College is a time for firsts; your first 10-page midterm paper, your first math class in a lecture hall so big that you barely see the other side of the room and your first real taste of glorious independence. For many, finding a first apartment is quickly scratched off the bucket list around sophomore or junior year, and the not-so-glamourous chores of independent life become a harsh reality. When it comes to equipping a college apartment kitchen and preparing everyday meals, things shouldn’t be hard. The following kitchen essentials can simplify your life.
This category fulfills your everyday basics such as pots, pans, mixing bowls and dishes, but don’t go hog wild on stuffing cupboards full with these bulky items. Try to consolidate and be creative with a select arsenal of tools.
1. Mixing bowls
Add a vibrant burst of color to your kitchen counter with these festive mixing bowls by Zak!Designs. Made from seemingly indestructible melamine plastic, these BPA-free bowls are not only dishwasher safe, but are durable enough for an electric mixer. The ingenious nesting design creates both an artistic effect and saves on counter space. The smallest two sizes could also be used as serving bowls for snacks like fresh fruit or morning granola.
2. Frying pan
In addition to having mixing bowls and a few pots on hand, a frying pan or skillet is an absolute essential tool for any college kitchen. GreenPan’s 8-inch open fry pan from the Kyoto Bis collection is manufactured without PTFE. The ceramic coating, Thermolon, is heat resistant up to high temperatures and is PFOA free. Ever forget about your dinner cooking on the stove? With this pan, you won’t have to worry about its surface cracking or peeling, even if you do burn your meal to a crisp. Not only is this pan lightweight and easy to clean and store, but its small size is perfect for cooking smaller portions. Feel good about the food you prepare with this eco-friendly pan! Find this pan here.
3. Spoons, forks and knives
An obvious essential for any kitchen or dorm room, sets of nice utensils may be purchased at reasonable prices. A good, sharp knife is a must, and it’s a good idea to have both serrated and non-serrated versions on hand. Having a big party and don’t want to spend hours scrubbing the dishes? Keep a box of plastic, throw-away utensils for easy cleanup. Though it’s not the most eco-friendly practice, it’ll save you both time and trouble.
The under-appreciated and unglamorous spatula is definitely one of the major workhorses of any kitchen. Whether its job is to flip your morning flapjacks or stir a mélange of vegetables, the uses for this tool are many. Coming in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors, make sure you find one that is made of a material that is fairly heat resistant. You definitely don’t want to serve a plate of eggs over easy with a side of melted plastic.
5. Pizza slicer
So it may not be the most essential item on the list, but the cleverly designed Pizza Boss 3000 slicer by Fred and Friends is about as awesome as pizza cutters come. The ergonomic handle allows for a great grip while slicing through that late-night, deep-dished pizza pie loaded with extra toppings. Designed like a construction saw with a stainless steel blade, this pizza slicer separates the real men from the boys.
Appliances and accessories:
No, a slow cooker is not just for your grandmother. You’d probably be surprised to discover just how many cheap and delicious meals a college student can prepare using one of these. Perfect for tailgating or meals at home, just throw in some ground beef, beans, tomato sauce — and presto! A quick and easy chili. Feeling under the weather or just in need of some comfort food? Try making your own homemade chicken-noodle soup.
At first sight of a microwave, visions of buttered popcorn and ramen noodles probably dance in the heads of hungry college students. However, broader horizons exist when it comes to preparing meals with this essential tool. For a list of easy recipes, all within a meager college budget, click here.
Fairly inexpensive as appliances go, a blender is a great tool to make soups, smoothies, salsas and spreads. For a post-workout snack, try blending your favorite whey protein powder with frozen fruits and a dollop of non-fat Greek yogurt. Craving something a little more indulgent? Combine peanut butter with chocolate milk, flax seed and a banana for a satisfying and nutritious meal replacement.
9. Coffee maker
Making your morning cup o’ joe is a breeze with Bodum’s “Bean” 8 cup French Press, and with its sophisticated and modern design you’ll feel as if you’re being transported to a Parisian cafe as you take your first sip. Why not use an electric coffee maker, you ask? Not only is a French press much more conducive to a single student, but it also takes less time to brew and is simple to clean. Use this versatile tool make loose-leaf green tea for a boost of antioxidants and caffeine.
10. Cleaning supplies
What?! You have to clean your kitchen, too? Unfortunately, yes, young freshman, and the best way to get the job done is to buy an all-purpose sponge and some heavy-duty soap. Brands like Dawn or Palmolive cut the grease on dishes and make the stains on countertops disappear. Your kitchen will be squeaky clean in no time!
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