Are you in a rush more often than not? If you like to cook quickly so you can eat well when you’re on the run, listen to Benjamin Franklin who famously said, “A place for everything, everything in its place.” And then do two things: organize your kitchen for easy access to tools, and employ the practice of “mis en place” while you cook. Investing time upfront in these two simple actions will wring precious minutes out of your kitchen schedule every week.
Organize (or Reorganize) Your Kitchen Before You Use It
The most important thing you can do to speed your meal preparation is to organize your cooking tools so they are where you need them, when you need them. Paring down your kitchen belongings will make them easier to find, and make room for more desirable ones.
· Comb through drawers and cabinets to find duplicates, things you never use, or broken items. Move them along to the local charity drop box, garage sale table, or dumpster.
· Sort contents into categories, putting all cutting devices together, all measuring devices together, etc.
· Put things near to where you use them: cookware in the cabinets nearest the stove; glasses, colanders, salad spinners, and storage containers near the sink; plastic bags and plastic wrap near the refrigerator.
· Put stovetop tools such as whisks, pasta rakes, and flipping spatulas in a counter-top utensil holder or the drawer nearest to the stove.
· Use organizing products to create shelves, steps, baskets, and slots in open cabinets; and cutlery trays for silverware. Affordable items are available at the Container Store, Target, and home goods stores.
· Store tools and cookware you use on an occasional or rare basis in higher or out-of-the-way cabinets, or pantries. I keep my holiday serving pieces in a large pantry and food processor attachments and baking tools in high cabinets so I only have to pull out the step stool once in awhile.
Organize Your Ingredients Before You Cook a Meal
Professional chefs use a system called “mis en place” which translates colloquially to mean “everything in its place.” In other words, good cooks do all of the food prep before beginning to cook so ingredients are ready for use when a recipe calls for them.
· Set out all of the cookware, utensils, tools, and bowls you will need to prepare the meal.
· Peel, core, chop, mince, and shred before beginning to cook.
· Pre-measure all dry and liquid ingredients.
· Place prepared and measured ingredients into small prep bowls or mixing bowls. Use one bowl for ingredients that are used together.
· Put the bowls where you will use them: if adding to a skillet or pan, place them on the counter nearest to the stove.
Keep organized and save time the Easy way.
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