Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Clean As You Go

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I used to make a colossal mess when I cooked. The kitchen would be covered with food, dishes and who knows what, every time I made a significant meal. As I have honed my skills over the years, that has changed. While I won’t say I don’t make a mess, I will say that it is more contained. They say that the best cooks are neat cooks, and I am starting to agree with that. S can use the entire kitchen, just making a smoothie, and I end up chiseling the remains of it off the counters for the rest of the day.
Here are a few tips to keep the kitchen clutter at bay while whipping up meals:

Plan ahead. Think about the ingredients and the tools you need before you start. Dripping things across the kitchen and measuring things all over the kitchen, instead of where they are going is a recipe for disaster. Searching frantically for a tool when you have your latest creation all over your hands just spreads the mess to cupboard handles and countertops. Assemble things in one central location, for maximum efficiency.

Clean as you go. Placing used dishes and utensils into the sink keeps them contained and off the counters. Wash the dishes and especially wipe the counters immediately before you move on to the next dish. Always start with a clean slate, even if that just means the countertops are food and clutter free.

If you are making multiple dishes, don’t put the utensils you need again into the dishwasher. Hand wash them so they are immediately accessible for the next round.

Wipe spills off the floor, the cupboards and refrigerator door as soon as possible. Once they dry, they are harder to clean off. Everybody spills and splatters, but not everybody wipes them up. Get my drift?

Catch the overflow . Place a cookie sheet under cakes, pies and casseroles  before putting them in the oven. That way, if they boil over, or spatter, you can clean the cookie sheet, instead of the entire oven. Even better, cover them in aluminum foil to avoid having to scrub the drip pan.

Use a garbage bowl.  TV cooks often use a garbage bowl to collect the food scraps as they appear, Toss vegetable peels, and other food refuse into the bowl as you go, and simply empty it and rinse the bowl when you are done.

Cooking can be great fun. Cleaning up: not so much. Cleaning as you go can make the task less daunting and give you more time to enjoy your delicious meal!

 

photo: Glasshouse Images

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