Preparing a family meal on a busy week night can be challenging at best, especially if your kitchen and pantry are a mess. Having an uncluttered work space and knowing which ingredients are in your pantry can go a long way to help simplify your kitchen.
A while back I decided to simplify my life and my kitchen by going through the cabinets and discarding items I had in duplicate or never used. I was astonished by how many pots, pans, and kitchen gadgets I was able to donate. It had been years since I had used my wok and it was taking up a whole lot of space in the back of one of my cabinets. I have a few go to pots and pans that I seem to use over and over again, so it was pretty easy to decide what to keep and donate.
Does anyone really need 5 spatulas?
Once I decided what to keep, I grouped things by function. It makes much more sense to group items according to function, rather than organizing by similarity (all plates on one shelf, for example). Store things where you most need them. Consider keeping spices near your prep area and serving platters near the stove. Place items where they are easily accessible.
Master Shopping List
I’m sure like many of you, my family has certain foods that we like to eat regularly. For example, Tuesday is typically spaghetti night. There are certain foods I am sure to purchase each week, and I keep them on a master shopping list. Try to purchase only food items that you are sure to use. This will cut down on the clutter in your pantry, as well as waste.
Review the fridge each week, and the pantry every few months. Check for expiration dates and ingredients you might have forgotten about. This way you can plan meals around which ingredients are abundant. It’s a good way to ensure foods are used, before they go bad.
Simplifiy Ingredients and Recipes
It’s always a good idea to have a few recipes in your repertoire that require just a few basic ingredients, that you are sure to have on hand. Butter Lemon Garlic Pasta is one of my favorite simplified recipes. I came up with it out of need, because my son was a picky eater for a while. I got tired of making spaghetti, only for him to eat a plate of buttered noodles. These days we don’t have any picky eaters in the house, but it’s still a favorite family recipe.
Butter Lemon Garlic Pasta
8 ounces veggie spaghetti (I love sneaking in a serving of vegetables with this veggie pasta.)
3 tablespoons Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil
2-3 garlic cloves
juice from 2 lemons
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried parsley or chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
Cook pasta according to packae directions, drain.
While the pasta is boiling, mince the garlic. Add butter to a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic to the pan and stir for a minute or two, until the garlic is fragrant and tender.
Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
Toss pasta with the garlic butter mixture, Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper.
Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil is made with only three simple ingredients: sweet cream, canola oil and salt. It gives you the fresh butter taste you love with the spreadable convenience you want. The product is spreadable right out of the refrigerator, making it so convenient. It’s ready to spread on your favorite breads, pastries or breakfast items, or topping on your favorite dinner or side dishes.
Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil is a wholesome choice with no artificial ingredients, so busy moms can feel good about serving it to their families.
Disclosure: I was compensated by Land O’Lakes for this post. All opinions are my own.