Are you looking for ways to simplify your life? The kitchen is a good place to start. The Family Dinner Project tells us, “When mealtimes are enjoyable and relaxing for the whole family, it’s easier to connect in a meaningful way and to help family members build healthy lifelong habits.” A little organization in the kitchen will help make dinnertime a breeze!
Brittany Bingeman, an Extension Assistant Professor in Washington County, shares the following strategies for simplifying your life in the kitchen:
- Organize. Keep items that you frequently use visible. Move spices to the front of the cabinet or invest in a spice rack. Store dry goods such as flour, sugar, grains, and beans in airtight glass or plastic containers neatly on the counter top or pantry shelf. Use a utensil holder on the counter or in a draw for the utensils you use most often while cooking.
- Stock Up. Having basic kitchen staples on hand can make it easier to prepare a quick dinner. It’s a good idea to add these items to your kitchen a few at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed and to fit your budget. Check below for a list of good things to have on hand, plus recipes using the items.
- Plan Ahead. Planning meals is one of the best ways to stay organized in the kitchen and save yourself time. If you know what you will be making you’ll spend less time thinking about what’s for dinner. If you shop with a grocery list, you’ll spend less time making extra trips to the store. Click here for help getting started with menu planning and here for tips on smart shopping.
- Cook Once, Eat Twice. Make a large batch of a favorite food and serve it different ways throughout the week or freeze it to use later. Many soups, stew, and casseroles freeze well. You’ll find yourself spending less time in the kitchen preparing meals and more time enjoying your family.
Another great way to simplify the kitchen is to organize and declutter. Start with your counter tops. Are they filled with household items, homework and art projects, or things that need to be put away? If so, take some time to remove these items and find a new home for them. A clean kitchen counter top is like a blank canvas ready for a masterpiece! You’ll find it much easy to create a meal without all the clutter. Next, evaluate your kitchen tools and utensils. If you have duplicate items, donate them or pack them up for later use. A clean utensil drawer and organized cupboards will help you find what you need more quickly.
Once you have your kitchen organized, try making Spinach and White Bean Soup.
As much as I’m ready for spring to come, I do get a little sad when soup season is over. This recipe is quick and easy to make, and tasty! The recipe tells you to peel the potatoes, but I left the skin on for a little extra fiber. I also used baby spinach instead of a regular spinach bunch. I didn’t even have to chop it! I might add some Italian sausage to “beef” it up a little. Enjoy!