As you know, the kitchen is not exactly my favorite place to be. I don’t enjoy cooking and like to be in and out of the kitchen as fast as possible. Over the years this has made me a fast and efficient cook. If there is a faster or easier way to do a kitchen job, you can bet I am going to find it. Here are some of my best large family kitchen hacks, gained from twenty-one years of marriage and fourteen kids.
1. Place extra garbage bags in the bottom of your garbage can.
My grandma taught me this one. She always kept a stash of extra garbage bags in the bottom of her garbage can. That way, as soon as she took the old one out, a new one was ready to line the garbage. No excuses about “I forgot”. I have always taught my kids, “taking out the garbage” includes replacing the bag.
Make sure you use quality bags. A couple of months ago I bought cheap garbage bags. They rip, they tear and add endless work to taking out the garbage. My family has not stopped reminding me “about the time you bought those cheap garbage bags”…Yes, I remember. In fact, those bags come into play in our kitty litter story. The kitty litter was originally bagged in the cheap bags (since we didn’t want to use them in the kitchen) and it promptly split open. And we still have nearly the entire box because no one will use them.
2. Store peanut butter upside down.
Mmm…did you know peanut butter is one of my favorite foods? But only the natural stuff made with only peanuts and salt. One of my all-time favorite snacks is peanut butter on apple slices. One thing I don’t like is stirring the brand new jar of peanut butter. It is tedious and I hate spilling the oil on the counter and myself. I discovered years ago that if you store the peanut butter jars upside down (before you open it the first time) it is much easier to stir. The oil settles at the bottom of the container, and once you flip it over stir, it is so much easier to mix.
3. Store milk in smaller containers.
If you have little ones who are gaining independence, but not quite ready to tackle a gallon of milk, try pouring some milk into a smaller container. This makes it so much easier for young kids to pour and cuts down on spills. It takes up less room on the table and less is spilled when that inevitable accident happens…
4. Keep paper towel in with your lettuce to keep it crisp.
I am really big on prepping my veggies all at once. One mess, one clean up, numerous meals. Most veggies (peppers, carrots, celery) I keep in an airtight container with a little bit of water at the bottom. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work for lettuce. I have found that if I put it in an airtight container with a paper towel or two lining the bottom, my lettuce will stay fresh and crisp for a week to ten days.
5. Grate butter if you don’t have any softened.
My kids love to bake. Cookies, brownies, cinnamon rolls, you name it. Because they bake so frequently, there is not always softened butter available (besides, that requires advanced planning). When we don’t have soft butter, we have found that grating cold butter with a cheese grater works wonders. The shredded butter softens quickly and can be used as is to bake cookies, muffins and more.
Do you have any great kitchen hacks? Leave them in the comments, I’d love to hear them.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.