Kitchen Essentials

Kitchen EssentialsWhen you have a small kitchen you really only need, or actually have space for a few essential items. These items need to be able to do more than one task; like the pie plate, it’s great for pies but also a perfect size for roasting a small chicken or for vegetables. And who really needs a rolling pin when an empty wine bottle works just as well!

So here is my list of kitchen essentials, plus an additional list of items that are nice to have around if you have the room.

Cutting board
Chef’s knife
Paring knife
Bread knife
Baking sheet
9×13 pan
Pie plate
2 mixing bowls
Measuring cups (at least a 1/4 and 1/3 C, if not a whole set)
Measuring spoons
Rubber spatula
Wooden spoon
Can opener
Vegetable peeler
Saute pan
Sauce pan
Dutch oven
Hand held mixer

These next items make cooking easier, but if you don’t have the space aren’t essential.
Grill pan: great for cooking everything in one pan. I often cook the fajita fillings on one half of the pan and warm the tortillas on the other half. I’ve also cooked pancakes on this; makes them a little waffley which I prefer anyway.
Blender or food processor
Box grater


Cooking Class

I’m teaching a spring salad cooking class at Dish It Up in Magnolia May 6th. I’ll be teaching you how to make an asparagus ribbon salad with sherry vinaigrette and shaved Parmesan, a blue cheese and steak salad with homemade croutons, a bibb lettuce salad with avocado, blueberries and candied pepitas, and a dessert salad of supremed oranges and a spiced wine “vinaigrette”.

Check it out and sign up!


Few things make your home smell as good as homemade granola. This recipe is not only good for small kitchens, but also for small budgets.

5 C Old-fashioned oats (do nut use quick cooking or steel cut)
1/2 C Honey
1/2 C Brown sugar
1/2 C Oil (vegetable, coconut, corn, nothing too strong)
2 Tablespoons Butter, melted
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ginger
1/8 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla
3/4 C Nuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1/2 C Dried fruit or crystalized ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir everything except the nuts and fruit together. Spread on a cookie sheet or baking dish. Place in the oven to bake. Stir every 15 minutes until it is golden brown, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven to cool, once it is room temp stir in the nuts and fruit. place in ziploc bags or in an airtight container.

About 12 servings


If you don’t buy toasted/roasted nuts for this recipe, add the nuts for the last 10 minutes of the baking process-usually when it’s just starting to turn brown.

You can substitute 1 1/2tsp of pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg if you want.

Roasted Salmon and Savory Yogurt

Yesterday I was looking through Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine and found a recipe that looked beautiful and sounded interesting. Since I didn’t want to go to the store, I changed the ingredients so I could use what I already had in my fridge. It was amazing! So amazing that I couldn’t stop eating to take a picture. If any of you make this, please take a picture and send it to me so I can add it to this post.

2Lbs Salmon, skinless and cut into 4 pieces
1 C Seasoned yogurt cheese*
2 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay the fish on a lightly oiled oven safe dish. Stir together the seasoned yogurt cheese and oil. Evenly spread 1/4C of the yogurt mixture on each piece of fish. Place the pan in the oven and bake until the fish is cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.

Serves 4

*I know that you can buy a chive-cilantro yogurt cheese at Trader Joe’s that is fantastic-other grocery stores may have something similar. Or you can season the cheese to your liking by buying plain yogurt cheese (sometimes called Greek Yogurt cheese). Here is what I did-season 1C yogurt cheese with 2 scallions finely chopped, the zest of 1 lemon and 1/2 tsp salt.
If you can’t find yogurt cheese you can make your own very easily. Line a sieve with cheesecloth or coffee filters and add 1 1/4 Cup plain yogurt (non-fat, regular fat, extra fat will all work). Place the sieve over a bowl and put into the fridge for at least 3 hours, or until 1/4C of whey seeps out.

Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Salad

This is one of my favorite meals. Very easy and satisfying. You can either clean out the fridge and use the vegetables that you already have, or walk around a farmer’s market and pick out what is in season. When you chop up the vegetables, cut them according to how long they will take to cook; squash will take longer than a pepper, so cut the squash into smaller pieces and the pepper into larger. That way all of the vegetables can be cooked together without some overcooking and some being raw.

Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Salad

Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Salad

My favorite combo is butternut squash, red pepper, red onion, and mushrooms. Served over arugula with blue cheese.

2 Cups of diced vegetables

1.5 Lbs chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, chopped into large bite size pieces

4 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 Cloves of garlic, minced

3 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons rosemary

1 Lemon, zested

3/4 Cup walnuts

Greens (arugula, spinach, mesculan mix etc)

Cheese (something salty and strong works best like blue cheese, goat cheese, brie, Gorgonzola, feta)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl toss together vegetables, meat, oil, vinegar, salt, rosemary and lemon zest. Spread on a cookie sheet or large pan, and place in the oven. Stir the vegetables after 20 minutes. Add the walnuts 10 minutes later. Cook until the meat and the vegetables are cooked through, about 35-45 minutes depending on what type of vegetables you use. Serve the mixture warm over greens and garnish with cheese.


-if you want to use beets, roast them in a separate pan and add them later, otherwise everything will be a pinkish color.

-you could leave the chicken out and replace it with 1 1/2 Cups of vegetables

Lemon Buttermilk Ice

I love homemade ice cream but I don’t have an ice cream maker, yet. So I use the method described below when I want an ice cream like treat. It isn’t as smooth as ice cream, a little grainier or icier actually, but the flavor is great! The only real draw back is that this method requires you to be home for about 4-5 hours.

Lemon Buttermilk Ice

Lemon Buttermilk Ice

I’ve recently made a coconut-lime ice that was fantastic! I’ll post a recipe when I have the exact amounts.

2  Cups sugar
1/2 Cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons-use a little OJ if you are short)
2 Tablespoons lemon zest
4 Cups Buttermilk

Stir all the ingredients together until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Pour into a shallow pan and place in the freezer. Stir the mixture every 15-20 minutes until it sets up and freezes, about 4-5 hours. The more often the mixture is stirred the smoother the consistency will be.

Serves 6

Potato Leek Soup

If you know me, this is a very strange recipe to start my blog off with. I don’t like potatoes. But this is what I have in my fridge right now, and it fits my theme of recipes that can be made in a small kitchen with few pots,pans or appliances.

3 Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 Leeks white part only, washed and sliced
6 Cups chicken broth
2tsp Salt
1/2 Cup half-n-half
1 Tablespoon sherry (optional)

In a large pot combine: potatoes, leeks, chicken broth and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the potatoes are tender. Remove from heat, and stir in the half-n-half. Puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour the smooth soup back into the large pot. Heat over low until hot, add the sherry (if using) and add salt to taste.

Serves 4Potato leek soup