Streamlining in the Kitchen

I’m thrilled to share with you this week that I’ve been successful in creating a daily routine! I shared the simple routine last week which is structured but with ample free time for life with a toddler and nursing baby. I definitely feel following this routine and having a consistent rest time for Paxton has made our week flow smoother. As far as my morning routine goes, I’m still not waking at 6:45 but I’m taking baby steps towards waking earlier.

This week we’re shifting gears from time management to the kitchen. 

When I was first married until I was pregnant with Paxton, I was super organized in the kitchen. I always meal planned, rarely asked the ‘what’s for dinner?’ question, packed my husband lunch every day and loved baking to share with others.

Over the past 3 years, I’ve honestly just been surviving in the kitchen. I’ll meal plan for a week or two in a row but not consistently. I forget to thaw meat out, I wait until 6:00 to think about dinner typically (not good with a hungry toddler) and I bring sweet tea to gatherings instead of food! Let’s just say, it can be quite chaotic and we eat out more frequently.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be streamlining in the kitchen. 

I hope to accomplish the following:

  • Getting rid of all the clutter in the kitchen
  • Thoroughly cleaning the kitchen
  • Creating a simple menu planning system
  • Simplifying breakfast and lunch
  • Begin freezer cooking

 Week 6 Project: Declutter and clean your kitchen.

It’s hard to be organized when it comes to meal planning and food preparation when your kitchen is cluttered and dirty. Over the course of this week, clear the clutter out of the kitchen, clean out the fridge, shine your sink, clean out your microwave (and clean anything else that needs it!)

 Visit Mary Jo at Covenant Homemaking to read about her goals for the coming weeks!

Any kitchen management tips you have to share? Do you have a system that works and makes meal preparation simple?

responses to “Streamlining in the Kitchen” 16

  1. Being pregnant or having 2 young children makes getting work done in the kitchen super tough! Now that Naomi is now 8 months I feel like we're just getting back into a good routine and have felt like this for maybe 4 or 5 weeks. Before that it was just survival mode and most days still are.
    I struggled with meal planning for about 3 months after Naomi was born. Thank goodness I did a little freezer cooking before and we had a few meals brought to us after she was born.
    I too have made breakfast and lunch simple. Daniel takes leftovers for lunch to work and the girls and I eat simple stuff. Nyla is a fruit, cheese and cracker lover so she's easy to please and Naomi is still on her homemade baby food and Daniel will help me make that, saving tons of time in the kitchen. I stick to leftovers or a sandwich, something quick and easy to throw together. It's stressful when 2 kids are fussing because they see you're getting food out but it's not fast enough for them. 🙂
    I read on a blog the other day that first thing in the morning, when we have more energy, try and do some prep work for dinner, while the kids are eating breakfast, if it's possible. Cut up onions and vegetables and place them in the fridge until you're ready to put dinner together and then while dinner is cooking do some prep work for the morning. i.e. make a muffin mix and place it in the fridge, etc. I think I'm going to start implementing some of these now that I feel I have about 10 minutes of free hands while the girls eat. Some days it won't happen but that's okay.
    For meal planning: I plan every 2 weeks and shop every 2 weeks with 1 or 2 visits in between for milk and produce. That helps me not spend a lot and go over our grocery budget. I also am flexible about switching dinners around if I didn't get meat out or it would take too long to cook. I will cook breakfast for dinner if my regularly planned dinner doesn't work out. I usually always have bacon in the fridge and eggs and can whip up that with a muffin or some breakfast item from the freezer. Rough days happen and I try not to let that throw a wrench in our dinners. But some days it's pretty hard!
    Keep working on getting up early. I've been going to bed at 9 at night and getting up at 5 M-F with Daniel. 3 days a week I'll go run with my sister and he'll stay home and workout to a workout video and then Tues and Thurs we read our bibles together and I get some light housework done. I am so NOT a morning person but with other people getting up it makes getting up so much easier. So I want to encourage you to keep making steps to getting up. It really makes the morning go by smoother, at least for me!

    1. This comment was encouraging to me! I'm hoping once Weston is mobile it will be a bit easier. And I so understand the kids fussing because I'm not fast enough getting lunch on the table! I jotted down some notes, prepping for dinner during breakfast and for the next morning while dinner is cooking is brilliant! I so want to become a morning person, the mornings I have gotten up earlier have really started the day off on such a positive note. {I can't imagine 5 am…you rock!}

    1. There's not too much left to declutter in the kitchen but I really think decluttering is a lifestyle {I still don't understand where all the stuff comes from since we are not shoppers…} And maybe you'll declutter yourself into labor! 🙂

  2. A few tips….
    I almost always have a pilsbury pizza crust in the fridge, left over sauce and cheese to make a super fast pizza when I forget to thaw my meat. When cleaning up that night after dinner I put my frozen meat in the fridge to thaw overv night. It's always ready for 5 pm the next day. But sometimes we forget.
    I also always have frozen chopped broccoli and bow tie pasta on hand to make pasta with broccoli garlic and olive oil for the nights forget too.
    Other than that, when meal planning, I try to incorporate the same ingredients for several meals. Ex: sausage and peppers on monday, I have to cut up onions and peppers, I will reserve in a ziplock bag some of the onions and peppers for tuesdays night meal of chili. Super easy.
    One other fun tip, I don't always stick to this, but have the same thing every day of the week. Like Monday's chili and Tuesday's chicken cutlets. We usually always have pizza or baked ziti on Friday and Sunday in our Italian household is always sauce with meatballs and sausage. Always knowing that Sunday is that always makes it less time to think about what to make when making your meal plan. And rach, take your own advise, I learned from you! 🙂

  3. You posted a great homemade pizza recipe that we love and I just wanted to share a quick way we make homemade pizza crust in our home. I do this process to save on the huge mess using making dough creates! I buy a 25 pound bag of flour and spend a couple hours making pizza crust with it one day (water, oil, yeast and flour) putting each serving into baggies then freezing them (I do not let them rise before I freeze). So, when I plan on making pizza all you have to do is take it out of the freezer, rip the baggie (not thrifty but oh well!) and dump the frozen dough into a bowl – it will rise while it thaws all day and is ready for dinner without having to deal with any extra dirty any extra dishes (or a huge kitchen aid mixer!) and the messy flour everywhere…

  4. I found your new blog! Yay! Missed updates about your handsome sons!
    I'm pregnant again, and having a 9 month old on top of getting the house ready for the new baby is fun, let me tell ya! This is a timely post, because I've been going through our kitchen and decluttering myself. I've also made a few lists for my first official freezer cooking session. I still have a few months to go, before baby arrives, so I plan to use the time to keep the freezer stocked and continue to declutter our home, room by room. As well as continue the routines that keep my son happy and growing!
    BTW, I'd love it if he let me sleep until 8am!!! 🙂 He wakes up most morning at 6am, usually on the dot. I'm becoming a morning person, lol

    I'm doing crock pot meals, because they are super easy to assemble and freeze. Then you just toss them frozen in the crock pot in the morning and you're set, minus a side and salad. Which I'm also making sides that just need heating up, as well as having fresh salad from our CSA share. This is my HOPE and prayer anyways! 🙂

    Good luck!

  5. In our home decluttering is quite difficult because my wife often have things we don't need, shelved or kept away in cabinets. I keep on telling her to clean up and throw away things we are not using, but I think she keeps them because of sentimental value. How can I convince her to throw or give away those things?

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