Saturday, August 11, 2007

Organize the Kitchen

LifeHacker has a nice post referring to a LifeOrganizers post on 5 Steps to Running an Efficient Kitchen, including
  • Start a Grocery List. We have a dry-erase board on the wall where we write everything that's needed as we run out. The kids have even started using it (although their priorities are not always the same as ours...). We also try to buy stuff when we use the second-to last item (i.e. buy a new box of coffee filters when you open the last one). Then you're pretty sure not to run out.
  • Do a Weekly Menu Plan. Kim does an awesome job planning our meals every week. She uses a notebook with the menu for a week on one side and the grocery list on the other side. She shops every Friday after work while I cook pizza. As someone commented on Lifehacker, shopping once a week does have drawbacks in terms of freshness on some items. For us, though, our shopping options for real fresh items like seafood are limited anyway - not a lot of fish here that's caught even this week! And let's not even get started on the quality of the baked goods! (maybe fodder for a new post). But it sure cts down on time to shop once a week. And tracking expenses is easier too.
  • Cook Ahead and Freeze. We do this all the time. Sometimes by accident when the kids won't touch a recipe, we'll freeze enough for the two of us to eat a second meal. We also will bring leftovers to work - much cheaper than buying lunch.
  • Do Advanced Prepwork. Not sure I see the point here, unless it's just working smart on making the meal you're working on. No doubt you have to take chopping time into consideration with some meals.
  • Clean As You Go. Keeping the sink filled and wash everything as you go, so there isn't a big load of dishes to do afterwards... I dunno. Seems like it would use much more hot water than doing them all in one batch. And I'm typically too busy making the meal to worry about washing as I go. I do try to put stuff away as I'm doe with it to avoid having a lot of cleanup at the end.
Another thing we do is work on several things at the same time. For instance I will bake bread and make dinner in the same batch. Breadbaking has lots of downtime where dinner can be prepared, and letting something rise an extra 10 minutes is usually not a big deal.

Organizing the kitchen with the things you need in easy reach is important as well.

How about you? What do you do to work efficiently?

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