On Her Flying Trapeze

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Tip Tuesday – Kitchen Effitchency

We are not necessarily talking about organization today, although a good organizational strategy will definitely help with this. Today we’re talking about the little things that make working in your kitchen easier, things like sending your kids over to the neighbors’ or buying that new disposable kitchen wrap that comes in the exact shape of your kitchen, throwing it over every surface, cooking to your heart’s content with the disposable dishes and utensils it puts out in place of your real utensils, and then balling the whole thing up and throwing it out when you’re done.

Seriously, are we not going a little crazy with the disposable cleaning products, disposable liners for EVERYTHING, disposable finger-cover tooth brushes? Pretty soon your whole house will be disposable. So your kid runs into the wall with her skateboard? Crumple the whole place up and head to Costco for more disposable house in a box covers.

Okay. Wooh! Now for some tips.

1. Fill the sink with warm soapy water before you cook and throw the dirty utensils in as you go.

2. Put ALL ingredients into containers with large enough openings for the largest measuring implement you will be using to fit in. Example – What’s the deal with salt? Everyone should have a small canister of salt, with an opening big enough to fit a tablespoon.

3. Get everything out before you start to cook. This way, you’ll know if you’re out of eggs before the recipe says, “add 2 eggs immediately and begin stirring constantly.”

Those seem really obvious when written down.

Obvious or not, I want to hear your tips. I’m sure you have great skeelz I’ve never thought of.

34 Comments:

Blogger Kim C. said...

no tips yet. i'm not awake yet. i just wanted to be the first to say something on your tuesday tip day post.
i'll think of something wise and helpful after I have a shower.
~yawn~

3/14/2006 4:26 AM

 
Blogger grace said...

I've got the BEST idea for something disposable...SOCKS! As the mother of 4 boys (and a husband, not the mother of a husband but..you get it) SOCKS are the absolute BAIN of my existence.
I wouldn't even mind picking them up from the floor, under couch cusions, in the refrigerator (i loathe socks) half as much if I could then TOSS them in the trash.
Socks are evil.

Sorry for commenting about something so un-kitcheny...but the disposable part of your post stirred something lurking deep within me. :)
grace

3/14/2006 6:31 AM

 
Blogger Carrie said...

hmm... well, other than having the right tool for the job, i think prepping things before you start cooking is a good idea. i've just recently decided this, though... i had a hard time admitting that if it took ten minutes to chop and melt everything before i started cooking, it would help time the completion of dinner and make it a whole lot less stressful.

sometimes i also prep during the day whenever i have time, and chop onions or peppers or whatever we need and then starting supper isn't such a daunting task.

i totally agree with the ridiculousness of the disposable thing. i don't know who has money to buy disposable dishrags or disposable mops, but evidently someone does. oops, hope no one here buys disposable mops. ;)

3/14/2006 6:58 AM

 
Blogger moe said...

If you are filling the sink with warm soapy water before you start cooking, here's my tip:

Add extra dish soap so you make lots of bubbles. Scoop all the bubbles off the top and put them in a big plastic bowl. Give your small kids spoons, plastic cups and the big bowl of bubbles.

This should give you a few minutes to start making dinner before you have to let them empty the tupperware cupboard or resort to the pots and wooden spoons (ack the noise)

3/14/2006 7:04 AM

 
Blogger noelle said...

the Rachel Ray garbage bowl thing is really cool. or you can just put your trash can, opened, near where you are working. just dump it all in there as you work. it saves steps. truly it does...

3/14/2006 7:11 AM

 
Blogger Chilihead2 said...

My personal chef has done wonders for my kitchen efficiency. What? You don't have one? Why, my dear, you simply MUST get one. ;)

3/14/2006 7:42 AM

 
Blogger jessica said...

If you're making a timing-is-everything meal (more than one dish), take some time before you start cooking to look over the recipes.

Having everything ready to go on the table at the same time is great, but if you're white sause has to be contantly stirred at the same time that you can't be anywhere near the oven or your quiche will fall, there's going to be problems. Not that I cook those types of things, but for the sake of example...

3/14/2006 7:42 AM

 
Blogger GiBee said...

Well, I usually go a step further than a sink ful of warm soapy water. I WASH as I go. That way, I don't have a pile of things to wash before I get to the dirty dishes we just ate on. And, it saves the total time I spend in the kitchen cleaning up, because I have to be there while I'm cooking... might as well wash things, too!

3/14/2006 7:53 AM

 
Blogger Rachelle said...

I put things in the dishwasher as I use them. Drives my husband crazy! He thinks he may need them again and I put them away before he is finished. Um, tips, do any prep work before you start. Like get out all bowls, measuring cups, pans, etc. Grease pans if they need it. Having everything ready to go makes it easier.

3/14/2006 8:14 AM

 
Blogger Goslyn said...

Yep, wash as you go, pre-prep whatever you can, and try like the dickens to come up with menus that only take about 30 minutes to put together.

Other kitchen tips - if you need to measure shortening, crack an egg into the cup first and dump it out. The eggwhite will coat the measuring cup and make getting the shortening OUT ever so much easier.

Always get all your ingredients out before cooking. That way you know what you're missing before the critical stage.

Alos, I like to splurge on a few "pre-prepped" items, like pre-minced, jarred garlic. Keeps forever and it's SO easy.

At the risk of taking over the comments ... you can also pre-chop things like onions and green peppers in bulk and freeze the extra. That makes things super easy.

3/14/2006 8:14 AM

 
Anonymous Lou said...

I've always fancied the clean the kitchen, then eat out so it stays clean method. . . lol!

I think having quality tools really helps. For example, I have wonderful non stick cookware, and when I go to clean up- all the food gunk just wipes right out - saving me scrabbing time.

3/14/2006 8:39 AM

 
Blogger Karen said...

I always dream of doing Rachel Ray's other big tip- wash all produce after you bring it home from the store. Then it's ready to use. I don't do this, but wish that I did every time I go to dig lettuce or whatever out of the fridge.

I keep very few appliances on the counter top. It makes me feel less boxed in and cramped when I try to cook (try is the keyword there) and it gives me tons more space for clutter.

3/14/2006 8:54 AM

 
Anonymous shannon from rocks in my dryer said...

Three words: Glad Press'n Seal.

3/14/2006 8:55 AM

 
Anonymous Heidi said...

I buy chicken bosoms and chicken broth in large quantities (what else!) at Costco. I cook the bosoms all at once, then freeze them; I can pull them out of the freezer as needed. The leftover broth gets used for a pot of tortilla soup. Heaven!

3/14/2006 10:10 AM

 
Anonymous shannon from rocks in my dryer said...

Chicken "bosoms"? That's funny.

3/14/2006 10:35 AM

 
Anonymous Dene said...

From personal experience: Don't store the fire extinguisher above the stove! That is, unless you planned on remodeling.

Hints for Children:
An old fashioned hand mixer added to the bowl of bubbles mentioned above will give you at least 5 more minutes.

A squirt bottle with a dash of soap and a dishcloth to "clean" the floor will buy you another 10 minutes. This will also help you slide and scoot around the kitchen faster (saving time) or cause amnesia.

DYM, I'm gonna try your salt container idea. After years of serving salty cookies, I learned to pour the salt into my measuring spoon over the sink. A salt container! Eureka! BTW, I'm a new reader. Loooovvve your blog.

3/14/2006 10:48 AM

 
Blogger Emily said...

this has somewhat been said; (or maybe it's so obvious that it hasn't been explicitly mentioned) but i put ingredients away as i go.

that way, when you're done cooking, you only have the MESS to clean up, not also the ingredients to all put away. helps me.

love this tip tuesday, DYM. :)

3/14/2006 11:13 AM

 
Blogger beckylou said...

My kitchen tip is when your husband decides to make something, never ask him if he needs help. He will say yes and you will end up doing the majority of it. Or you will spend your time looking for items that he apparently can't find after years of them being put away in the same spot... :)

3/14/2006 11:24 AM

 
Blogger Lei said...

With 3 kids I am consnatly chopping something for them to snack on. My tip is instead of using all your cutlery in one day (because each knife gets buried under dishes which you don't want to dig through), keep one clean all day long. Okay, that's lame but it's all I got! Lol!

3/14/2006 12:42 PM

 
Blogger smartmama said...

there are real tips but i am into cheater tips-- like avoid all steps that say "in a seperate bowl" when you see that step- someones trying to pull an extra kitchen work fast one on you!

3/14/2006 1:09 PM

 
Blogger Sugarmama said...

Yep, wash as you go. And wipe down as you go. Have many dishrags so that you always have clean ones available and don't risk using a nasty, germy one because you're in a hurry. Ditto kitchen towels. I have about a dozen different sized stainless steel bowls which are invaluable in prepping ingredients. And half of them I got at the thrift store, for some reason! Why anyone would ever give these away, I don't know. Not only excellent for prepping, but also for letting babies bang with wooden spoons and whisks while you try desperately to keep her from underfoot. Anyways, that's my list.

3/14/2006 2:10 PM

 
Blogger Gabriela said...

I make a copy of my favorite recipes from cookbooks and and put them into those plastic page protector things and put them all into one binder. That way I am not going, "Now which cookbook was that from?" or "What page was that on?" When I am going to make the dish, I just take out the one page protector with the recipe, and put it on the counter or hang it on the fridge so I don't have a book on the counter that I am constantly dumping ingredients on.

3/14/2006 2:13 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you have bananas that are going brown but you're nowhere ready to bake banana bread, you can save them for later by peeling them and mashing them, then freeze those babies for a rainy day. Thaw out overnight and you're ready to go.

Also, I buy chicken bosoms in those big bags from Sam's Club and pull them out as needed. Same with tilapia filets.

3/14/2006 4:05 PM

 
Blogger Liz said...

chicken bosoms - that is my new term and I will use it as often as possible.

My tip is to use as much pre-packaged stuff as possible. Tonight I made bean soup w/ 3 kinds of canned beans and used onion soup mix as the broth base. Oh.my.goodness. it was soooo good. Right along with the jiffy mix cornbread. Tasted like I spent hours instead of minutes in the kitchen.

chicken bosoms *snort*

3/14/2006 8:13 PM

 
Anonymous Alissa said...

i keep two lists magneted to my fridge (i'm making up all kinds of words today)...

1. list of leftovers in the fridge which need to be eaten

and

2. list of food in freezer... for example:
ground beef -- 3 (pounds)
Chicken breasts -- 3 (pounds)
pork chops
tater tots
chicken nuggets
pizza
corn

when something gets used up or eaten it gets crossed off. then i don't have to wonder what's rotting in our fridge... cuz then i know.

3/14/2006 8:30 PM

 
Blogger Crazy and lovin' it said...

oh good tips Love this TUESday thing. Dish washer tips. Unload the dish washer by cupboard/drawer. I was shocked how fast my unloading went when I didn't return to the silverware drawer 5 times after putting the spoons and knives away.

Also really good knives-it is really worth it.Sharp is wonderful.

3/14/2006 9:34 PM

 
Blogger Keltybug said...

I have a few to add. Always wash as you go. I never buy all AP flour I use self rising so I do not need to add the extra items. I also know my menu for the month so I brown haburger meat ahead off time or roast the chicken. But the best tip in the world is to have two preteens or teenagers do the dishes. I do that daily, I love it.....though they do not.

3/14/2006 9:47 PM

 
Blogger The Daring One said...

Today I really sucked you guys dry. These were awesome ideas!

Grace - I stamp you as cool and I agree with you on the socks.

Moe - the bubbles - excellent. I will be trying that.

Dene - welcome.

Heidi - I think the chicken bosoms comment was the group favorite of the day.

3/14/2006 11:19 PM

 
Blogger Grammy said...

OK, I'm late getting in on this one; but here goes:

I started to prewash all fruits & veggies when we lived in S America and the periodic flu symptoms we had had for years went away - so I've kept it up. It really doesn't take that much time and the colorful produce drying on my drainboard looks really pretty. (1/4 C vinegar per sinkful of water) never let them sit too long or they go bad more quickly.

Did you know you can now buy fresh basil & cilantro in a tube? My neighbor claims it stays fresh for a really long time and you just squeeze it out like toothpaste.

Hey, did you remember that I have a salt jar with my canisters on the work island, or did you think of that on your own?

I love that I have all of my favorite recipes on the computer. When I want one, I print it up, use it, get it totally trashed with spattering ingredients and then toss it. (It also makes it really easy to share recipes with people who ask for a copy.)

I cover my cupboard tops with waxed paper and just throw away the dusty grease every 6 months or so.

"Chicken bosoms" was really funny. I had a college roommate who was offended by all terms relating to breasts, so would only refer to them as "white meat". She gave it up, however, when we began to refer to our own bosoms as "white meat"...as in, "Hey, look out. You bumped me in my white meat." I'm pretty sure it irritated her, but the rest of us thought it was funny.

3/15/2006 6:12 AM

 
Anonymous Heidi said...

White meat? HAHAHAHAHA!

This does remind me of an ancient episode of "All in the Family" where Archie forbids Edith to say the B word in his house. Here's an approximation of the conversation:

"But Aaarrrchie, when I go to the store I buy chicken breasts."

"Oh geez, Edith, I don't wanna hear that word!"

[Looking to ceiling, thinking hard.] "And when we go to Coney Island, I do the breast stroke."

"EDITH!"

3/15/2006 7:54 AM

 
Anonymous Heidi said...

To avoid confusion by saying "white meat" for both chickens' and ladies' breasts, perhaps the term "the other white meat" might be helpful.

That's it, I'm stepping away from the computer...

3/15/2006 8:30 AM

 
Blogger Chris said...

white meat....bwahahaha. That made my day.

My kitchen tip, just avoid that room altogether. Seriously I spend forever preparing fabulous meals that my children refuse to eat. Much more efficient if I gave up all pretense of being a good mom and threw the food directly into the trash and let them eat pop tarts for every meal. They are vitamin fortified, right?

3/15/2006 10:37 AM

 
Blogger Bright One said...

Okay here I am late AGAIN but I had to take a stab at this too. First of all chicken bosoms and white meat step aside and welcome chicken chests....only a self-conscious 12 year old could come up with that one. ANYWAY back to topic I really think this tip is great. I discovered that my cookie dough scoop (you know like a small ice cream scoop?) measures out exactly 2 tablespoons and a regular ice cream scoop measures out 1/3 cup .... this is GREAT for measuring shortening (so you know what I mean, these are the ones with the little lever on the side that flip back and forth...you know the kind that grabs your tongue if you try to lick out the cookie dough!) LOVED all your ideas!

3/15/2006 2:19 PM

 
Blogger Thoroughly Mormon Millie said...

OK, I know this post is over a week old but I just found it. Being quite chesty, I, too, am now a fan of "chicken bosoms." It's highly, terribly tempting to go and change my blogger name... hmmmm...

3/25/2006 1:51 PM

 

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