Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tasty Tuesdays - Developing a System For Your Kitchen, Part 1

I have decided to start a series on how to develop a system to make your kitchen work for you. I have found several things in the 4 years that I have been married (2 of those being a SAHM) that have really helped simplify my life. Since my friends sometimes comment on certain things that I do, I wanted to share with you those things that have made my kitchen work for me.

Today I want to talk about prep work. I know that, as a SAHM, I should have plenty of time to get dinner started and going on any given day but I still find it difficult to get myself motivated sometimes. One thing that I have found which helps me tremendously is to get the prep work for my meals taken care of before the actual day that I need the food.

Something I have begun to do is put all of my dry ingredients (for certain food items) into a ziploc bag, thereby forming my own mix (similar to Bisquik). I write on the outside of the bag in permanent marker what ingredients are in the bag, what ingredients need to be added, and cooking/baking instructions. (I personally recommend quart-sized freezer bags. They tend to be just the right size and are much more "heavy duty" that the average zipper bag). Here is an example of a cornbread mix:

Right now, I have mixes for pancakes, waffles, cornbread, and herb batter bread. I try to keep two of each on hand. Since the bags are sturdy freezer bags and they only contain dry ingredients, I can use them over and over again. When I have some free time (haha), I will check the pantry to see how many of each we have left. If we are running low, I will fill a few bags.

This idea can also be done using a large container and mixing for several batches at a time. I tend to think that I would not mix everything well enough and would therefore end up with a lopsided loaf of bread or cornbread that tastes like it has no sugar, so I use the bag method. I also like to do it this way because I can always see exactly how many bags I have prepared. In addition to those reasons, bags stack well and are, of course, very versatile when it comes to storage space.

I have several more things that I am excited to share with you in the coming weeks. What do you do to keep your kitchen organized? Blog about it in your own blog and then leave me a comment letting me know about it. I will post a link to your blog next week when I continue this series.

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