From The Kitchen

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A Cook Can Make All The Difference

Annual savings for cooking dinner at home:

  • $12,804.20 - for cooking at home for dinner for four versus going out to eat
  • 182 hours - for cooking dinner at home instead of eating out
  • 134,685 calories- for ONE person for cooking at home for dinner versus eating out
Cooking at home can make quite a difference for time, money and calories saved. This article will help you get more organized in the kitchen so you can learn to develop and love your inner cook!
Let's get organized in the kitchen and learn some tips for faster meals.

Love your space!

Did you know there are three main areas of a kitchen? They are prep, cook and clean. Each key area needs adequate space, equipment and organization:
1. Prep Area Must Haves:

  • Big, non-slip cutting board
  • Sharp knives, peelers
  • Elbow room
  • Mixing bowls
  • Utensils: spoons, spatulas
  • Clean refrigerator and freezer
2. Cook Area Must Haves:
  • Spices and herbs, oils (spray or drizzle)
  • Variety of pots/pans
  • Elbow room
  • Utensils: spoons, spatulas
  • Clean stove and oven
  • Oven mitts
3. Clean-up Area Must Haves:
  • Apron
  • Room to land for dirty items
  • Great scrubbing brushes
  • Adequate detergents
  • Elbow room
  • Drying rack

And a note about the refrigerator:

  • Won’t ever use it? Throw it out!
  • Messy = #1 stifler for “what do I make”
  • Too packed = can’t find anything
  • Make soup to use items up once a week
  • Consider zip lock bags to save space
  • Have a place to land to “chill it quick”
  • Prep ahead, store it in the refrigerator
  • Planned leftovers, store in the freezer

Love Your Equipment:

Here are great pieces that save time and money and won't get permanently stashed under the counter:
  • Pannini maker – quesadillas, grilled sandwiches, garlic toast
  • Bread machine – pizza, calzone, breadsticks - our bread machine saves a ton of money because we use it to make pizza dough once a week
  • Popcorn popper – hot air popcorn (whole grain)
  • Blender – smoothies, cream soups
  • Food processor – salsa, sauce, desserts
  • Griddle – volume pancakes, omelettes
  • Timer – never burn; take it with you to other rooms of the house when cooking and baking
  • Rice cooker – many grains!
  • Two microwaves – steamed veggies, beverages, leftovers
  • Crock pot - an absolute must for cooking dried beans, chili and soup

Love Your Time: Cook it once, serve it twice ideas

Roasted chicken:
  • Stir fry
  • Chili
  • Aroz con pollo
  • Soup
  • Taco
  • Salad
  • Fajitas
Brown rice:
  • Soup
  • Chili
  • Stir fry
  • Salad
Beans:
  • Soup
  • Chili
  • Tacos
  • Quesadillas
  • Salads
Roast it all! No attendance time cooking:
  • Chicken, vegetables, potatoes
  • Oven stew
  • Casseroles
  • Lasagna
"Make Your Own"  - Various dishes can be set out so that the diners can assemble them at meal time.
Here are examples:
  • Tacos
  • Burritos
  • Pasta/toppings
  • Potatoes/toppings
  • Tostadas

Love Your Budget

And here are more menu tips that save money because you can buy bulk items in the store and make different items with them all week:
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Finally, don't forget to love your plate:

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