Whether you’re a cooking newbie or a burgeoning Anthony Bourdain, there are a few essentials you need to have in your kitchen. Look for basic, multi-purpose, quality tools that will hold up over time and withstand a few splashes of sauce.
Buy, use and love:

A cast iron skillet.

All kitchens need one of these incredible old school workhorses. They can take a beating and hold up amazingly well over time, unlike their supposedly (and always temporarily) non-stick cousins. A cast iron skillet can go from stovetop to oven and out to the table. So long as you season it before use, don’t use metal tools and keep it out of significant soap and water, it will last you a lifetime.

Color-Coded Cutting Mats

Stay away from expensive boards full of bells and whistles. All you need for easy cutting and good sanitation are a set of inexpensive plastic mats in different colors. Keep to the guidelines of red for meat, yellow for poultry and green for veggies, or go nuts and cut your veggies on blue. Just keep it consistent to keep it safe. As an added bonus, these are easy to pick up, tilt, fold and channel all your chopped goodies into the pan rather than onto the floor.

Good Knives

These are so important we did a whole blog on them. Find at least a few good quality knives, or at least the basics: a chef’s knife, cleaver and paring knife.

Knife sharpener

Speaking of knives, you have to keep them sharp. Nothing will frustrate you faster in the kitchen than hacking away at something that should be easy to slice. Plus, sharpening knives is just fun – feel free to impersonate the Swedish Chef if you like while whetting away. If you don’t have a knife sharpener at home, make sure to have a place you can take your knives to instead.

Kitchen Shears

Leave a pair of shears in a drawer and keep them just for cooking. Everything from cutting twine, opening packages or cutting herbs directly into the pan is made easier with shears.

Now roll up your sleeves and dig into the awesome steak or lasagna you proudly made – maybe even share it with a friend. (Hint. Hint.)

Image Source: eHow.com