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#Adulting your way through the kitchen |

#Adulting your way through the kitchen

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — This week, 8News reporter Roxie Bustamante is taking on the challenges of #Adulting. Today, an instructor at Mise En Place shows us how to cook up a storm in the kitchen, without breaking the bank.

Jenny Tremblay West, the lead chef instructor at Mise En Place, said when it comes to adulting in the kitchen there is more information on cooking, now more than ever.

“Instead of saying, ‘I can’t cook,’ just to say ‘I’m learning how to cook,’” Tremblay West said. “I even consider myself always learning different cuisines different styles. Just starting to learn how to cook is a huge hurdle for people, but you really have to. I feel like especially young adults, it’s hard but it’s really worth it. It will pay off in the long run.”

Tremblay West said the first step is to try to find a simple recipe. Then, follow some type of instruction whether it’s through a cooking magazine or book, taking a cooking class at Mise En Place, or even following a youtube channel.

“Seeing how things are prepared properly,” Tremblay West said. “How to hold a knife. How to chop things. The understanding of basic differences between what a mince is and a dice is. There’s just so many little skills that can take you to the next level to where you are feeling comfortable to prepare a meal.”

Tremblay West walked 8News reporter Roxie Bustamante through three recipes that those adulting can whip up in their kitchen in 30 minutes or less. She said unlike baking, when it comes to cooking, you don’t have to stay married to the recipe and you can always substitute ingredients for what you have already in your kitchen.

“You really can play with things and adjust things to what you have in your pantry and also your taste,” Tremblay West said. “If you can get little bits and pieces of ingredients ready to go and stocked in your fridge then it makes your cooking time dramatically go down it’s just beneficial all around.”

Quick Cabbage and Shiitake Stir Fry (top), Mediterranean Salad (bottom right), and Tuna and White Bean Salad (bottom left).

If you’re starting from scratch, Tremblay West put together a list of the basic necessities you need to have in your kitchen:

  • Pantry: olive oil, vinegar, kosher salt, pepper, hot sauce, soy sauce, honey, peanut butter, canned beans, rice, pasta, pasta sauce, canned tomatoes, canned tuna, dried fruit, nuts, flour, and sugar. Bread, onions, sweet potato, garlic, bananas, apples.
  • Cold ingredients: butter, cheese, milk, eggs, yogurt, jam, condiments, carrots, mini peppers, celery, frozen fruit, frozen veggies, meats.
  • Spices: cumin, oregano, cinnamon, smoked paprika, ginger, chili powder, garlic and onion powders.

Also, what tools to always have on hand:

  • Knives: a chef’s knife and a paring knife.
  • Cutting boards :a large and small, dry them well and keep clean.
  • Pots and Pans: a large pot and 2 skillets a non-stick and a 10” heavy duty baking sheet. A large and small mixing bowl.
  • Cookware: measuring cup and spoons, spatula (flat plastic and rubber), wooden spoons, strainer, can opener, whisk, veggie peeler, oven mit, and kitchen towels.

Last but not least, she said meal prepping can help save people both money and time.

“Take time to create a list of foods you enjoy to eat,” Tremblay West said. “Take a look around the web or food magazines to get inspired. I find it very helpful to not focus on fancy meals and more on basics: protein, starch, and veggies. The simpler you make it the easier it is to get it finished. Avoid burnout by switching it up every week.”

To take a cooking class with Tremblay West, CLICK HERE. You can find the three recipes mentioned in the story, below.

Mediterranean Salad Recipe (Serves 4)


  • 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cucumber, halved and sliced
  • ½ cup feta
  • ¼ cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper


In a medium bowl combine tomatoes, cucumber, feta, olives, chickpeas, and parsley.In a measuring cup whisk together olive oil, water red wine vinegar, garlic, oregano, and dijon. Season with salt and pepper. Pour dressing all over the salad and toss lightly. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

Quick Cabbage and Shiitake Stir Fry (Serves 4)


  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped peeled ginger
  • 4-ounce fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps cut into 1/4-inch wide strips
  • ½ a head of cabbage, quartered lengthwise and cored, then cut crosswise into 1-inch wide pieces
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small bowl whisk the water, soy, vinegar, cornstarch, and sugar. In a large sauté pan over medium high heat add one tablespoon of oil, heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and the ginger and stir-fry for 15 seconds, then add the mushrooms and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Drop in half of the cabbage and add a pinch of salt and pepper, and toss the mixture while cooking for 2 minutes. Add more oil if needed and the remaining cabbage and cook for 3 minutes before pouring in the soy mixture, stirring and cooking for 1 minute. Add the scallions and an additional pinch of salt and pepper, stir and serve. Serve with brown rice.

Tuna and White Bean Salad (Serves 2)


  • 1 (6-ounce) can tuna packed in oil
  • 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans
  • ½ red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon drained capers
  • 3 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Zest from one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

Put the tuna with its oil, the beans, onion, capers, spinach, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Toss gently. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to absorb flavors. Serve on crusty bread or crackers.

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