Set yourself up for success by having your kitchen prepared when it comes to mealtime. We have put together helpful tips and videos on how to get your kitchen organized, from sharpening knives and organizing your ingredients to freezing and labelling dishes so that meal preparation is a breeze.
- Sharp knives save time: Dull knives make kitchen prep difficult, and you are more likely to hurt yourself with a dull knife. Either learn how to sharpen or hone your knives yourself or take them to a professional. You’ll be amazed at the difference a sharp knife makes.
- “Bigger is Better”: Unless given in the recipe, choose a pan, pot, container or cutting board the next size up from what you think you need. A larger cutting board gives you enough room to fully chop an ingredient without needing to stop to make more space. Using larger pots and pans helps prevent crowding and can help your food cook faster and more evenly as well as prevent food from boiling over.
- Secure your cutting board: A cutting board that moves around is both annoying and dangerous. Instead of buying new cutting boards with grips on the bottom, use an anti-slip drawer liner that you can cut to size or a damp dish cloth underneath to keep your cutting board from slipping.
- Keep your work area clean: Although this does include putting ingredients and tools away as you are done with them, it can also include what order you prep your ingredients in. Start by prepping the cleanest ingredients first, such as carrots and mushrooms, and move onto messier foods and then finish with meats. This helps to limit how many times you change cutting boards and wash dishes as well as helps keep your family safe.
- Prep things in advance: If you’re going to need 2 cups of diced carrots today, another cup of diced carrots tomorrow evening and some carrot sticks for lunches, combine all those tasks into one prep session. Do the same with other veggie and meat work. You don’t have to do all the prep for the week at once but take advantage of extra minutes of free time later in the week.
- Freeze what you can: Parts of meals may be made in advance – especially sauces and soups – and then refrigerated or frozen for later finishing. For example, if you’re making spaghetti sauce, make three times as much, use a third for your meal, then freeze the rest in amounts that you would use at a time for reheating later in the week or month.
- Label everything: Labelling your frozen and refrigerated foods is a great way to save on time and reduce food waste. We recommend writing what the dish is and the date made on the container. If you don’t want to write on the container directly, keep a roll of masking tape on hand that you can write on instead.
- Set up a system: Having a system set up in your kitchen can help you find things faster. This can be as simple as keeping all your baking ingredients in one cupboard or arranging all your spices alphabetically and by best-before dates. Regardless of what your system is, be consistent.