10 Apr Kitchen Tips
The kitchen is the nerve center of the house.
- Think like a waitress. Use a solid tray to help you carry all your cutlery and dishes to the table in one go. Also use a spray bottle with some mild dish detergent in it for making table and chair wiping faster and more effective.
- Have a tub of hot sudsy water ready for after supper. Run your dirty dishes through it and let your cutlery soak in it. This helps your dish water and/or dishwasher stay clean longer.
- As soon as you begin meal prep, fill your sink with hot sudsy water. Wash your tools and dishes as you go. When you put the food onto serving trays, immediately wash your pots and pans. If you can’t, at least soak them in hot water. It will make clean up so much faster.
- To remove dry or even wet food from pots, pans, and bowls, use the plastic square bread tie for scraping, or a plastic card similar to a credit card. Works great too for scraping things off counters, stove-tops, etc.
- Just rinse kids dishes from breakfast and lunch that have been hardly used.
- Assign one cup to each child and have them clean it after each use so you don’t have all your cups and glasses dirty all the time.
- If you’d like to use a tablecloth regularly but hate laundering it all the time, buy some see through plastic from a fabric store or a place like Walmart. You can buy whatever length you need and I think it’s 60 inches wide. They have it on large spools in different weights. (Also good for covering your favorite books to make them last longer.) Even a vinyl tablecloth looks nice and is handy for small kid cleanup.
- Keep old towels nearby in some kind of bin for all those spills kids are always making.
- Have a kid cupboard available for those things kids always do in the kitchen – color, puzzles, play-dough, paper etc. If kids are always messing it up, put a lock on the cupboard or consider putting some items up high out of reach.
- Stick up a dry erase board somewhere to jot down important notes, accumulated errands to run, phone messages for others etc.
- Post menu plans on the fridge or inside a cupboard door using either a paper or dry-erase calendar.
- Post a grocery list on your fridge for quick additions and reminders.
- Post frequently used phone number list on a small piece of paper by your phone. Saves you having to get out your address book each time.
- Post a Preschooler Activity List you’ve made inside one of your cupboards. When you are stressed and need to get your little ones occupied go to it for quick suggestions, ie. puzzles, play-dough, blocks, coloring, blowing bubbles, build a blanket fort, take a bubble bath etc. It will help you stay calmer longer.
- Multi-task – While you cook a meal or do kitchen cleanup, you can talk to your kids, listen to them read, play hangman with them, make phone calls or listen to some great audiotapes or music if no one is around.
- Invest in a good size freezer. It will allow you to buy in bulk, save lots of money and have food always on hand. Use cardboard boxes to compartmentalize your freezer so that you can separate beef, poultry, pork, bread, etc. and find them more easily.
- Think ahead. For example if you plan on eating potatoes a few times during the week, cook up a lot of potatoes, immediately mash some, leave others for another day to make cold potato salad, pan-fried potatoes etc. Same is true for rice. Boil a lot one day. Use some as a side dish, next day add to soup, another day as part of the main course dish. We save a lot of time this way.
- Need a new fridge? If you have a large family, consider buying a full fridge with no freezer. It gives you so much extra room and allows you to do a one-stop shop for the family.
Read more tips for Saving Time and Money in the Kitchen
Here are some additional suggestions from a dear friend, D.P.
- Peel a banana from the bottom and you won’t have to pick the little ‘stringy things’ off of it. That’s how the primates do it! Take bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem they ripen faster!
- Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil. It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!
- Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.
- Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.
- To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich add a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese or heavy cream in and then beat.
- For a cool brownie, treat makes brownies as directed. Melt Andes mints in double broiler and pour over warm brownies. Let set for a wonderful minty frosting.
- Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic and at the end of the recipe if you want a stronger taste of garlic.
- Leftover snickers bars from Halloween make a delicious dessert. Simply chop them up with the food chopper. Peel, core and slice a few apples in a baking dish and sprinkle the chopped candy bars over the apples. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes!!! Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream. Yummm!
- Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza.
- Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal mash till they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients reseal keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly cut the tip. of the baggy squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw the bag away when done. Easy clean up!
- When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store= whip it with your mixer=20 for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar and calories per serving.
- Reheating refrigerated bread: To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.
- Measuring Cups: Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup fill with hot water. Dump out the hot water but don’t dry cup. Next, add your ingredient such as peanut butter and watch how easily it comes right out.