What to Cook for Dinner?
When I was first married, I didn’t cook too much from scratch. I would make some of our meals from scratch, but often I would buy things like pie crusts ready made, tube biscuits or boxed dinner starts just to make getting dinner done after working a little easier. But after our daughter came along, we found that she had a milk allergy. She even had problems if I ate milk while she was nursing so we quickly became a dairy free home.
But I was so shocked to find out how many items contained milk. The biggest shock was lunchmeat, who would have thought that lunchmeat would have added milk. To be safe, I started cooking from scratch, finding recipes I could make without milk or cheese was harder at that time. I did find one book that we really liked the dairy free recipes in so that was quite the lifesaver.
Cooking from scratch takes some getting used to. If you are wanted to simplify your diet and do more from scratch cooking here’s a few tips to help you transition to scratch cooking a little easier. I wish I would have known them when I first started cooking from scratch.
Tips to Make From Scratch Cooking Manageable
Set up a Station in Your Kitchen
When I first started cooking from scratch, I noticed it took so much time because I was going from place to place in my kitchen. Just going back and forth to get everything I needed was time-consuming. But if you set up stations in your kitchen you can save time and make it easier to get the cooking done.
One station I have in my kitchen is my baking area. I have my mixer, in the corner of the counter. Above it I have all my dry baking supplies, like flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, vanilla, and other baking items. The only things I need to move from that spot to get is my baking pans and the refrigerated items. I also have my measuring cups and spoons within reach from my baking station. It makes it so easy to whip up my recipes.
Group Like Items Together
When organizing your kitchen keep like items together. Keep the mixing bowls near the baking pans. Keep the pots and pans near the stove. Make sure your cupboards for the dishes and silverware is located near the dishwasher or sink. Having the like items together makes it easy to access them when needed and saves you time in the kitchen when you are cooking and cleaning up.
Clean as You Go
I think many people get frustrated from cooking from scratch because there’s often more dishes to clean. Or messes from spills to wipe up when they are done cooking. To keep the mess under control, clean as you go.
Often I will mix or prepare the food I’m making, then as soon as it can be left to cook a little while on its own, I will wipe down the counter and place the dishes in the sink. If I have more time I will wash the dishes or load them into the dishwasher. By doing these tasks as I’m going along with cooking the only dishes, I have left are the ones I’m actually cooking in. The rest are clean and put away.
I also make sure to put items away as soon as I’m done with them. If I’m mixing up pancakes, I’ll take out all the ingredients needed as I add them to the bowl, the item gets put back in the cupboard. So my mess is growing less and less the further I get into my recipe. Plus if you are distracted half way through the recipe, you know what you haven’t added yet. If you leave the items on the counter, it gets cluttered and can be frustrating to keep working in such a small amount of space.
With just a little planning cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be difficult. If you work at making your kitchen from scratch cooking friendly in the way it’s organized and then clean as you go, I’m sure you’ll find it much easier to cook from scratch.
What is another tip you could add to the ones above that have helped you make cooking from scratch more manageable? I would love to have you share your tips in the comments below.
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