A few weeks ago, Jeff and I tackled some looooong overdue kitchen cleaning tasks. We emptied drawers and cabinets. We purged, cleaned, and organized our tools and dry storage ingredients. We inventoried our cookware, donated a few things, and made a couple of purchases to update our kitchen basics. Then I got to thinking about my readers…and had this question. Is your kitchen ready for cooking season?
Is Your Kitchen Ready For Cooking Season?
I’ll be honest, this was no walk in the park, but it’s paying off every day…many times a day, in fact!
You could classify this as spring cleaning…but I do it just before the holidays and in the spring. It makes the kitchen a more efficient, enjoyable place to prepare daily meals and holiday feasts.
I thought of you, and how you might benefit from the same. So, I’m sharing my ‘Get Ready for Cooking Season’ list…so you can rock out this holiday season in your kitchen. You probably won’t do it all in one weekend (we didn’t), but it’s a list to get you started. You don’t really have to think about it…just do it.
This is my “Is Your Kitchen Ready For Cooking Season?” checklist:
- Refrigerator and freezer: Clean out; label open containers with the date opened (I do this task every week) * Note: When in doubt, throw it out! Also, check out my Food Safety 101 post for affordable tips on labeling your refrigerated items.
- Spices: Organize; inventory; discard year-old seasonings; restock; label
- Pantry: Remove everything; wipe shelves; discard expired product; inventory; restock; convert your boxes/bags of dry ingredients to storage containers.
- Cookware: Organize cookware and match lids; recycle or donate mismatches; get rid of that surface-scratched, nonstick skillet that’s serving up flakes of who-knows-what. Side note: America’s Test Kitchen recommends T-Fal nonstick skillets for their affordability and superior function. We bought one…we love it!
- Food storage containers: Organize; recycle mismatched items; invest in new, BPA-free storage containers that accommodate your current needs.
- Utility drawers: These get downright gross! Clean ‘em out; file away rarely-used items; donate unused items.
- Prepare for baking: Inventory and update your baking supplies and bakeware; remove those burnt crisps from the bottom of your oven to prevent that awful black smoke, or worse, oven fires and; clean your oven by following the user manual instructions; invest in an oven thermometer. I believe every oven should have one…a nice one.
- Get your recipes in order: I use Pinterest for inspiration to try new things, but also for quick reference to easy favorites. If you’re not already, start using Pinterest for your recipe collection. Better yet, I’ve done all the work for you on my Pinterest account for The Kitchen Girl. I’ve been collecting pins for over a year that link to real websites and I have everything organized in a way that you can easily navigate. And I have a bunch of interest boards so there’s a little something for everybody…healthy recipes, quick meals, vegetarian/vegan recipes, sinful treats, healthy treats, infographics, you name it, it’s on there.
Consider converting your spice ‘cabinet’ to a spice ‘drawer’. I did it and I LOVE it!
Also, BPA-free storage containers are a great for storing dry ingredients if you’re working with tight spaces like me…or you just want to save money and get a really functional product!
And lastly, I use glass canning jars for storage in my pantry, fridge, everywhere. And I love BPA-free, plastic lids! You can order the Ball, BPA-free lids here – woohoo! No errands required!
I want to share some things I’ve noticed in our kitchen since we did the list…
We’re motivated to be in our kitchen and try new recipes.
- Our food preparation timing has improved.
- Our weekly store-list comes together more easily.
- Our tools and ingredients are clean and accessible.
- We’re utilizing perishable ingredients…they’re not rotting in a disorganized fridge.
- We’re spending quality-time together in our kitchen, preparing and eating awesome meals.
- I’m inspired to whip up a batch of cookies at 9pm. What more could a girl want?!?!
I realize Thanksgiving is fast approaching, but there’s still time to give your kitchen this kind of attention. And, there’s always December. Let me know what your cooking season preparations include in the comments below. I always love to hear from you!
Happiest Holidays to you and your loved ones.