This is part two in the article Quick And Easy Ways to Cook and Clean Up
- Save steps. Keep spices near the stove or counter where you will be cooking or mixing. The idea of putting spices in alphabetical order has never worked for me. Here’s why: I rarely use allspice. Alphabetically, it would be right at the front but the onion salt, which I use all the time, would be at the back.
I keep my spices in order based on how frequently I use them. I place the spices I use most in the front. I store my spices in two different places. I store the spices that I use at my stove near the stove (onion powder, oregano, chili powder, etc.). I keep my baking spices at my baking center (things like vanilla, soda and cinnamon). If some spices overlap, which doesn’t happen often, I will buy two and keep one in each area. This saves time and steps walking back and forth across the kitchen.
Do this with everything. Keep your pots and pans close to where you use them, which may not always be by the stove. I peel my potatoes at my sink so I have to walk to the stove, bring the pan back to the sink to put the potatoes in and then back to the stove. Do I have a place close to my sink to store my pans instead?
This may seem like overkill but you would be surprised how much time and energy is wasted walking back and forth in a kitchen. You also tend to lose your rhythm tossing things together if you have to stop and walk across the kitchen to get something.
Check your own cooking habits. Do you find yourself walking back and forth a lot? Is there something you can do to change that?
- Change ingredients. It takes much less time to shake some onion and garlic powder into a dish than to spend time chopping and sauteing onions and garlic. Buy convenience foods like minced garlic in a jar when you can.
I’m sure some food lovers can tell the difference if I use fresh grated garlic on my garlic bread or fresh and not canned mushrooms in my casserole, but my 5 year old child couldn’t care less so relax and stop trying to cook like a gourmet cook. You can even be a below average but happy cook and your family will love that average cook more than an exhausted gourmet chef.
Let’s face it, when given a choice, most kids would pick macaroni and cheese from a box over macaroni and cheese with six different hand grated cheeses and a special sauce. If you are tired all the time, save the gourmet meals for when the kids are grown or life is easier.
- Clean as you cook. The minute you are done using an ingredient, don’t set it on the counter- Put it away. Don’t set that dirty bowl on the counter. Rinse it and put in the dishwasher or set it in the sink. Keep some soapy water in your sink or a bowl and wipe as you go along when you can. There should be almost nothing left on your counters when you get ready to sit down.
Just yesterday I was making cookies and started to measure powdered cocoa. I knew it would make a mess so, instead of measuring on the counter, I held it over the piece of wax paper I was going to place the cookies on. Then I didn’t have to clean anything.
This will be one of the harder steps at first because being messy is often a habit that is hard to break but watch yourself and practice and it will get easier.
For more easy tips and tricks to save time and money in the kitchen, check out Groceries On A Dime.
Photo By: stevendepolo