Before I became obsessed with everything Calphalon, I was a young 20something living in my own place and stuck with the daunting task of cooking for myself everyday. What I found to be most surprising was that a large variety of cookware pieces– both individual and sets – existed for the smallest of reasons and were completely unnecessary. Since I wasn’t always a somewhat established professional, I naturally had a budget that was far below the cookware set of my dreams. So if you don’t have $450 to spend on a 12 piece set from one of the bigger named cookware manufacturers, then here is a list of cookware pieces you definitely need in order to put together some delicious meals.

  • First order of business! You should buy anodized aluminum because it is treated with a strengthening protective coating and will perform well without costing a fortune…just be sure to use place utensils and the pans will last you a long time!
  • 12-inch sauté pan – this pan will probably be used the most and can cook everything from bacon to sautéing vegetables.
  • Stockpot – this is great for boiling pasta and making soups and stews. This is a necessity since pasta is often a staple in a lot of different meals.
  • 2-quart saucepan – this pan can be used to prepare rice and blend sauces.
  • Pyrex bakeware set (anywhere from 6 to 17 pieces) – great for baking cakes, cooking ribs in the oven, and just about any other baking/broiling dish. I really love Pyrex because you can cook in them and throw a lid on it and store it for leftovers.

Of course it is always best to buy your cookware in a set since you probably will pay more per piece, than you would in a complete set. I will be posting some solid choices all under $200!

Stay fabulous ladies!

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