Kitchen Organization for Healthy Eating

I’m so excited about Guest Post Thursday going on here this summer. Today I am thrilled to have Laura from Heavenly Homemakers visiting. I love Laura’s blog because when I’m reading her posts it always feels like I’m sitting right there in her kitchen with her chatting away with a cup of tea. Her post here today is no exception.  I’ve learned so much about homemaking from reading Laura’s blog and her inspiration is a huge factor in why I’ve been able to step out of my fearful box and try some new things in the kitchen lately, like pie crust from scratch and canning.   Thanks Laura!

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I LOVE cooking.  Love it.  If you’ve ever spent much time at my place, you know that I’m one of those gals who makes almost everything from scratch.  It helps us to eat healthier…it saves money…I know exactly what is in our food…

Oh, and if I do say so myself…our homemade-from-scratch food tastes really, really delicious.  (Judging by the incredible amount my husband and four boys can put away…I think they like my cooking.)

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Here are some questions I often get from my blog readers:

Are you in the kitchen ALL the time?  How do you get all of this done?  How do you keep up with all the dishes?

I am in the kitchen a lot…but I don’t live in there.  (See, like right now I’m on the computer in the living room instead.  :) )  Cooking from scratch does take time…but here are some things I do to make my work simpler:

I plan our menus!!! I can not be efficient in the kitchen without a plan for the week.   Menu plans are a must for me.  Yay for Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday!

I cook simple meals…simple foods. I rarely cook anything that requires complicated steps or hard-to-work-with ingredients.  Meat, potatoes, rice, beans, veggies, fruits, grains, eggs, milk…it’s all just basic food put together into different yummy meals.

I wash dishes as I go. I really do dirty up a lot of dishes in a day…but I try (try) to keep up with them by washing them as I cook.  I have a dishwasher.  I have boys old enough to help.  I have ten minutes here and there to knock more out of the pile.  I love having clean countertops.

I think ahead, plan ahead, cook ahead. This is one of my biggest cooking helps.   I look at my menu plan and know what I’ll need for the upcoming week.  If I can, I spend time on Friday night and Saturday cooking and baking for the week ahead.  I’ll make up a double batch of tortillas, cook chicken for broth, bake four loaves of bread, brown several pounds of hamburger meat, cook rice, put together burritoes for the freezer, or any other foods that will make the week ahead run more smoothly.  THEN, during the week…it’s like having convenience foods in the fridge or freezer!

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and here’s one of my favorite ways to stay organized and ahead in the kitchen:

I make tomorrow’s breakfast while I’m cooking tonight’s dinner. This doesn’t always work (like, I’m not going to scramble tomorrow’s eggs at 6:00 tonight…yuck), but if we’re having muffins for breakfast, I’ll mix them up and bake them while I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner.  In the morning, I’ll re-warm them in the oven for a few minutes, or just serve them as is.  Or, if I’m making biscuits tomorrow morning, I’ll mix the flour and buttermilk so they can soak overnight…and then just finish them up the next morning.  I often make a double batch of waffles, let them cool, then freeze them.  Then we have convenient, toaster waffles whenever we need them.  LOVE it.

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Those are some of the things I do to keep myself organized and sane during the busy weeks of school work, computer work, laundry, and you know…Chutes and Ladders.

What are some of your best ways of staying organized while you’re cooking?  Do you feel like you spend hours in your kitchen?

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Comments

18 Responses to Kitchen Organization for Healthy Eating

  1. 1
    Kristin @ klingtocash says

    I make my meal plan in advance so I have everything I need on hand. I always have pre-cooked ground beef in the freezer. I just defrost in the microwave and I’m ready to go. I pick meals during the week that don’t use a lot of pans (like casseroles or grilled meat). The more complicated stuff (meatloaf and mashed potatoes with gravy) is weekend food. I always plan my meals so my husband has enough leftovers for the week to take to work for lunch. I also try to empty the dishwasher first thing in the morning so I can fill it as I go through my day.

  2. 2
    Kristin @ klingtocash says

    By the way, is there a recipe for the cinnamon swirl bread that’s pictured in the post? I searched the site and couldn’t find one and the picture is not linked to a recipe. It looks wicked good and I’d love to make it.

  3. 3
    Snow White says

    Thanks for sharing your tips! I’m learning to make just about everything from scratch too — and I find it’s fine for just me and the hubby…. but, how did you manage when your boys were little ones?!?!

  4. 4
    Heather says

    I learned to group things together instead of just shoving stuff in the cupboards. All the baking stuff, all the vegetables, all the boxed rice mixes are all together, etc. Simple but it works. For years I wasted time looking for ingredients and buying stuff I already had. Another thing I learned to do is get everything out and measured before I start cooking. Again another basic simple thing that helps so much. After I started doing all this I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it and done it before.

    This looks like it’s going to be the first week I have followed my entire menu plan…EVER. Thanks Org Junkie for getting me started menu planning. That helps so much. I cook 3 meals a day and it gets to be a lot for me and so much easier to eat out. With planning it’s actually been easier to eat at home this week I don’t have the added what are we going to eat thing going on on top of everything else.

  5. 5
    Kenna says

    I too would like to see the recipe for the swirled bread above.
    Since following this blog, I have been menu planning for about 6 months as well as couponing. It has significantly cut down on our grocery bill. We do one grocery trip every other week and rarely have to go inbetween other than for milk for the kids.

  6. 6
    HeavenlyHomemaker says

    For the cinnamon swirl bread…I use this whole wheat bread recipe: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/blog/honey-whole-wheat-bread

    When I’m forming the loaves, I roll the dough out, spread on a little butter, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar (I actually use Sucanat, which is dehydrated cane sugar juice), then roll it up and put it into my baking pan. Maybe I’ll do a tutorial on my blog soon?! :)

    Regarding Snow White’s question: I remember baking and cooking a lot during nap times. Also, the kids spent a lot of time in the kitchen with me, helping me stir or just playing on the floor nearby. When they were babies, thier bouncy chairs and exersaucers were in the kitchen a lot (for me to trip over)!

  7. 7
    Rochelle says

    Love it! Thanks so much for the great tips!!!!

  8. 8
    Penelope says

    I, too, am fanatical about a clean countertop. I always wash dishes as I go, so its not so overwhelming when the meal is over…and it keeps my cooking space tidy!

  9. 9
    Kelly says

    I use the Tupperware Modular Mates system to keep all the “liked” cooking things together. I am able to find things quickly because of the design of the system being clear and my cabinets are organized because of the way they stack.
    I am able to cook quickly and neatly! LOVE IT!

  10. 10
    Hope Cantrall says

    I too love clean countertops…I can’t stand to have stuff on them. I wash dishes as I make dinner & will do things for the next day while cooking dinner also. Often I am making lunches for the next day & marinating meat for the next night’s meal or browning ground turkey to freeze for meals in the future or for the next night. Like you I figure if I am going to be in the kitchen, I make the best use of my time in there. I don’t feel like I am in the kitchen forever at all.

  11. 11
    meme says

    I do the cinnamon swirl bread with any bread recipe similar as mentioned above-
    you can toast it in toaster oven – I use brown sugar rather than – do not over do with the spread- to avoid leakage which may burn before your bread is baked-

    re kids- if they are older past the age of perhaps eating the dough- I let them make buns even though the shapes may not be quite perfected- and sometimes allow them a small bun size of dough to play with for a while- a small waste but can be fun for them on wax paper- Meme is past making play dough–

  12. 12
    Judith says

    Oh, the organizing does help. Baking pans together. Baking ingredients together. Washing up as you go to keep the counters clean and the overwhelming mess under control. Menus. Cooking batches and cooking some things ahead.
    In my good weeks, of course. LOL

  13. 13
    Margery says

    Among the other things you mentioned, I absolutely cannot cook dinner if the dishwasher is not unloaded! (We usually run it after the b’fast and lunch dishes are in.) My husband thinks I’m funny about that. When it is unloaded and the clean things put away, I can load in the dirty pans, cooking utensils, etc. as I am preparing the evening meal.

  14. 14
    Susan Coates says

    This is a great post and some really great ideas. I am going to go clear off my counter top right now. :)

  15. 15
    Sarah says

    Feeding our crew is the bane of my existence. I don’t know what the answer is. I wasn’t taught how to cook & struggled my way through things until I discovered a menu-planning e-mail service (savingdinner.com), which worked great for me for about 2 years, until I had my 3rd child (when my oldest was 3 1/2). I never quite recovered. By the time he was old enough not to be quite so needy, he was into stuff & it was hard to make dinner uninterrupted. Still is.

    Since then, I’ve had 2 MORE pregnancies (a loss and a live birth), and my oldest turned 6 one month before the birth of my 4th. I’m not sure how we’re eating every day. It’s a constant struggle. Part of my resistance to going back to menu planning is that I don’t know how to get to the store once weekly. Right now, I’m going for the out-of-everything run once every 3 wks or so. Other than that, hubby’s 2 gal of milk & 2 loaves of bread & we’re scavenging. I CANNOT go to the store w/ all 4 kids & have no babysitting. I’m too tired to go shopping after hubby gets home 7 p.m. or so. I hate to ruin the precious few weekend hours with a shopping trip. I don’t know what to do!

    Has anyone here survived the years of many needy little ones?

  16. 16
    Lisa says

    I frequently give myself a break by cooking two dinners at once. We have one that night, one the next night. I also use my freezer by freezing chicken and meats in marinade or cut up for quick stir-fries or pasta dishes.

  17. 17
    Kitchen Replacement Doors says

    Simple and nicely tips but its work. Again another basic simple thing that helps so much. I am learning from this so much . Great tips really u give .
    Excellent ……

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