To me, there’s nothing quite so discouraging as ending the day with a sink full of dirty dishes. Or, even worse, starting the day with a sink full of dirty dishes.
Cast iron skillets are frequent sink-filling culprits at our house. Recently, I’ve been making a concerted effort to clean up the kitchen as I cook; it’s very difficult for me to return to the kitchen and make the mess disappear, when all I really feel like doing is putting my feet up.
Here are two strategies that have been working for me.
#1–Wash items that can’t go in the dishwasher as soon as you’re done with them.
As soon as the smoothie leaves the VitaMix, the dough leaves the mixer, or the food processor is empty, they hit the suds. No dried on, crusty food for me to scrub off later; because everything is still wet or “fresh”, it washes right off and I can put it in the dish strainer to dry right away.
#2–CHALLENGE YOURSELF: What is the least number of utensils you can use to cook a meal?
My second strategy is more of a game that I play against myself. Too often I find myself finishing up a cooking task and realize I’ve used two sets of measuring spoons, several measuring cups, and as many knives—completely unnecessary! All I’ve succeeded in doing is making more work for myself.
Now each time I cook a meal, I take on the challenge of using as few utensils as possible. Some ideas . . .
- Measuring cups and spoons can be rinsed and reused between ingredients
- A large glass measuring cup is ideal—it can be used for multiple ingredients at the same time (if you can keep track of the fractions in your head!) and doubles as a mixing bowl if need be.
- Choose your knife carefully—think about what ingredients you’ll need to cut, and see if you can choose a knife that will handle all of them!
- Instead of heating pasta sauce in a separate pan, dump it into the pasta pot with the noodles after they’ve been drained. Put a lid on, or turn the burner on low, and a few minutes later, everything’s warm!
How do you reduce the number of dishes you have to wash?