Image: Michael Nangreaves
The kitchen is a well-loved hub of any home, but it's summertime and who wants to be stuck indoors? Read on for five must-know tips to simplify the cooking (and cleaning) process, and take your summers back!
1. Stop washing your dishes twice. Let your dishwasher be a dishwasher.
Dishwashers are a time-saver, no question, but since when did it become the norm to wash dishes before running the rinse cycle? Luckily, Cascade Platinum detergent saves you that oft-dreaded step from the start. Even without any pre-rinsing, it will clean away your baked-on, stuck-on or burnt-on messes. Good news: we put the pods to the test, and not only was caked-on food a distant memory (bye, last night's spaghetti), but each dish revealed a distinct shine without any spots or film in sight.
Image: Monic Richard
2. Befriend the freezer
Forget weekly meal prep – we have an even more convenient make-ahead solution: freezer-friendly dishes. Start small by doubling tonight's dinner (say, lasagna or enchiladas) and freeze the extra batch. Then, for nights when you're in a pinch, defrost and serve. Do the same with homemade sauces or pre-cut veggies to elevate a last-minute pasta dish. Having these meals on standby will also deter you from ordering takeout, saving money and providing a more nutrient-rich meal for the whole family.
Image: Maya Visnyei
3. Keep cookware handy
Most of us have fallen victim to kitchen chaos more than we care to admit, with a disarray of pots and pans strewn throughout our cooking space. Instead, stow oft-used items in easy-to-reach places, whether that means installing a pot rail above the sink or re-organizing kitchen cabinets. The simple task of assigning cookware to a designated spot will save you many headaches down the road.
Image: Michael Nangreaves
4. Simplify meals
Meals don't have to be daunting to be delicious. Some of the tastiest dishes feature fewer than 10 ingredients, and instead focus on fresh produce packed with flavour. So simplify weeknights with quick sheet-pan dinners or one-pot meals that incorporate seasonal fare. Bonus: post-dinner clean up will be a breeze.
Image: Robert Palmer
5. Ongoing shopping list
Most of us don't create a grocery list until we're half-way to the store, suddenly trying to recall if we're still out of eggs or if our partner already bought a new carton. Banish the uncertainty by keeping an ongoing list, adding everyday items as soon as you run out, and jotting down new ingredients when inspiration strikes. This is especially handy for families, who can keep track together on a large chalkboard or even through a shared mobile app.
Image: Donna Griffith