Although most of us are not experiencing the commutes like we did pre-pandemic, jobs, family, online school for the kids, taking care of loved ones, and just life overall is still as stressful, if not more so. This hasn't changed the fact though, that home cooking and sharing meals both nourishes the soul and body. To better prepare for cooking for family, friends, or yourself here are some hacks to set yourself up for success in the kitchen.
This hasn't changed the fact though, that home cooking and sharing meals both nourishes the soul and body.
There is no better way to turn your kitchen from frightening to friendly than to get organized. An organized kitchen looks like:
Placement: Put your silverware, plates, cups, bowls etc close to the dishwasher or drying wrack as possible, this saves time when needing to put clean dishes away.
Keep the most used items out: Favorite pan you use every morning to fry eggs? Keep it out on the stove. Drink tea often? Keep that kettle on deck (or on the stove). Preparing lots of fresh veggies and salads? Leave that cutting board out for easy accessibility.
De-clutter. The general rule of thumb is if you haven't used something in the past year, it's time to part ways. Donate, donate donate! Need help finding a place to take your once loved (or never used) kitchen items? Use this link to find which donation sites are closest to you: https://www.moving.com/tips/where-to-donate-your-stuff-before-moving/
Remember The Two P's. Plan & Prep.
Plan: If you're wanting to cook a meal after a long day of zoom meetings and staring at the same excel sheet, try to plan ahead. Buy groceries the night before or on the weekends... or even on your lunch break.
Prep: If you already have your groceries stored away in the kitchen, prep them before you cook. Chop, mince and food process your way to a beautiful and complete mise en place.
An alternative to the Two P's: Once you buy your groceries for the meal in mind, begin to prep and cook once you get back from the store. This helps save time and also allows you breathing room to re-read the recipe and take your time.
Spices: Have spices already purchased and in the pantry, its one less thing to worry about. Need a solid place to start? Look at this list from Master Class
Canned goods: For an easier prep, think about having canned beans, veggies, corn, peppers, chicken etc in a can for a quick meal without needing to take a trip to the store. Worried about the health of canned foods? Check out these tips to make them healthier & taste better.
Take inventory: Look at your pantry, freezer and fridge. Take inventory of what you have and what you need to replace. Personally, I keep a white board on my refrigerator to make an ongoing list of what I need to get at different stores. There are many ways to keep inventory but I find a list always helps. Here are some free lists you can use for your kitchen.