Cooking with Claire: Beyond the essentials

“Cooking with Claire” is an introduction to dining beyond the dining hall using easy, fast and cheap recipes.

(Illustration/Alicia Fitzmaurice)

(Illustration/Alicia Fitzmaurice)

Now a month into the school year, hopefully you have moved in and settled into a routine. You might even have a few extra dollars from your first paycheck for your on-campus job. If you feel there are a few holes in your kitchen supplies, this list might help you fill the void. These appliances, cookware and utensils are a huge help in any kitchen.

1. Spiralizer: These have only become popular in the last year or so, but have probably been around much before that. These contraptions are used to spiralizer vegetables to make long noodle shapes. The noodles can be cooked and served like spaghetti. For example, zucchini noodles are a great gluten-free, low carb option.

Fruit and vegetables in a blender cup. (Lori Greig/Flickr)

2. Magic bullet style blender: They first appeared on television shopping channels. However, now these blenders have become much more mainstream and more brands are available. My roommate brought one into our apartment this year, and I couldn’t be happier. I use it almost every day. It’s easier to clean and takes up less counter space than a traditional large blender.

3. 9 x 13 inch pan: Whether you’re making slutty brownies or a pot roast, this pan is essential. No serious cook can live without it. Pick one up in the grocery store or even online.

4. Crockpot: These are available in multiple sizes to feed a few people, or even a whole party. You can make soups, stews, entrees and even desserts with them. They are great to use on a busy day. Dump your ingredients in, turn it on and leave it alone for hours!

5. Spatulas: I don’t think you can ever have enough spatulas. I have a rubber one to scrape clean bowls, a small one to scramble eggs and even one exclusively to flip pancakes. They are pretty cheap and easily replaceable if one breaks or you lose one between moves.

6. Kitchen Scale: If you’re like me and can’t eyeball a pound of meat to save your life, this tool is handy. It’s usually slim and easily stored in a cupboard. Instead of Googling ounce to cup conversions, buy this and save yourself some trouble.

7. Wine/ bar tending kit: For my 21-year-old and up readers, a simple bar kit will save you a lot of aggravation during your weekends. Having a wine stopper on hand is a good idea when it’s not a good idea to finish the bottle. You can have a lot of fun making cocktails with a shaker, stirrer, strainer and muddler set.

8. Thermometer: If your off-campus oven seems a bit subpar, invest in one of these. You can purchase an oven thermometer or a meat thermometer. When you’re entertaining guests, it’s best not to serve undercooked meats.

Coffee brewed in a Bodum Santos vacuum coffee maker. (Jennie Robinson Faber/Flickr)

9. Coffee-maker: A quality coffee maker is necessary for a lot of students. If the new Bookstore coffee shop is draining your budget, invest in a coffee maker and make your brew yourself. It doesn’t have to be an expensive Keurig- a good ol’ Mr. Coffee machine brews a great cup.

10. Non-stick skillet: An essential for cooking eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches, sautéed vegetables and much more. Clean up will be a breeze when the food doesn’t stick.

Claire Galvin is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at