But, if you want to eat mindfully and healthfully and really know what you are putting in your body, it does require stirring a pot or two. But, we can make cleaning those pots a bit less painful, can't we?
Cook With Less Mess
Try incorporating these kitchen clean up tips next time you find yourself reaching for your favorite pot and make cleaning it up a whole lot easier and a whole lot faster. I have included links here to recipes and other blogs with great clean-up ideas as well as some of my very favorite kitchen tools if you are interested. I only link to products I use and to be of excellent value:
1. Create a plan before you start.
The clean-up process actually can begin before you even get started cooking. When reading a recipe and meal planning, look at the recipe in terms of how much mess it will create, too. I save the messier making meals for days when I have more time.
2. Choose wisely.
One pot meal making can really cut down on messy clean-up. Try these healthy ones or some soups and stews like these. Here is my favorite pan I use every day that is inexpensive, sears foods beautifully, is chemcial-free and cleans up like a champ!
3 - 6. Clear the deck.
Create a clear path for easy clean-up later by taking these steps before you begin cooking:
- Empty the dishwasher. Clean out the sink of any dishes in there too.
- I think spoon rests can be too small sometimes for the mess I make. Rip off a generous piece of tin foil or use a dishcloth to set up next to the stove or area where you are cooking. Rest all your messy spoons, knives, measuring tools, etc. on it rather than the counter. Wash the towel later or scrunch up the foil and toss. No counter clean-up.
- Place the trashcan or large trash bowl next to where you are working. No walking across the kitchen with onion skins to scatter all over your clean floor.
- Place a large bowl or bin filled with hot, soapy water next to dishwasher for dirty utensils, measuring cups and small plates to soak right after use to make them clean up easier and much faster. Later, when loading the dishwasher, they are right there to directly place on the rack.
7. Make extra.
Always chop extra of food items you use frequently. Go ahead and chop up that extra onion and store it covered in the refrigerator to use later and not have to create another mess. Double that soup recipe and freeze, as well. There is no clean-up in pulling a home-made soup from the freezer! Here is are great freezer storage option. These containers are glass (much healthier option!) and are oven safe too, which lessens clean-up (no transferring food to oven safe container) for all those extra servings of soups and stews you can make-ahead to save time.
8. Pile it on.
Why chop herbs or garlic and ginger separately when they are going into the dish at the same time? Line those ingredients up together on your best cutting board and mince them together with fewer steps and less mess.
9. Bigger may be better.
Work in a bigger bowl than you think you need. You’ll avoid a mess on the counter, and you won’t have to transfer contents to bigger bowls once that batter starts slopping over the edge.
10. Drain it.
Do messy work in the sink. Stir those batters, marinades and spice mixtures in bowls set in the sink. Watch those spills easily float down the drain.
11. Don't create unnecessary work.
I never wash a measuring cup that I was using to measure water. And if it is for rice or a dry grain, a simple wipe down should do the trick.
Use the same tools again. Give the knife a wash and dry after to use again. There is no need to dirty another one to use.
13. Line up.
Use non-bleached parchment paper for roasting. Throw the vegetables on the pan and mix your additional oils, spices right on the pan and don't dirty another bowl to season the dish. Line baking pans with parchment paper, too, for little clean-up after baking.
14. Whistle while your work.
Put on some upbeat tunes to make the clean-up team (hope you are not working alone!) work faster and have something to elevate the task. Or, you could always bring out your laptop and listen to a Podcast or a TED talk, too.
15. Think chemistry lab.
The best dirty pot secret is baking soda and vinegar. Sprinkle lots of baking soda in the empty dirty pot and pour inexpensive white vinegar over the stain and soda and watch it bubble and etch the mess away. When pots and pans are really bad, I turn to this to make them look brand new again.
16. Turn to paper.
Cooking in packets like this method makes your kitchen clean-up a dream. Toss that parchment paper that steamed your fish and walk away.
17. Don't let stains sit.
Wipe up spills as quickly as possible so that they do not set and bake on and take a lot longer to clean-up.
18. Protect the innocent.
Keep laptops, cookbooks, and recipe cards covered loosely in plastic wrap or throw a towel over it so that splatters don't form on that expensive LED screen.
19. Load them right.
If you have one, load your dishes in your dishwasher properly. Ensure there is room between dishes and utensils to allow the water to get in between them. And, don’t overload it. You will just end up doing the dishes by hand (more work!) because the stains became baked on in the dishwasher.
20. Get outside.
Choose grilling as your cooking method. It keeps the mess outside and although cleaning your grill is necessary (and here is how), it is not needed as often.
21. Create a film.
Give your measuring spoons or cups a quick, light mist with a cooking spray device before measuring out honey, molasses or syrup to ensure those food items pour easily with no mess.
So, that is 21 ways I make cleaning up my cooking creations less of a hassle. But, I really want to hear yours. Can you help and add to the list?
- Here are some other tips on cooking you may find helpful.
- Want to take that soup to a new level, try some of these ways to do that.