January 29, 2009

Kitchen Basics for Easy Cooking

A well-organized kitchen can help you cook more efficiently by simply knowing where things are located. Take a visual map of your kitchen. Are cooking utensils and pot holders near a cooking range? Do you know what’s inside your pantry? Are mixing bowls and measuring cups easy to locate? Re-thinking your kitchen workspace can save you precious minutes in recipe prep.

Here are a few organizational tips that are tried and true.
1. Be smart about storage space. Cabinets can store dishes, cups and bowls. They can also store foods that you cook with often. Keep like ingredients together. Canned beans, tomatoes and vegetables can be organized together. Dried pastas and beans can be stored near each other. Spices can be alphabetized for convenience. If you have pantry space, try to keep daily items (pasta sauce, rice, flours) at eye-level. Keep a wipe-off board or chalkboard to keep track of what you need to replace.

2. Use your countertops. Store daily items on the counter. This will ensure that you use them and save time in the morning. The toaster, can opener, blender, and food processor will be ready when you use them and you don’t have to find storage space. Daily food items can also be stored in attractive containers. Beans or pastas in canisters, bread in a bread box, fruit in a fruit bowl.

3. Eliminate junky drawers. Plastic or wood organizers make silverware and kitchen gadgets easy to find all the time. Cooking or baking cooking utensils can be stored in a canister or drawer next to the stovetop.

4. First in, first out. Try to use items in the order they were bought. This common sense skill will save many foods from spoiling, re-buying the same foods, or creating multiple containers of the same food. Refrigerators can store a large amount of food. Take advantage of pre-organized areas in the fridge: produce drawers, meat and cheese drawers, butter and margarine drawers and side-door storage. Keep frequently used items in areas that are easy to reach. You may want to separate your fridge into four or more areas: beverages, dairy, proteins, produce and leftovers. Try to use items in the order they were bought, first in, first out.

5. Clean it up. Wipe down counters, stovetops and tabletops daily. This helps keep your kitchen in working order the rest of the week.

1 comment:

  1. 6. Don't let your husband put the dishes away. (Every time Trev does the dishes, he puts half of them away in some random place. Next time I need that specific item in the kitchen, I'll spend 5 minutes scouring every drawer and cupboard trying to find it. hehehehehehe...)