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Dinner. It’s ever present. Each new day leads to a new evening. A new time where hungry families converge to the kitchen in hopes of hot, heartwarming and (hopefully) healthy heaping of food.
For some this ever-imposing task can be daunting. A war waiting to happen, where the enemies range from missing ingredients, and hungry eaters to messes in the kitchen.
The best way to ease the pressure and arm yourself for combat is to prepare. Ward off the pressure of the dinnertime crunch with organization. By giving up-front attention to your kitchen and your pantries, you can get the expected hot, healthy homemade dinner to the table in minutes.
To get yourself and your kitchen in better fighting shape, run these drills to prepare:
Think about placement in your kitchen. You must first determine your “Zone”. This is the place you stand when you do most of your cooking and prep work. That area most central to compact fridge, sink, stove and cabinets. From here, you work outward. Your most-used cooking items must be stored in the cabinets and storage space closest to the zone. If you have the best bread maker, your cake decorating utensils, your fondue pot or other seldom used item in this zone, you are wasting valuable resources. Move them. To the outer areas of the kitchen. Or the garage, the basement, we don’t care. Just get it out of the zone. In the zone should be everything you use most nights for cooking. Your prep materials such as knives and cutting boards, your baking dishes and pots and pans, your oven mitts, your spatulas and your every day flatware.
Take a Prisoner
Your pantry that is. Take your pantry prisoner and don’t let it go until you have given it a complete overhaul. Just like with the cookware, the most important step is to move your most-used and most functional ingredients to the front and easiest-to-grab-from shelves.
Create a Plan of Attack
Also known as a shopping list. It’s important first of all to have a list when you go to the store. If you don’t it leads to aisle-wandering, filling up your cart with impulse buys, and arriving home with a plethora of ingredients that don’t mix and match to make a meal. Make sure each trip to the store results in the right ingredients to complete several meals for your family. And with an organized pantry that has designated areas for your most-used ingredients, you will always know when it’s time to stock up on your staples.
Ready, set, go. Since you’ve got all your cooking utensils at the ready, your most-used ingredients front and center in your cabinets, and in full supply…you’re off.
Grab your chicken, or your ground beef and get that started on the stove. While that’s cooking, work on the added ingredients. Once they’re in, start your side dish.
Here are some quick and easy recipes for almost any kitchen, that will help you win the dinner war with your new organized space:
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