Equip a Kitchen for $200: The Look for Less

The New York Times ran a great article on how you can get everything you need for a kitchen for $200. Read the article to discover how Time’s food columnist Mark Bittman outfitted a kitchen for $200. We were so inspired; we thought we’d give it a try.

Save money at garage sales
You can save a lot of money on stocking up your kitchen by simply hitting up garage sales. A lot of people sell Pampered Chef items for super cheap prices and garage sales are great for finding crock pots and roasters. We found our crock pot for $5 and a double boiler for $.25. We also found this roaster at the Salvation Army for $2 (pictured above).

But if you must have everything new, you can get what you need at Kmart.

The biggest ticket items in any kitchen are the pots and pans. While you shouldn’t be buying flimsy stainless or aluminum pots and pans, Mark Bittman recommends getting cast-aluminum. Cast aluminum pots and pans can cost you a pretty penny, unless you go to Kmart. There they have the Essential Home Cast Aluminum Cookware collection. You can find pots and pans that start at $12.99.

We also love the Kmart Martha Stewart Everyday 5-Piece Non-Stick Bakeware set for $22.99. Here is a little tip if you have older bakeware that you can’t afford to part with: Whenever you bake, line your baking sheets with parchment paper. Baked goods come right off the parchment paper and it helps prolong the life of your pans and prevents that nasty sticking crustiness that some how gets all over.

As you outfit your kitchen, don’t go crazy. Remember to keep things in moderation. Here are the items Mark Bittman says you can live without:

BREAD MACHINE You can buy mediocre bread easily enough, or make the real thing without much practice.
MICROWAVE If you do a lot of reheating or fast (and damaging) defrosting, you may want one. But essential? No. And think about that counter space!
STAND MIXER Unless you’re a baking fanatic, it takes up too much room to justify it. A good whisk or a crummy handheld mixer will do fine.
BONING/FILLETING KNIVES Really? You’re a butcher now? Or a fishmonger? If so, go ahead, by all means. But I haven’t used my boning knife in years. (It’s pretty, though.)
WOK Counterproductive without a good wok station equipped with a high-B.T.U. burner. (There’s a nice setup at Bowery Restaurant Supply for $1,400 if you have the cash and the space.)
STOCKPOT The pot you use for boiling pasta will suffice, until you start making gallons of stock at a time.
PRESSURE COOKER It’s useful, but do you need one? No.
ANYTHING MADE OF COPPER More trouble than it’s worth, unless you have a pine-paneled wall you want to decorate.
RICE COOKER Yes, if you eat rice twice daily. Otherwise, no.
COUNTERTOP CONVECTION OVEN, ROTISSERIE, OR “ROASTER” Only if you’re a sucker for late-night cooking infomercials.

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