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Starting Up Your Own Kitchen

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Whether you’re planning a wedding or moving out on your own, the kitchen can be a very confusing place. Not everyone has spent a lot of time in the kitchen before moving out and having to maneuver the kitchen on their own. 

Why do I say it might by confusing? You now have the responsibility of planning the food that becomes meals in your new home. That takes planning, shopping and understanding recipes. Nowadays, the availability of this information online is easier now than it was when I got married and moved out. It was recipes from a cookbook or magazine and what I could remember was cooked in the kitchen when I was at home. What do I buy? How do I store it? How much is that? I’m going to help you with some of these questions.  

Now you have your own kitchen and you’re excited about your first meal. Do some research. Find what you want to make and start your shopping list. The potato dish you want to make calls for four cups sliced raw potatoes; how many potatoes do you need? Or maybe it calls for one cup of Parmesan cheese; yikes, how much is that? How did cooking just make shopping so complicated? I can just say, it will come to you in time and with practice in your kitchen. Believe me, you will learn, because having to go back to the store because you find out you didn’t buy enough of something will teach you this lesson fast. Hopefully you don’t live too far from the store. There are also some secrets about substituting, so if you don’t have baking powder, you can substitute with ¼ teaspoon baking soda and ½ teaspoon cream of tartar. 

The safest way to store food is in airtight containers, be it in the cabinet, refrigerator or freezer. I like to use a Snapware containers or Ziploc bags. This keeps the item fresh by eliminating air and keeps your food from absorbing flavors from other items in the refrigerator. If you can keep air away from your leftovers, they will last longer. Who wants their Parmesan cheese to taste like onion? Not me.

Remember these kitchen food safety procedures. Wash your hands with soap and water before you start cooking in the kitchen. Make sure to refrigerate food in airtight containers within two hours of cooking. Always wash your hands after handling any kind of raw meat. Make sure to wash all surfaces and cutting boards that you have used for meat products; this will avoid any cross contamination. Wash all produce before you cook or serve. Check the temperature of your refrigerator, making sure it is at least 40 degrees and not under 34 degrees. Your freezer should register 32 degrees or less. This will also keep your food safe for eating.

This is not on a recipe card in my recipe box, but when I first got married, I had a similar table in my homemade cookbook. That and a family that measured with a handful of this and a dash of that made for some very interesting meals. Use your resources; there are lots out there to find and don’t be afraid to experiment. So, here’s to a safe start with a new kitchen cook.

Shopping List Calculation
These are my go-to quick-fix ideas that should help with recipes and shopping lists.

When a recipe calls for: You will need:
2 cups of blueberries 1 pint
2 cups sliced strawberries 1 pint
4 cups sliced peaches 8 medium sized
1 cup mashed banana 3 medium sized
1 cup fresh orange juice 3 medium sized
4 cups sliced apple 4 medium sized
4 cups shredded cabbage 1 small head
1 cup grated raw carrot 1 pound
4 cups fresh green beans 1 pound
3 cups sliced raw potatoes 1 pound
1 cup chopped sweet pepper 1 large
1 cup chopped tomato 14 ½ ounce can, drained
1 cup bread cubes 2 slices fresh bread
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 8-oz. block
1 cup egg whites 6-7 large eggs
4 cups confectioner’s sugar 1 pound
2 1/3 cup brown sugar 1 pound
4 cups flour 1 pound
1 cup chopped nuts 4 oz.
Meat products ¼ to ½ pound per person

Substitute Chart

Need: Substitute with:
1 tsp. baking powder ¼ tsp. baking soda + ½ tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup buttermilk 1 cup yogurt or add 1 tablespoon vinegar to milk to make a cup.
1 cup corn syrup 1 cup honey
1 TBL. fresh herbs 1 tsp. dried herb
1 cup ketchup 1 cup tomato sauce + 1 tsp. sugar + 

1 tsp. vinegar

1 cup mayonnaise 1 cup sour cream or 1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup baking mix 1 cup pancake mix
1 cup cake flour 1 cup all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cream of tartar 2 tsp. lemon juice or vinegar
1 teaspoon hot sauce ¾ tsp. cayenne pepper + 1 tsp. vinegar
1 cup sugar ¾ cup honey or ¾ cup maple syrup or 1 tsp. stevia

If baking substitute 1 cup applesauce