We as parents spend a great deal of time in the kitchen when there are a billion other things to do. My biggest problem that I have in the kitchen is getting off track from what I am supposed to be doing. I will be cooking dinner and I reach into the fridge to grab something and I realize that it needs to be cleaned out. Then after a quick once over I head to the trash to throw something away and the trash needs to be taken out... then the phone rings. Does this sound familiar? The next thing you know it's an hour later and dinner hasn't even been started. So I decided that I needed to have better time management in the kitchen!
Focusing on the task at hand is the first step in time management in the kitchen. Before you begin your meal preparation take the time to make sure your work area is clean and tidy and that you have all the items needed to make your meal out on the counter and ready to go. This would include any pans, mixing bowls knives and ingredients. Cutting down on walking back and forth across your kitchen while you are prepping will not only save you time but much needed energy.
Having an organized kitchen is a must when managing your time. It does you absolutely no good at all to search for twenty minutes trying to find a specific pan for a dish. Find a home for everything in the kitchen and make sure your family knows where each item is to be placed. That way when you are gathering your supplies to make dinner you know exactly where everything is located and can quickly grab it and begin your meal.
Having your most used items within arms reach of your prep area is another must. Keeping your pots, pans, cutting board and mixers easily accessible and within an arms reach will keep you from back tracking around the kitchen. Keep the things that you use less often in those high hard to reach places.
Do your most difficult tasks early when your mind and body are well rested. We all work better in the morning before our bodies have time to tire out. So schedule all your organizing and big cleaning jobs either early morning when everyone is off to work or school or if you have to work yourself try getting it done early on the weekend.
Clean spills as they happen. If you wait until food dries on the counter you will have to spend wasted time scrubbing it off instead of just quickly wiping it away. See: 10 Ways To Use Lemon Essential Oils for Cleaning
Meal planning can actually be a great time saver in the kitchen. It may take extra time initially to plan your meals and shopping trips but it will save you a great deal of time and money in the long run. Making a weekly list of what you are going to serve and a shopping list will save you extra trips to the store which helps greatly with time management in the kitchen.
Prepping your food immediately when returning from you shopping trip will greatly cut down on meal prep time. Brown any ground beef that you are going to need for the week and freeze it in a large plastic container. Chop any onions or peppers that you may need for the week and puree any tomatoes. It is much easier to do this all at once then chopping, dicing and slicing before every meal.
Take a few hours on the weekend and stock your freezer with meals to last throughout the week. This may take a little time but with some preparation you should be able to prepare the weeks dinners and have them ready to pop in the oven by blocking out a three or four hour chunk of time. Search the internet for freezer meals and plan your shopping trip accordingly.
Last but not least enlist a little help from your family. There are tons of ways the kids can help out in the kitchen no matter what age group they are in. Creating a chore list can help them no how to help out and can actually create a great bonding experience. If they are old enough they can even learn to chop and slice veggies and learn valuable skills that will help later on in life.
Do you have any time management in the kitchen tips that you can share with us today?