Organizing your kitchen can save time and make less work for you. Taking the stress out of cooking allows you more time to spend with your family while enjoying the process of cooking. Organizing your kitchen includes your equipment, small appliances, packaging supplies, and food. Cooking takes time, planning, and a little practice. Help keep your meals a simple, rather than a stressful activity.
- Place equipment close to where you’ll actually use it.
- Use time-saving appliances, such as a microwave, blender, or food processor.
- Before you start cooking, get out everything you need. Then do all the chopping, so it will be easier to follow the recipe steps.
- Clean as you go. It’ll make after-dinner cleanup a piece of cake and prevent dirty dishes left in the sink.
- Have your garbage can ready.
- Learn how to slice and dice. If you practice, you’ll be able to slice and dice food quickly, safely, and into the same size for even cooking.
- Learn what a tablespoon of oil looks like in the pan and what a teaspoon of salt looks like. Do you really need to measure the cup of chopped peppers, or can you estimate? Unless you’re baking and need precision, recipe amounts are often just estimates, especially if you like more carrots than mushrooms.
- Cook more than one food item at a time, or double your recipe. Having an extra meal waiting in the freezer will make life easier on a really hard day.
- Serve one-dish meals, such as a casserole, several times a week. Most covered casseroles can be refrigerated up to 1 to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months after being cooked. Be sure to use reusable containers or freeze-and-bake containers.
- Serve simple, yet hearty, meals such as a meat and vegetable main dish with a salad or a hearty stew with bread and a salad.
- Stretch a meal by adding vegetables, pasta, or rice to ground beef, chopped meat, fish, or hard-cooked eggs.
- Substitute canned tuna for crab, shrimp, or lobster in mixed dishes.
- Reuse leftover vegetables, pasta, rice, and meat for casseroles and soups, but follow food safety guidelines when reheating or storing.
- Get the family involved with preparing and serving the meals by sharing the responsibilities.
Reference: USDA MyPlate, Kitchen Timesavers
Source: Dr. Sandra Bastin, RDN, LDN, Extension Professor, Food and Nutrition Specialist
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