– I love to cook. The problem is, I just feel so disorganized, especially when I’m rushed. My kitchen looks like it’s imploded when I’m cooking more than two recipes at a time. Do you have any tips for keeping the kitchen relatively organized while cooking? – Sue C.

Mis en place

Dear Sue:

My advice would be to ignore the impulse to rush into cooking when you’re pressed for time.  You’ll save more time in the long run, if you take the time to get organized. The French call it “mise en place” or literally put in place. In professional kitchens this means arranging the ingredients (e.g., cuts of meat, marinades, sauces, spices, freshly chopped vegetables, and other components) needed to prepare food for that shift. The same practice is useful in home kitchens, but I carry it beyond just ingredients. The more organized you are in your approach, the less messy it will seem, so here’s how I tackle cooking multiple meals at once:

Read through every recipe before you start to cook

Read through every recipe before you start to cook

1). Always read through every recipe before you start cooking! Last minute surprise steps or forgotten ingredients will only add to the chaos, plus you’ll have a better idea of which order to prepare everything.

Mis en place

Mis en place

2). Set the stage – have your pots pans, and cooling station ready to go, then prep and measure all your ingredients in advance. The more organized you are to begin with, the easier it will be to stay that way.

Clean as you go

Clean as you go

3). Clean and tidy as you go. As you finish measuring and chopping, put any unused ingredients away to avoid clutter, and keep a trash container nearby to easily dispose of refuse. When you finish cooking in a pan or using a mixing bowl – give them a quick wash and let them dry on a towel or rack while you get on with the next steps, so they’re ready to go when you need them again. The same goes for wiping down cutting boards and countertops with disinfectant (to avoid any food contamination).

Good news is no more pots and pans all week

Good news is no more pots and pans all week

None of us wants to face a sink full of pots and pans, but the bad news isn’t so bad if your careful not to leave the entire mess until the end of your cook date. The good news is that you won’t have to do any more pots and pans all week long with the Personal Chef Approach™ – just heat, eat, rinse, and let the dishwasher do the rest. Please watch the video below for more about how the Personal Chef Approach™ can save you time and money while keeping healthy home cooked dinners accessible in minutes during your busy week.

 IS OUR VERSION OF THE SYNDICATED COLUMN “DEAR ABBEY,” ONLY ON KITCHEN WOES RATHER THAN THOSE OF THE HEART. SEND US YOUR COOKING DESIRES, QUERIES, AND CATASTROPHES TO DEARJEWELS (AT) JULIEANNERHODES (DOT) COM.

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  • April 16, 2014
    3:08 am

    Hey there! I’ve been reading your weblog for a
    long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead
    and give you a shout out from Houston Tx!
    Just wanted to say keep up the good work!