Cookware Checklist: Essential Kitchen Items For College-Bound Student

Preparing your college-bound student for his/her first apartment? Here are some essential kitchen items you will not want to forget to include.

When you send your child off to college, not only are you sending him into the land of $150 textbooks, late night cramming sessions and weekend long fraternity parties. You are sending him into a land where a home-cooked meal no longer consists of one starch, one meat and two vegetables. Instead a home-cooked meal will include one bag of ramen noodles, a side serving of boxed macaroni and cheese and, if he's lucky, a handful of Doritos stolen from his roommate's stash. Quick and easy? Yes. Healthy and fulfilling? No. If you want your child to have semi-nutritious meals, arm him with the following kitchen essentials so he has no excuse to eat cold pizza every morning.

* One of the most important items for your college student's kitchen is a quality non-stick twelve inch skillet. While it may be tempting to get a cheap skillet from the grocery store, you want a skillet that will last. You also want to invest in a non-stick skillet or else your college student will forego cleaning the skillet the first time he has to scrub meat sauce off the bottom. Don't forget to get your student some heat-resistant spatulas and spoons.

* To heat up sauces for spaghetti or canned vegetables, be sure to get a three-quart saucepan for your college student, as well. This will also come in handy when preparing those pesky ramen noodles, unfortunately.

* Chances are, spaghetti will be a mainstay in your college student's weekly meal plan. After all, it is inexpensive and tasty. Thus, you will want to get a stock pot (preferably eight quart) so your college student can boil spaghetti and noodles or cook chili and soups for those late nights spent studying.

* With that being said, don't forget to buy a colander so your child can drain his noodles or wash fruit and vegetables. Okay, maybe he won't even lay a hand on fresh fruits and vegetables during his entire stay at college, but we can dream, can't we?

* Many people can make a long list of all the different knives they own. Some are for cutting fish while others are used for cutting bread. Unless your son or daughter is a gourmet chef, don't bother getting him/her a ton of knives. Invest in a good quality chef's knife and knife sharpener. Sure, you can find chef's knives for under ten bucks, but if you invest a little money now, your child may be able to use that knife for years to come. Also, cheaper knives tend to get dull quickly, which is very dangerous.

* Your college student will also need at least two solid cutting boards, one for meat products like beef, chicken and fish and one for other items like vegetables and spices. The cutting board used for meat should be made of plastic and be dishwasher-safe, while the other cutting board can be wood.

* To open all those cans of tuna, your college student will need a can opener.

* Invest in four places settings of dishes that includes a bowl, a plate, a glass and some silverware. Get more than four place settings and you are setting your college student up for a pile of uncleaned and smelly dishes in the sink.

* In case your child is inspired to bake or try a new recipe, you will want to get him/her some metal or ceramic mixing bowls, too.

* As far as the pantry goes, the sky is the limit, but your college student will need the essentials like salt, pepper and oil (healthier oils like olive oil and canola work best) for their basic cooking.

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