Time Saving Kitchen Tips

The Scramblog

Kitchen Organization for Efficient Cooking

One of the secrets to truly efficient, pleasurable cooking is a well-organized kitchen. A kitchen that is set up for success will help you not only to get meals prepared faster and with less stress, but it will also make cleaning up afterwards easier—and who doesn’t want that?!Kitchen Organization for Efficient CookingHere are some simple ways to make your kitchen work better for you:General Suggestions:
  • When possible, having your prep area and your cooking area side-by-side can be very helpful. This is because you will often be going back and forth between the two spots as you prepare a meal and many of the tools will overlap.
  • Keep lots of dishcloths on hand. These workhorses are great for cleaning up messes, using as pot holders, and stabilizing slippery cutting boards (dampen a dishcloth, fold it in half, and put it underneath your cutting board to stabilize your cutting surface).
  • Start out tidy. Each and every time you set out to cook a meal, start by...

Simplify in 2019!

2018 has been a whirlwind, hasn’t it? So many fast-moving news stories, schedules that never seem to stop, and kids growing before our eyes. As we enter 2019, it can be tempting to come up with a long list of resolutions or goals that will make life better: get healthier, get organized, spend more time with family, get finances under control, the list goes on and on. I don’t know about you, but that growing list just adds to my anxiety and if I don’t accomplish the changes I hoped to see, then it also adds to my guilt. No thanks. So, as I sat down to think about how The Scramble could best support busy families in 2019, it occurred to me that the thing we could offer would be a one-stop solution that could help to simplify daily food routines and make them more pleasant, all while supporting many of the resolutions that busy parents tend to be drawn toward. Done and done! So, this year instead of giveaways or prizes, instead of challenges or competitions, we have put...

8 Tricks to Make the Cleaning After Cooking Easier

One of the complaints I hear most often from people is that while the cooking is ok, the cleaning afterward makes them crazy. I get it, I really do. You’ve made a meal for everyone, they’ve eaten (or not), and then you either have to kick back into high gear for cleaning OR have to do bedtime duty. You finally get the kids to sleep and then you face a messy kitchen when all you want to do is collapse. It stinks… But it doesn’t have to! While I don’t have a fairy godmother who can come in and do the cleaning for you (if you figure out how to get one of those, please let me know!), I do have some tricks that can help to make the cleaning less of a chore.8 Tricks to Make the Cleaning After Cooking EasierMake a DealFor most families, I know the deal is this: whoever doesn’t do the cooking does the cleaning. But this doesn’t have to be the deal. Other options include whoever is not on bedtime duty does the dishes or one person loads the dishwasher and the...

More Exciting Improvements to The Scramble!

2018 Holiday Gift Guide for Every Kind of Cook

 2018 Holiday Gift Guide for Every Kind of CookI will never forget the Christmas my mother only gave me cooking tools. I was 22-years-old, living on my own for the first time, and had been scraping by with two pots that had been bought in a bodega on the first floor of my building, a couple of cheap knives I think I had gotten at IKEA, and a set of measuring cups and spoons purchased at Target. That Christmas, when I opened my gifts, I was a little dismayed and secretly wished I had gotten maybe one fewer pot in exchange for a sweater or two, but looking back, those were some of the best gifts I ever received. They made it possible for me to explore cooking and expanded the types of meals that I could cook for myself. While I am not advocating for giving a loved one only cooking tools (unless, of course, that is what they ask for), I do think a solid cooking-related gift or two is always welcome. So, to help you find the best gift for each person on your list, I have...

5 Ways to Quickly Clean Out the Clutter in Your Kitchen

A wise friend of mine recently pointed out that fall is the perfect season to shed things that are no longer useful—just like trees shedding their leaves. I have noticed that this is a time of year when I tend to want to clean house and decrease the clutter (maybe it has to do with preparing for the winter when we will be inside more). If getting rid of clutter in the kitchen sounds appealing to you, here are some simple steps you can take to let things go.5 Ways to Quickly Clean Out the Clutter in Your Kitchen1) Pantry Check: Take 10 minutes to go through and pull out the half-full boxes of pasta, crackers, and who knows what else and divide them into two piles: food you will use and food you won’t. Put the items you will use back into the pantry (maybe even in a more organized way than before) and toss or donate the items you won’t be using. An important note, Rose Clifford, a RDN who manages the food and nutrition program at a senior services non-profit told...

Getting Kids to Cook (and Classes to Get Them Started)!

As I have written about before, food and family dinners were essential parts of my childhood. Ironically, however, despite my mom’s best attempts, cooking was not. The poor woman tried everything to entice me to cook and I did dabble a bit, but mostly I just wasn’t interested. And yet she persisted. If I wanted cookies, I had to make them myself (the first attempt was incredibly memorable, but that’s a story for another post). If I wanted boxed macaroni and cheese when my parents went out for dinner (since they definitely weren’t going to eat it), I had to make it myself. And then, when my brother and I were in high school, we were each responsible for one dinner a week. I dragged my heels but she stuck with it, making sure I had the basic skills necessary to cook for myself when the time came. Years later, when I first started my career as a health coach, I quickly noticed a pattern: clients who came to me reluctant to cook often spoke of never having anyone...

Stocking Your Freezer for the Nights When Cooking Isn’t Happening

So far in our back to school series of blog posts, we have talked about how to make breakfasts a breeze and how to get your kids to pack their own lunches. This week we tackle dinner. As a meal planning service that is committed to helping you get dinner on the table every night, we are all about planning ahead, but even we know that there are times when cooking just isn’t going to happen. Maybe you get home later than expected, perhaps you haven’t made it to the grocery store yet, maybe you are just too tired to cook. Whatever the reason, the need for a back-up is real. That is why I like to stock up my freezer with some extra meals that I can turn to when cooking isn’t an option. Our freezer meals ebook (free when you sign up for or renew your membership to The Scramble during the month of August!) is packed with recipes and tips on how to properly freeze and reheat your meals, but what about preparing them? Despite my love of cooking, I rarely have the time to...

Getting Your Kids to Pack Their Own Lunches: Mistakes I’ve Made and How I’ll be Doing it Differently This Year

My kids go to a school where there is no cafeteria, so we have to pack lunches every. single. day. And while my husband is in charge of school day breakfasts, I still have the task of overseeing school lunches. Last year, when they were in 2nd and 4th grades, I decided that it was time for the boys to start packing their own lunches. There were definitely days when it didn’t go as planned, days when I threw up my hands and just packed the lunches because otherwise the boys never would have left on time, but for much of the year, they successfully pulled their own lunches together every day. And it was awesome. So now that we have done it for a year in my house, I wanted to share the lessons that I have learned and thoughts on what I will do differently this year.How to get your kids to pack their own lunchesBe clear on expectations, then step backBefore the school year started, I shared The Scramble’s lunch packing printable chock full of lunch packing ideas with...

5 Tricks to Make Breakfast a Breeze

We’re a family of breakfast eaters—some out of passion for the meal (my youngest and my husband) and some out of necessity (my eldest and me). For my eldest and me, breakfast is not our favorite meal, but we both fall apart without it so we’ve had to figure out ways to make it work for us. Even on the best of mornings, though, our family rarely has more than 15 minutes to make breakfast happen, so we have come up with a lot of tricks to make it work.5 Tricks to Make Breakfast a Breeze1) Make-aheadOne weekend morning a week, I try to prepare a big batch of a make-ahead breakfast of some sort. My family gets to enjoy the breakfast that morning and we freeze the leftovers for upcoming weekday mornings. These include muffins, breakfast sandwiches, burritos, waffles, pancakes, and frittatas. Did you know that for the past year The Scramble has been sharing a make-ahead breakfast option as part of the weekly meal plan? Plus, if you sign up or renew now, you’ll also...