me over for an afternoon of one-on-one cooking lessons with recipes that we would serve to friends that night. We made four different dishes that can be switched up for tons of entirely different meals  (links to recipes at the end of this post) . The biggest lesson I learned? Just having some things in your kitchen at all times makes it easier. Here’s just a few of those items we now have on hand.

 a-well-stocked-kitchen-pantry

 Dijon Mustard | Anchovy Paste | Lemons (der) | Olive Oil | Red Wine Vinegar | White Wine Vinegar

Of course, there’s also some gadgets and tools that a well-stocked kitchen should have. 

 must-have-gadgets-for-a-well-stocked-kitchen

A Meat Tenderizer (we used the flat side for these recipes) | Wooden Cutting Board | Wooden Salt Box (er, Cellar) for quickly salting at various steps |  Cheese Grater stored with the cheese blocks in the fridge | Fresh Pepper Grinder | A Dish Towel draped over your shoulder (Anthro towels optional but encouraged by me).

Those are just a few things besides your standards that definitely have me on my way to cooking more. What other items should a well-stocked kitchen have?

Okay, let’s get to the *meat* of our cooking lessons – badum ching. Thank you, I’ll be here all night :)

Here’s the four cooking methods Dan taught me. We used chicken but as you’ll see in each recipe, there’s a variety of other ways to switch these up.

1. Chicken Paillard

2. Chicken Parmigiana with Homemade Marinara

3. Chicken Piccata in a White Wine Sauce with Capers

4. Chicken Marsala

A sad site note, I lost all of the pictures from the night. That or I had too many martinis and forgot to snap them …not really, my phone deleted all my pictures a day before we packed up the house (queue miniature violin please).

We also made all of the dressings which were beyond easy. I have multiple pages full of notes for these dressing but I’m going to be lazy and not type them up so check out all of these simple dressing recipes. We made the Caesar and creamy Parmesan dressing.

And mayo? Dan let me in on the secret that mayo is about the simplest thing to make yourself and skip the fake sugar (yes, there’s corn syrup in your store-bought mayo, go look) – here’s a homemade mayo recipe I pinned that I made in 5 minutes flat the other day.

Thank you Dan for helping me become more comfortable in the kitchen! We have made these and gotten more adventurous in our new kitchen.