Saturday, April 20, 2013

Phenomenal Tip: An Organized Kitchen

Meal planning and food prepping are two very important areas in my life as a homemaker.  The Phenomenal Papa and the kids are big eaters, and so meal times are events which they look forward to with great anticipation.  I always try to make an effort to prepare delicious and nutritious meals for breakfast, school lunch baon, merienda/after-school snacks, and dinner.   But I am also a busy with other duties such as bringing the kids to and from their activities, helping my youngest with homework (on school days), and other things that domestic engineers attend to.  Having said that, an organized kitchen makes my meal planning and preparation run as efficiently and smoothly as possible.

One of the areas in my house that I intentionally maintain to keep organized is my kitchen, specifically my pantry and refrigerator.  
I like to keep a lot of things in my refrigerator; not necessarily leftovers, mine is more like a depository of the numerous condiments that I use in cooking.  To keep everything in order, here are some of the things that I observe:

1.  USE PLASTIC BINS.  The single most important thing that I have implemented to maintain the order inside my ref is the use of  plastic baskets that I buy from Saizen or SM Megamall.   I like to organize like items in one basket.  Vitamins in one container, condiments in another one, jams and salad dressing in yet another.

Similarly, each type of freezer item gets its own basket: beef, pork, fish, frozen vegetables and fruits for the kids' smoothies, etc.    

This system works for me because it makes it very simple for me to see which items are running low and need replenishment.   It also cuts in half the amount of time I search for items in the ref and freezer.  I just pull out a bin, get the item, and return. 

2.   FREEZE THINGS FLAT.  To get the most out of the freezer space, I freeze items flat (such as ground beef and pork, etc) and then, once they are completely frozen I stand them up in the individual plastic baskets.  I usually buy meat by the kilo and ask the butcher to pass them through the grinder twice; then I ask him to pack them individually in 200-gram pouches.   
3. FIRST IN, FIRST OUT.   I also follow the FIFO rule.  I make sure that the newly bought item is placed behind the item that has already been there.  Essentially what that means is I use things up in the order that I purchase them.  

4.  Label everything.  I usually marinate a portion of newly-purchased meat right after I get home, and I label every container so I don't have to double guess the contents. My schedule is always crazy since I bring the kids around to their different activities.  More so when it's a school day, since my kids also bring lunch baon to school.  If I don't prepare in advance, I don't think I could afford to wake up at the time I do, and have time to prepare their lunch.  Since I already marinated most of the meat in advance, all the maid has to do is look at the menu the night before and move the corresponding container to the ref to let it defrost in the ref overnight.

In a few days, I will be flying out to chaperone my eldest for the biggest sporting event in the country, Palarong Pambansa. So even if I won't personally cook food for the other members of my family, they won't feel it that much as I have already prepared meals for them, all just ready to be cooked.

Another area that I pay close attention to is my pantry.  The pantry is one small space that has to function big.  So it is important that it is organized in a way that keeps it easy to search for items on a daily basis.  I love to visit my pantry, and I admit to intentionally leaving the door open a few times just to look at it.  An organized pantry does make me smile 

Like what I do to my refrigerator, my pantry items are also organized to type.  Similar items are placed together. 
 My pantry is sized generously that I also have an area for all my baking ingredients, and even a space for the Phenomenal Papa's fave drinks.

I hope you are able to pick up  get a few of my tips on kitchen organization to use in your own kitchen!  I would also like to hear how you keep your own kitchen spic and span! Do share!

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