Cooking can be fun, and it’s inarguably important. But many of today’s tenants avoid making their own meals because they don’t have the optimal space for it.
A big kitchen is nice, of course, but you can accomplish a lot in cramped quarters if you know what you’re doing. A few simple tricks will help you stay organized.
Try these five suggestions the next time you’re whipping something up.
1. Manage Your Storage
Getting the most from a small kitchen is all about storing the tools you need and the ingredients you cook with. To do that, you’ll need to manage your storage solutions.
Invest in a set of nesting bowls. Use a magnet on your fridge to store your knives. Keep your greens ready to go in a cold salad spinner and consider picking up a lazy Susan to maximize cabinet space. It all adds up.
2. Make One-Pot or Pan Meals
You can do a lot in a single pot. When you’re trying to craft dishes that require a sauce, starch and veggie all made in a different vessel, things can get complicated quickly.
Instead, go for meals that you can make in a single piece of cookware. There are lots to choose from, such as pasta, casseroles, soups and stews. Even a roast beef or chicken can be done in a single pot.
3. Mise en Place
Here’s where you get to sound fancy and French. “Mise en place” is a term you’ll hear kicked around by the haute cuisine chefs of the world, and it means having your basic ingredients prepped and ready. Before cooking, run through your recipe to see how things need to be broken down.
Where you can, do the chopping or juicing ahead of time and present your ingredients in small containers. That way, when you combine everything and create your dish, it’s all there and it is simple to work with. It might not sound like it will help, but it does. If you’ve never tried cooking this way before, it’ll feel like you just fly through the recipe.
4. Clean as You Go
Half of the work you do when you cook is cleaning up. Often, plates that might be simple to clean when they’re hot out of the oven or off the stove gum up and become a sticky mess if you leave them.
When you find a spare five minutes, why not just knock out your existing pile of dishes so you don’t have to worry about them afterward?
Make the Most of Your Space
Don’t let your small space be a deterrent to making great meals. You can join the ranks of those who craft amazing dishes every day in tight quarters. Your friends will be impressed and you can pat yourself on the back for making the best of your minimal space.
Dylan Bartlett, aka, “The Regular Guide,” writes about a broad variety of topics on his blog. Check out Just a Regular Guide for more, or follow Dylan on Twitter @theregularguide for frequent updates!