5 ways to save time in the kitchen

We ran out of fruit. In summer, that’s a catastrophe! I stood at the breakfast door of ‘what do I eat’ like many of my nutrition clients. A plain bowl of cereal wasn’t amping up my taste buds.

Every time the crisper is veggie-void, the pantry bean-less, and the fruit stand on the counter yawning empty, I face that dilemma. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen often. Our meal plan is an anointed queen in the kitch. Right there on the refrigerator. Uh-huh, everyone knows what’s for supper, no questions needed.

Once we know our menu, we write a grocery list. One of us does the shopping (heh-heh, often not me) and together we get every item prepared before storing it away. Oh, and my mother-in-law taught me a great trick, too – see below.

Know what you like yet be willing to experiment in the kitchen. Moody Street’s Saturday farmer’s market after our yoga class ‘date’ offered most of our meals this week for under $30. Fresh veggies means cooking at home – last night’s veg meal of potatoes, green beans, cabbage, mushrooms, and tomatoes bursting with sunny goodness took me instantly into the farmer’s field. I remembered the tomato farmer proudly exclaiming how she’d planted all 400 tomato plants and packaged all the quarts for that day’s sale. What a Nature connection moment. And the bountiful buffet at lunch yesterday of fresh-from-the-farm scrambled eggs with spinach, freshly diced and glistening red tomatoes, and an ear of corn set me to dancing.

You, too, can dance with delight of never being surprised when there are no eggs and the sugar canister’s empty. Here’re my top 5 ways to save time in the kitchen so healthy meals are always on hand.

  1.  Jot down items that are low or completely out on a magnetic pad on the fridge .
  2. Use the FIFO pantry and cool storage method of keeping inventory – First In, First Out. This way, you use up old inventory before the expiration date and nary a carrot shrivels. (Mother-in-law tip: Keep a re-printable inventory sheet inside the pantry door. When items are used, mark them off. This makes grocery listing easy.)
  3. First stop when home from the grocer – wash, spin dry, and package all veggies and fruit in ways that you need them that week. Purchase breathable mesh storage bags to keep produce crisp and bright.
  4. Store all pantry items in an easy-to-find way. All canned beans together, rice/pasta on one shelf, bakery items in one spot, jam, jellies and honey roost together. (Take the mother-in-law trick one step further like she does – use a label-maker and label your shelves and containers. Never wonder again if this is quinoa or barley!)
  5. Use clear sealed containers for dry goods, like beans, peas, flours, sugar, and rice. What you see in clear glass jars or BPA-free plastic containers is what you get.

Now, send me a picture of your pantry when it’s all organized and call me when supper’s ready!


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