What’s in your kitchen toolbox?  Here are the basic items you will need.

Cutting Board and Sharp Knife


Graters, Peelers, Cheese Slicer

Measuring cups and spoons

Mixing/storage/serving bowls with lids

Stainless mixing/storage bowls. Lids are a bonus!

Sauce pans, steamer, and lids

Frying pans with a lid or two

Cookie sheets

Baking/serving/storing dishes

Dutch Oven

Soup Pot with lid


Here are the basic spices to get you started.

Salt, Pepper, Onion and Garlic Powder (SPOG)

Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Mustard, Ginger, Paprika, Cumin, Corriander, Tumeric

Oregano, Basil, Fennel, Bay Leaves

Dill Weed, Lemon Grass, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Tarragon


Here are the condiments I recommend you have on-hand in general.

Olive Oil, Butter

Mayonnaise, Sour Cream

Balsamic and White Vinegars

Dijon Mustard, Ketchup


Here’s a breakdown of how to time cooking your meals.

Start with the longest cooking item, like rice or baked chicken.

Clean and chop the veggies. Place them on a plate or in the pan.

Clean and chop fast cooking protein. Place on plate or pan and season.

Coordinate the cooking time of last items. Start with longer cooking time.

An overall tip:

Somethings take just a few minutes to cook.  Others, more than you think.  Have all your main ingredients out. Prep as much as you can right away, so you can focus on the cooking part.

Entertaining! Woo Hoo!

Plan and Prep first, so you can enjoy your guests!

Budget, Menu, Ingredients and Portions

Serving dishes and utensils, place settings

Familiarity with recipes. Practice run if trying something new.

Give yourself plenty of time to cook and look great!

An overall tip:

Something will go wrong. Be prepared to change the menu or logistics on the fly!

Beautiful appetizers usually take a lot of time!  Allocate an extra 2-3 hours if you want them on your menu.  Otherwise, KISS – Keep It Simple Sassy!