OK, so you’ve read Larry Correia’s bit on setting up a kitchen for dirt cheap, complete with fisking of idiots, and you’ve gotten yourself a good knife and cutting board (look, most food prep requires cutting, not everything requires spatulas, serving spoons, cookie sheets, or even skillets…).
So… while I strongly recommend getting a crock pot down the road, and garlic presses, sturdy spatulas, good stirring and cooking spoons, and cast iron skillets are also all good down the road (hint, you don’t need full, expensive sets….), there’s a few other non-obvious things that should be upgraded when you get the chance.
Sure, get a slightly nicer frying pan (if you can’t afford large and small, stick with large) and for now I’d stick with teflon until you’re ready to go cast iron (from what I’ve seen the other more modern non-stick surfaces stop being non-stick pretty quickly) and saucepans (ditto again re- sizes, go buy in person so you can see how big it is), also get a large stock or soup pot if you’re planning on Chili or homemade soups (I can start with beef bones or a whole chicken and given vegetables/etc., end up with a variety of soups). Don’t spend a lot of money, but do get something nicer than the absolute bottom of the barrel. Also – be aware – thin pans and pots transfer heat quickly but don’t retain it , thick ones are slower to warm up but retain it more. I personally prefer thicker ones except for popcorn. There’s also a reason why woks used over flames and grills are thin, but I’d start with a sturdier one.
Turn to your mixing bowls and storage.
Look, I’ve spent years with the cheap, plastic, almost disposable “glad” style storage as well as actual tupperware. Still have some – for taking to picnics/etc. – and for longer term food storage stick with pyrex. Seals tight (don’t nuke it with the lid on it, even loosely though),you can clearly see your food, microwaveable, no issues with plastics on reheating for where that’s a concern, and with a little care so they don’t shatter when hot, last forever without acquiring weird food smells that never quite come out.
For mixing bowls, I go with steel. Again, plastic acquires, and retains, weird smells. Sure, glass ones can be microwaved, but that’s why I’ve got pyrex. Find a decent, not horribly expensive set with sealing lids and silicone bottoms (note, do not place directly on a hot cooking element, the silicone is not that heat resistant). This gives you extra storage containers as well as the ability to prep food and mixed food ahead of time and store it in the fridge ready to go. They also deal with being dropped better than glass, and barring melting the silicone because you were dumb with a heating element, heat differences better as well.
You’ll notice there are much more expensive options out there. There’s no need unless you have “fuck you” money. That said, these are things where a few extra bucks can make a big difference and net you something you can count on and use for a long time.