Top Ten Essential Plastic "Starter Kitchen" Supplies

Many young adults, from college grads to newlyweds, lack the right kitchen supplies. Without a smartly stocked kitchen, many people give up on meal preparation altogether, resorting to frozen meals and carryout. The extra costs and calories add up! Also, the kitchen can become unsafe territory without the right tools to prepare and store food.

A variety of plastic containers, wraps and other products are designed to help consumers keep food fresh and safe in the kitchen. Here are the top ten plastic essentials for safety and efficiency in starter kitchens. 

#1 – Plastic Cutting Boards

Plastic cutting boards provide non-porous surfaces for food preparation that make them less likely to harbor bacteria. Food experts recommend maintaining at least two separate cutting boards – one for raw meats, seafood and poultry and another for produce and other ready-to-eat foods. Be sure to clean them thoroughly after each use.

#2 – "Grown Up" Plastic Containers

One out of five 18-34 year olds lack "grown up” storage containers. To save time and money, invest in a set of plastic containers designed for use in the freezer, microwave and dishwasher. Plastic containers of varying shapes and sizes can help provide safe, convenient storage for leftovers. Dividing leftovers in several small containers helps food cool faster and allows for storage in serving sizes appropriate for lunches or snacks on the run. 

#3 – Plastic Wrap and Sealable Bags

Seal in freshness, flavor and nutrients with plastic wrap and bags. In the microwave, plastic wrap can help heat food evenly and prevent splatter. Sealable bags can provide quick, safe storage of sandwiches and snacks on the go. Large sealable bags can be used to safely marinate meat, fish and poultry.  Just flip over the bag to redistribute marinade. Also, you can use plastic bags and wrap to batch and store soups, stews, casseroles and other dishes for multiple home-cooked meals. 

#4 – Colander

A lightweight, dishwasher-safe plastic colander is ideal for draining pasta, rinsing vegetables and more.  Keep it near the sink for easy access. 

#5 – Salad Spinner

Use a salad spinner to thoroughly clean and dry lettuce for salads with a few simple motions.  Inexpensive salad spinners are sold in the kitchen or household departments of most discount stores. Plastic outer bowls can go straight on the table, so cleaned salad greens are ready to serve in a jiff. 

#6 – Oven Bags

Plastic oven bags can help consumers prepare large, satisfying, healthy meals that are great for leftovers.  Just place chicken or meat in a plastic bag designed for use in the oven, along with your favorite vegetables, sauce or spices. Then put it in a baking pan and pop it in the oven. The bags seal in moisture and flavor, and there's no messy pan to scrub!

#7 – Cooking Utensils

Many plastic spoons, spatulas and other cooking utensils are resistant to high heats and are essential to prevent scratching the surface of nonstick pots and pans.  These plastic cooking utensils can help keep your pots and pans looking newer longer.

#8 - Drawer Organizers and Knife Sleeves

These easy-to-clean, durable plastic products are ideal tools for organizing silverware and other cooking utensils in your kitchen. Organizers help prevent the hazards of fumbling around among sharp objects.  For added protection of good knives (another essential!) and your hands, store knives in a plastic knife sleeve.

#9 – Plastic Mixing Bowls

From kitchen to table, lightweight, non-skid plastic bowls are great for preparing elaborate meals or serving microwave popcorn. Many are designed for use in the microwave, freezer and dishwasher and come in a variety of stackable sizes to help save space in smaller kitchens. Plastic bowls with pourable spouts are great for baking.  Many double as a fruit bowl or serving dish and come with lids for easy storage of sauces, leftovers and other foods.

#10 – Microwave Splatter Shield

Plastic splatter covers are specially designed to avoid greasy, messy splatter in the microwave.  These clear shields cover your plate for quick, mess-free heating. 

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