I like to be organised, (although I don’t take it as far as some people!). It doesn’t come as naturally to me as others, but one place that it really does pay to be on top of things even if you’re not naturally organised by nature is in the kitchen.
The way that it pays is that once your kitchen is organised and store cupboards stocked, its amazing how much money you can save!
Read on for my top tips to getting organised in the kitchen!
Keep your cupboards stocked with your staples
First, work out what non-perishable staples you need to be able to make a range of meals quickly and easily. There are certain things that everyone should have, like olive oil, chilli flakes, garlic puree and an array of herbs and spices.
My essentials include jars of tomato pasta sauce, tinned tuna and anchovies, tinned sweetcorn, risotto rice, dried pasta, tortilla wraps (and of course baking supplies too!). As an almost-veggie, I also keep lots of canned pulses and beans on hand, such as kidney beans, chickpeas and butter beans. Once you have your staples on hand, its easy to supplement them with whatever fresh veggies, meat or cheese you have on hand to make meals. Of course, there are always certain things I make sure I always have in the house, like red onions or cheddar cheese, as I use them in a lot of my cooking, but even if my house was almost completely bare of food, I would still be able to put together a meal.
I like to store lots of my staples in kilner jars that I store on my kitchen counter. I keep mixed nuts, cornmeal, sugar, muesli, oats, tea bags, flour and risotto rice in mine (the things that I use most often).
The number one tip to help save money is to make lists. I keep a memo board in my kitchen so that when something is running low I add it to the list and then snap a picture of the list with my iphone before I go to the supermarket.
Another good tip is to plan your meals – you don’t have to have anything more than a loose idea in your head, but knowing what you’re going to have for dinner each night makes it much easier to be prepared and have the right ingredients on hand.
Make ahead and freeze
Depending on the size of your freezer, making meals ahead and freezing them is great. Lots of people make a stash of frozen meals when they’re pregnant so that when their baby arrives they don’t have to worry about cooking too. Even if you’re not expecting, making meals ahead is fantastic for those days when you have zero time or energy to cook. And you don’t even have to be superwoman to do it – there are often times when we accidentally cook too much of a meal – just pop that into a freezer bag and label it and then put it into the freezer. You can even freeze cookie dough (unbaked) and cakes and muffins (once baked) – just wrap securely in tin foil first.