Student Survival Kit: Ten Essential Tools for the First Kitchen

It has been a couple of weeks now and reality sets in – your kid is off at school surviving on a can of soup a day because he/she doesn’t have the tools and know-how to cook. Come to the rescue with this simple kit to save the day. (NOTE – buy the Tools below and hand over this post link so they get the recipes + super simple cooking instructions required):

  1. The heavy skillet or sauté pan + rack: this is just the right tool to do Skillet Veg like corn on the cob, green beans or broccoli – a technique that is so much better than boiling.

BONUS: the pan is perfect to make a small roast. I know, roast beef sounds crazy for a student, but if they pop one in the oven on a Sunday afternoon while studying and use the cabled thermometer (see below), roast beef cooks by itself and provides meat for several lunches or dinners (after 3 days freeze any leftover cooked roast).

RECIPE HERE FOR PERFECT ROAST BEEF. To make Skillet Veg: In large deep skillet or sauté pan, cook broccoli heads, green beans, cobs of corn, etc in ¼ inch (1 cm) water, covered with lid, until just tender; drain. Return to stove and cook uncovered until pan is dry; add 1 to 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter or olive oil and season all over with salt and pepper to taste. Heat, turning veg often to coat well, until bubbling.

  1. The cabled thermometer: with this programmable thermometer, perfect roast beef is a snap. Program the thermometer to the doneness temperature that you want (140˚F for med-rare, 155˚F for med, and 170˚F for well done), stick the probe into the middle of the roast, and you’re set for roasting. Here’s another great ROAST BEEF RECIPE to follow.
  2. The all purpose good knife: these knives are super reasonable now – found this one at Canadian Tire for under $20. This size is good for chopping and can work well to slice cooked beef into super thin slices to add to wraps, sandwiches or salads. Have your student bring it home to sharpen when the laundry comes home.
  3. The cast iron fry pan: this is perfect for pan-searing steaks or chops. Be sure to season it before you give as the gift and provide these simple guidelines for easy-care. PAN-SEAR STEAK KNOW HOW HERE.
  4. The slow-cooker: for the simmer-while-you-go-to-class meal, everyone needs a slow cooker – and that can of soup! Buy a small blade or cross rib pot roast and you’re in business. Here are 2 great simmer-while-you-work dinners (also great for date-night dinner by the way): GREEK POT ROAST or MARVELLOUS MUSHROOM POT ROAST (instructions for slow-cooker or oven). Note: if Pot Roasts seem too big, use a Simmering Steak instead.

  1. The meat mallet: use this little mallet to make the best of value-priced steaks like Eye of Round. Whack the steak on both sides to turn it into a Fast-fry steak, season and pan-fry for a speedy tender steak that cooks in no-time. TEST DRIVE Speedy Skillet Steak Ratatouille.
  2. BIG BATCH BEEF: Really lend a hand by making up this pantry staple at home and tuck into the freezer at school. Big Batch Beef is the gift that keeps on giving – it is seasoned cooked ground beef that your student can scoop out to add to pasta sauce or soups or use to make quesadilla or tacos.
  3. Simple seasonings: A good pepper grinder and some salt is all you need for seasoning beef. Beef’s flavour can stand on its own simply seasoned before cooking. A good pepper grinder (like a Peugot) is good for life!
  4. @loveCDNbeef YouTube: for cooking lessons on all the basic cooking techniques, just watch this set of how-to videos on line. Only 3 minutes each will open up endless possibilities to cook!
  5. The Roundup App: can’t find the steak that a recipe calls for, then just look on this handy app to find a good substitute. All the help your student will need to buy and cook beef right available right there on your smart phone! Smart!
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