Like many working New York women, I am constantly looking for new healthy, easy meals to cook for my family. I strive to prepare two to three meals each Sunday night in anticipation of a busy work week, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen. It’s then I find myself on Monday nights at 7 o’clock scrambling to put together a meal that my family will like and not secretly wish we ordered from our favorite local Indian spot instead. Recently, I made a marvelous discovery about my kitchen. By simply re-arranging and making certain cooking tools, like my grill and mixer, more accessible, it is easier and more convenient to cook these Monday through Friday meals.
First, I invested in a hanging pot rack. Once the rack was installed in my kitchen, it was a cinch to grab those hard to reach pans. Previously, I had to sift through a bottom cabinet in my kitchen, which usually resulted in pots either falling on me or on the ground. With the pot rack installed and hanging from the ceiling at eye level, I could simply just pick up the pan I wanted without the mess of sifting through my cookware.
The next step was to get rid of all the kitchen gadgets I have not used in the past 12 months. During the trials and tribulations of my learning how to cook, I had accumulated 10 years worth of kitchen appliances and gadgets that I never used, or never even took out of the box. If I hadn’t used the item in the past year, I threw it out. This purge allowed me to make way for more useful kitchen appliances, such as a pizza stone and a food processor. It’s important, though, not to replace old junk with new junk. I only bought new kitchen items based on their utility and the expectation that they would provide easier, healthier ways to cook the foods I previously preferred to purchase as take-out. My food processor now lets me to chop all my veggies in a few minutes, allowing my fridge to be the new lunch salad bar, rather than those expensive take-out bars in Midtown.
Another great way to add variety to your meals is to put your spices in an easy to reach location. Rather than keeping your favorite spices in the back of your cabinets, invest in a spice rack and put it next to your stove. Next time you are putting together a meal, it will be easier for you to reach spices and add that extra kick to take your dish from ordinary to exceptional. Also, if you like fresh garlic, chop an entire head at once, put it in your fridge and just take some as you need it. You’ll be more likely to use it if it’s pre-chopped than if you have to chop it each time you want it. Just a few simple changes will have you cooking a week’s worth of meals in no time.