Essential Cookware for Dinner Meals

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Be sure to have everything you need to start cooking at home with this essential cookware for dinner meals.

You’d like to start cooking dinners at home more often, and you need to purchase some new cookware. You may not have the budget or space to store a lot of cookware, and there are so many options to choose from.

It can be overwhelming when you start to shop for the cookware you need.
How may frying pans do you need? What sizes?
Is it better to purchase a set of cookware or one piece at a time?
How do you know what cookware you need if you haven’t cooked very much yet?

I’ve been making home cooked meals for our family for years, and there are several must-have pieces that are essential cookware for dinner meals that I recommend. With the cookware listed below you’ll have everything you need to cook literally hundreds of dinners for your family. 

 

Essential Cookware for Dinner Meals

The items listed below are essential cookware for cooking dinner meals. There are many other pans and essentials you would need for breakfast meals, desserts, baking, and but keep in mind that we’re focusing on preparing dinner meals.

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Frying Pans

MY FAVORITE BRANDS: CALPHALON, CUISINART, ALL-CLAD

Frying pans are probably the most used piece of cookware in the kitchen. Since you’ll be using it often, I recommend purchasing the best quality frying pan in your budget. Choose frying pans with a lid and that are ovenproof to extend the kinds of meals you can cook in them.

12-inch Frying Pan with Lid

You’ll use this pan all the time for things like browning ground beef, cooking chicken or fish filets, reducing sauces and more. Be sure to choose one with a lid and that is oven safe. Many recipes begin on the stovetop but are finished off baking in the oven. Having an oven safe frying pan will greatly extend the meals you can cook.

Deep Frying Pan with Lid

Deep frying pans are used for frying foods, making sauces, cooking larger quantities of meats, and precooking ingredients for casserole dishes. It’s definitely an essential for cooking dinner meals.

Casserole Dishes

MY FAVORITE BRANDS: CORNINGWARE, PYREX, OXO

Casserole dishes are not just for casseroles. You’ll use these baking dishes for things like lasagna, baking meats such as fish and roasts, side dishes, and even desserts. Get a 2 qt dish for families of 4 or less. Larger families will need a 3 qt size. A 9″x11″ pan is equivalent to a 2 quart dish, and a 9″x13″ dish is equivalent to a 3 quart dish.

9″x13″ Baking Dish

This baking dish is great for large families, and you’ll use it again and again for family dinners such as baked pastas, enchiladas, side dishes and desserts.

Baking Dish Set

It’s not always the best deal to purchase a set, but this one is a great choice! There are baking pans in 2 sizes and bonus 8 ounce storage containers. Each piece also comes with a lid perfect for storing leftovers or transporting your dish to a potluck.

CorningWare Ceramic Set

I have this set and use it ALL the time! These casserole dishes are great for recipes that require baking with a lid on. Plastic lids are also included for storing leftovers and some smaller baking dishes. This set is perfect for everyday use, but they also look nice enough for when you have company over and want to impress.

Crockpot or Slow Cooker

MY FAVORITE BRANDS: CROCK-POT, HAMILTON BEACH, NINJA

Crockpots make dinner preparation so easy. It is so nice coming home after a busy day to the smell of dinner already cooked. Our family has many favorite Crockpot meals such as Coca-Cola Pulled Pork, Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Tortilla Soup, and New England Clam Chowder just to name a few.

7 qt Manual Slow Cooker

While this CrockPot doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, it is really all you need to get started. I had this exact CrockPot for many years before passing it along to one of our adult kids. It is still going strong.

8 qt with Warmer and Timer

Many slow cooker recipes call for an 8-10 hour cooking time. If you regularly find yourself away from home longer than that, you should consider this CrockPot. It has a timer that will keep the food warm when it’s done cooking until you’re ready to eat.

10 qt Slow Cooker

If you do a lot of cooking for a large family or for a crowd, this oversized crockpot is what you need. It also has a locking lid for extra protection when you need to transport your food.

10 qt 8-in-1 Multi-Cooker

When my standard crock pot finally died after many years of use, I decided to upgrade to a multi-cooker. I love this thing! My favorite feature is that you can brown or sear meat in the same pot you use as a slow cooker, but it does way more than that. Check it out!

Dutch Oven

MY FAVORITE BRANDS: CALPHALON, ANYTHING CAST IRON

If you have cookware that was purchased as a set, it may have included a large pot. If so, that is your dutch oven! You’ll need a dutch oven for cooking things like chili, soups, stews, and slow cooking roasts.

7 qt Dutch Oven with Lid

This dutch oven is a great all around choice. Calphalon is one of my favorite brands because it heats evenly, cleans up easily, and lasts a long time. This one has a drain spout, 2 handles, and a clear lid so you don’t have to guess what’s going on inside the pot.

6 qt Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Bring a little color into your kitchen with this enameled cast iron dutch oven. I prefer to use a cast iron dutch oven when I’m slow-cooking large meats like a beef roast or pork roast. This one is available in 3 sizes: 4.3-quart, 6-quart, and 7.3-quart.

Sheet Pans

MY FAVORITE BRANDS: GOODCOOK, WILTON

You’ll need 2-3 good sheet pans in your kitchen for things like roasting vegetables, baking fish, and you can even cook an entire dinner on a sheet pan.

3 Piece Cookie Sheet Set

Yes a sheet pan can be used for cookies, but we’re concentrating on dinners right now. This 3 piece set offers 3 sizes, which is a great selection for your kitchen.

Wilton 2 Piece Baking Sheet Set

You can’t go wrong with a brand like Wilton. These will be used all the time for not only cooking dinners but also for baking and reheating leftovers.

Non-Stick Baking Mat

Save yourself some clean up time with these baking mats. When a recipe calls for a parchment paper lined pan, use these instead. They clean up easily you’ll never need to buy parchment paper again.

With this essential cookware you’ll have everything you need to prepare hundreds of dinner meals for your family.

Now…you just need some recipes!

delicious recipes your family will love

20 Easy to Make
Weeknight Dinner Recipes

This cookbook contains 20 easy-to-cook family dinners. You’ll have enough dinner ideas for 4 weeks without repeating a meal. Every recipe has a picture of the dish. At the bottom of each recipe is a link to the recipe post on FindingTimeToFly.com. Simply click on the link, and you’ll be taken directly to the recipe post with step-by-step in process photos.

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