The ladies over at Happy to be at Home are doing an End 08 Challenge and this month's focus is "Fall into Cooking". Well their focus for this week is streamlining meal prep & kitchen work so it fits well with Tammy's Recipes Kitchen Tip Tuesdays that I thought I would "kill two birds with one stone" or in this instance do two posts in one!
I wanted to take the time to write a few ideas to add to Kate's excellent post!
So without further ado, more ways(in no particular order) to streamline work in the kitchen...
- For your meals, keep it simple! For instance, if you want to go from lots of store bought ready made items to making everything from scratch, start by doing one thing for a meal from scratch each week and work your way up to everything everyday. Don't be too hard on yourself though if you get to where you are giving your family only one or two "from scratch" meals each week for months because it takes time to get to a point of cooking everything from scratch.(I am still getting there myself!) Also, I don't think your family is looking for "restaurant style" meals every day!
- Put leftovers in single serving containers and date them. For me it makes it easier when I put hubby's lunch together in the mornings because I can pull the oldest leftover to put in his lunch. Also if I end up with more than one single serving leftover of the meal I know that I can offer it for a "potluck lunch" with the kids during the week. Or that extra single serving gets put in the freezer for a later in the month lunch for hubby or for those weeks when there isn't any leftovers to be eaten.
- Plan ahead times to work in the kitchen. When I do my menu planning, I make notes to myself as to what needs to be done before the given day. This way, I make time/plan time to work in the kitchen sometime before I want something for a certain meal. This has helped a lot with efficiency in my kitchen...when the oven is on there is more than just that night's dinner cooking!
- Plan ahead with a purpose! From grocery shopping to meal planning to prepping food to preparing the food...planning ahead is important! I can not just aimlessly walk into the kitchen and expect to accomplish anything without having a plan and purpose. I have tried the aimless walk too many times to count and nothing gets done completely just alot of loose ends which means more time in the kitchen. I make sure that I do my grocery shopping on days where I have time to take care of the 20 lbs plus of meat that I am going to need to put it into meal size servings and into the freezer or it will go bad.
- Maximize the use of your "modern day servants". If you are going to be using the oven make sure that you have something other than just dinner cooking! Use your crockpot on those busy days where "take-out" would end up being an option.
- One final note...Start small because life happens! Whether it be cooking everything from scratch to trying to tackle freezer meals to even just menu planning, take baby steps and work up to what works best for your family!
For other kitchen tips, head over to Tammy's Recipes!