Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Making My Life in the Kitchen Easier

We've discovered a few odds and ends around the kitchen lately that have really made things easier for me and Eric when we cook! When you have such a small space to work in even little changes can make a big difference. 

The biggest and best new thing in the kitchen is the new under cabinet shelf that Eric put in this past weekend (seen in the photo above, please excuse the messy countertop!). I'm kind of ridiculously excited about it. We desperately needed a spot to stash our cutting boards and shallow dishes and this gets them out of the way while still leaving them really accessible. This shelf is by far the best thing that has happened to our kitchen in recent months. 

We also got some awesome new cutting mats that we love but I forgot to take photos of them. You can kind of see them on the right hand side in the photo of the shelf. They are great because they are so thin and take up so little space. They are also flexible and durable and they come as a set of 4, each a different color so we can have designated cutting mats for different types of meat and veggies. We got ours at the Buford Highway Farmers Market but you can fins similar sets almost anywhere that sells kitchen goods. 

Recipe card on display
 The other things I'm posting about are just little tips that have made our life easier. First of all Eric had the idea to hang a chip clip from our kitchen shelves to use for clipping recipes up while we cook. A lot of our recipes are copied on to recipe cards and stored in a box or binder so this is a nice way to have them at eye level while you work.

My last two tips are for freezing. We are in the market for a chest freezer which I am really excited about! Our current freezer is teeny tiny and it makes it hard to stock on meats and veggies when they go on sale because we have no space to store them. I also like to bake all of our bread but it goes bad so fast without all the preservatives that are in store bought breads that freezing it is the only way to keep a supply on hand. so yeah, I am looking forward to having more freezer space in the near future.

Frozen chicken in teriyaki marinade
That being said, I have some issues with freezing things, especially meat. I know it is a really economical thing to do when we can stock up on sale meat and freeze the extra for later but in my opinion freezing meat can change it's texture and flavor and I hate that! Eric recently came across a tip on one of the frugal boards he reads that has really helped with this problem though. When we freeze chicken breasts we now add a hearty splash marinade. That way when it can marinate while it thaws and we have found that this really helps combat the dryness that usually comes with freezing chicken.

Frozen fresh ginger
 Lastly, I came across this tip for cooking with fresh ginger on one of the blogs I read. I love cooking with fresh ginger, you can't beat the flavor. However it is always really hard for us to use it all up before it goes bad. I recently started peeling the whole ginger root when I buy it and cutting it in to chunks. I stick it in the freezer and then when it's time to use it in a recipe I take out just what I need and and grate it directly in to my dish. This way I don't have to waste any ginger and it's easier to grate when it's frozen.

These are just some things I've been thinking about lately and was hoping they would maybe benefit someone else's kitchen life. Hope you all are having a lovely week!

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