Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tasty Tuesday - Developing a System For Your Kitchen (Part 4)

Just a few tips for you today!

Keep your trash can close to where you work.
We had moved our trash can across the kitchen (we have a fairly big kitchen) for a Christmas party and just finally got around to moving it back a few weeks ago. It really does save a lot of steps!

Use freezer bags instead of freezer containers.
It is amazing how much faster things thaw when they are only 1-inch thick instead of 3-4 inches.

Buy in bulk.
I always try to buy my meat in bulk (only when it's on sale, of course). I then divide it up into appropriate amounts and cook or freeze it that way, so it is ready to pull out when I need it. I portion my ground beef into 1-lb freezer bags. Sometimes I cook it first; sometimes I don't. I flash freeze my chicken breasts and then put them all into a large freezer bag. Portioning before you put your food in the freezer saves on waste. (I.e. "All I needed was 1 lb of ground beef - now what am I going to do with the other 2 lbs?")

When you're in a hurry, use aluminum foil.
I don't know about you, but I HATE doing the dishes. Since I typically don't put my pans into the dishwasher (mostly because they don't fit), I try to wash them as little as possible. I do this by lining the pan with aluminum foil before I bake anything on it. We do this with cookies, fish sticks, french fries, garlic toast, chicken....well, ok - you get the idea. Pretty much anything frozen (or NOT frozen). Obviously this is the most economical route, but it sure saves me the hassle of washing dishes!

Arrange your kitchen to suit your needs.
Don't put your glasses across the kitchen from the refrigerator and your plates right next to it. There are very few things that you pull out of the fridge or freezer and stick directly on your plate. On the other hand, you probably will do that with your drinks. Also, keep in mind the placement of your dishwasher. Since dishes are probably your heaviest item in the dishwasher, you don't want to have to drag them all the way across the kitchen. Put them in a cupboard close to the dishwasher and save time when you unload.

Save your grocery bags.
Ok, first go through and see if you can find any that don't have at least 3 holes in the bottom. Once you have done that, stash those bags away for when you need to throw out a chicken bone or some rotten produce and trash day is still 4 days away. (Make sure you tie the bag up well! This is where the no-holes rule comes into play). This is much cheaper than using a ziploc and must more pleasant (to your nose) than not using anything.

Hide the appliances you rarely use.
Don't clutter your countertops with them. If you only use them once a month (or less), put them in a bottom cupboard, a basement, or your garage. You will learn to love your open countertops and find that they are much more efficient when it comes time to cook.

Buy two at a time and buy before you need to.
If there are items that we tend to use often, I try to buy two at a time. If I notice that we are low on applesauce or oatmeal, I will buy two or three so we are well-stocked. I keep an "extras" box on the floor of our pantry.

What are your tips for maintaining and organizing your kitchen?


Tina said...

A few things that I make sure that I do in my kitchen are: 1) put the glasses low enough for the kids to reach so I don't have to keep getting up to get them for them.
2) keep a step stool handy for when we need to reach things high up.
3) keep all of the canned goods separated by type and all labels facing forward on cans and boxes to make sure they are easy to see.
4) the recycling bin is kept under the sink for easy access.
5) everything has a place in the frig so things are easy to find...ie all condiments kept on one shelf, eggs, milk and water jugs, butter, etc. all have a specific place. If it's not there, there's none left.
Think that's it...btw, I agree about hiding the appliances. I used to like to keep everything on the counter until I decided to put it all up one day. I love how clean, tidy, and open my counters look without the clutter.

Tina said...

Oh yeah, one more thing...keep the coffee mugs close to the coffee pot and sugar etc so it's all convenient.

FLUUD7 said...

Great tips! Thank you!

I actually just started putting things in certain places in the fridge. My hubby has yet to catch on, but at least I know where they go. :)