The Pots You Actually Need In Your Kitchen

Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

Stocking your kitchen for the first time is, to put it bluntly, overwhelming. You’re standing in your first apartment out of college and how the heck are you supposed to know what you actually need? When you go to Target, they usually have pot ‘sets’ that you buy that include three sauté pans, two pots, a weird mid-sized pan and another pan that you will literally never touch. So, what do you probably do? You buy it.

But in my opinion, it’s much smarter to invest in a couple nice pots/pans instead of buying the cheap sets from the convenience store. So here’s my personal recommendations for your necessary pot/pan investments:

A non-stick sauté pan. This is your go-to pan for scrambled eggs, sautéed veggies, heating up pasta sauce, etc. It’s your all-in-one dream maker. Feel free to get two sizes for different items, but for sure invest in a larger size one because it can handle anything and everything. Budget Friendly Sauté Pan // Higher Quality Sauté Pan

A large stock pot. This is your pasta pot. Everyone eats pasta. It’s just a fact of life. If you’re gluten-free, you probably eat gluten-free pasta. You need a pot that will hold up for a big family meal or just a weeknight pasta dinner at home. Truth be told, I got mine from the hallway of my old apartment complex next to a ‘FREE’ sign that someone had put outside their door. In general, I’d gravitate towards a stainless steel pot because it will distribute heat and last longer than a non-stick stock pot. Budget Friendly Stock Pot // Higher Quality Stock Pot

Cast Iron Skillet. Technically, you don’t need this and can get by with a sauté pan, but cast iron skillets are the best quality pans for meat and fish, and are super mulit-purpose. Think cornbread, carne asada nachos, and a roast chicken. Need I say more? And running at an affordable price point (I use a Lodge one from Target), it’s a great addition to your starter collection. Budget Friendly Cast Iron Skillet // Higher Quality Cast Iron Skillet

If you’re looking to expand your kitchen pots beyond that, I’d recommend a Dutch Oven, an All Clad Essential Pan, and a mid-sized stock pot.

Healthy (kinda) Cookbooks


If you know me at all, you know that I’m not really a healthy eater. I don’t diet, I bake cookies at least once a week, have a glass of wine with dinner more times than not, and love a good stack of blueberry pancakes. I’m not a big eater though overall, and I do cardio exercise so it’s never been a problem with my weight or otherwise.

But earlier this week, my body basically told me (excuse my language) that I need to get my sh*t together. Cue: Driving down the 101 freeway in Los Angeles, in the middle of rush-hour traffic, puking while driving from food poisoning (I will not delve into the exact details of this, for the sake of the breakfast you’re probably eating right now). That day, I had coffee for breakfast, German sausages for lunch, and a brownie. Pretty sure it was food poisoning from the sausage, but it was also that my body had basically no nutrients in it and was sending a cry for help. Since then, I’ve put myself on a vegetable-driven diet with no alcohol, sugar, or caffeine and my body feels great.

If you’re looking to incorporate more nutrient-dense meals into your rotation this year, these are my recommendations:

Healthyish: Truth be told, I follow Lindsay on Instagram and just really love her feed. So, thanks to my pal Amazon Prime, it’s now sitting on my coffee table. I’m really excited to dive into it because it has a lot of grain bowl recipes and approachable dinner meals.

The Forest Feast: I actually found this cookbook in an olive oil shop. Don’t ask me why I was in an olive oil shop… (Side note: If you’re ever in downtown Los Gatos, We Olive is a must visit.) The book itself is beautiful, and the recipes are so simple that you’ll basically want to make everything and then move to a cottage in the woods like Erin.

Southern Girl Meets Vegetarian Boy: Going vegetarian isn’t an overnight endeavor, especially if you’re going to do it right and not just eat brocolli for dinner for the rest of your life. This book combines both vegetarian meals and non-vegetarian meals; it’s a mix of both.

Clean Slate: I’ve been following a no-sugar, no-alcohol, no-caffeine diet for the past week and my body feels so good. What we eat can really transform our body, and that’s precisely what this book is out to accomplish. There’s so many good, nutritional recipes included. I personally can’t wait to try the farro and roasted sweet potato salad. Y-U-M.

Love Real Food: My mom is a vegetarian and I got her this cookbook for Christmas this year! She and my brother have been trying recipes from it over the past few weeks and I’ve heard nothing but glowing reviews! What I love is that it makes cooking vegetarian SO easy – the recipes are approachable and don’t require a lot of weird ingredients.

The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook: This is basically the bible for vegetarian recipes. It’s massive and it has EVERYTHING. You can count on America’s Test Kitchen to produce quality recipes that anyone can do. Highly recommend this if vegetarian dishes are a staple in your life.

The Laura Lea Balanced Cookbook: We’re not perfect. Sometimes we need to sit on the couch, binge-watch The Crown on Netflix with a full plate of chocolate chip cookies at hand. I get it. You’re only human. Laura’s cookbook has so many great recipes, but they’re not all carrots and squash.

What healthy cookbooks take up real estate in your kitchen?