A Plan and a Clean Kitchen...

by Maria on September 11, 2014


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A plan and a clean kitchen...this is what you need to make cooking at home simple and enjoyable.

So often we complain that “we don’t have time to cook” when often it’s really the other “stuff” that takes time: the planning, the shopping, and the cleaning.

I can’t tell you how many times I have come home around dinnertime with hungry kids only to realize that my kitchen is cluttered or that I don’t yet know what I’m making for dinner. This is not a fun scenario.

Now if it’s 6 pm and I have a plan in place and my kitchen is clean and organized there is no problem. I simply start cooking. I may also put out some veggies for my kids to snack on and let them have some screen time to distract them from opening the snack cabinet. Ideally, I ask them to help set the table too. And before you know it….dinner is on the table. Easy peasy. (Ok, at least usually it works well.)

But if I come home to dishes in the sink and a cluttered counter, how am I going to start cooking dinner right away? Likewise, if I don’t have a plan for what I am going to cook, I end up opening the refrigerator and pantry doors 5 times each before deciding on pasta and veggies!

I just can’t emphasize enough the many benefits of planning your dinners and keeping your kitchen clean and clutter free. It will make you feel much more on top of things and you will probably eat a healthier, more varied diet. One day of a messy kitchen here and there is fine and to be expected, but on most days, keep that kitchen “cooking ready.”

If you find that your counters are always cluttered, try finding new homes for some of your items. Only leave out what you use on a regular basis each week. I like to leave my blender out because I use it several times each week. The same goes for my toaster and coffee maker. But less used appliances get stowed away. Aside from fresh fruit and certain veggies, I also like to make sure all food has a home in a pantry or elsewhere. 

As for meal planning, if I am in a hurry I use the CooksAid weekly menus since they easily save me 45 minutes of planning each week. But since I love to try new recipes, I am usually coming up with a new plan for each week. I recently started planning out a month's worth of dinners at a time and then fine tuning each week on Sundays. That is when I look to see what we have going on that week and also when I plan lunches and breakfasts. I don’t usually plan lunches and breakfasts in the summer, but during the school year I find that it helps tremendously. Even if I don't end up making these meals in the order that I planned, at least I am not serving the same breakfast or lunch every day. 



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