Cook When You Can Essentials: Your Checklist for a Meal Prep Kitchen

Ready to try meal prepping with the author of Cook When You Can, Eat When You Want? This simple checklist will help you be prepared for batch cooking today.



For Cooking:

Make sure you have the following cookware on hand:

  • 1 lidded Dutch oven or stockpot (even better if you have both)
  • 1 sauté pan
  • 1 skillet
  • 3 saucepans of different sizes
  • Optional: 1 wok, 1 steam cooker


The equipment needed for the seasonal menus in Cook When You Can, Eat When You Want is very basic, requiring no professional-level tools at all: mixing bowls, ramekins, colander, strainer, sheet pan, gratin baking dish or shallow baking dish, tart pan, round cake pan, loaf pan, salad spinner, immersion blender, food mill (or potato masher), small food processor, zester or grater, and a skimmer.


For Storing:

This book is unique because it requires foods and prepared entrees to be stored. It is essential, therefore, that you have several airtight containers on hand. Choose glass containers, which are more hygienic than plastic and can be placed safely in the oven or microwave. You will find many of these types of containers at large retailers and home stores at very reasonable prices.


You will need a maximum of:

  • 1 very large container for storing salads
  • 3 large containers
  • 5 medium containers
  • 3 small containers
  • 2 small airtight containers for storing chopped onions and garlic, to seal off odors
  • 1 (6-cup/1.5-L-capacity) glass jar for storing soups and gazpachos

Also, be sure to keep in your pantry: plastic wrap, freezer bags, and paper towels.


Staples for every season:

The following ingredients are used frequently in the menus, so be sure to keep these stocked:

  • Quick-cooking grains (such as durum wheat, lentils, etc.)
  • Dried bread crumbs
  • Tomato sauce
  • Basic spices: cloves, herbes de Provence, cinnamon, curry, ground cumin, dried thyme, ras el hanout spice blend, whole
  • nutmeg, and bay leaves
  • All-purpose flour*
  • Sunflower oil
  • Olive oil
  • Ketchup
  • Lentils
  • Baking powder
  • For those allergic to gluten, you can use gluten-free pasta and flour.
  • Cornstarch
  • Honey
  • Mustard
  • Dried pasta
  • Black pepper
  • Quinoa
  • White rice
  • Brown rice
  • Couscous
  • Soy sauce
  • Table salt, sea salt (preferably gray and fleur de sel)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Wine vinegar


Caroline Pessin is both a food writer and stylist; she lives in France.