An organized kitchen is one of the most effective ways to save time and money, two things that I don’t have a lot of to spare. I’ve found that one of the easiest ways to stay organized is to keep an ‘essentials list’ – non perishable or frequently used ingredients that are staples in most of my meals.
I don’t necessarily like to cook, but I love serving my family by making dinner (almost) nightly. I have 3 jobs, volunteer in the community, and enjoy a variety of activities, so I don’t have much time for kitchen duties. Knowing the ingredients that I have on hand, and making sure those items are stocked, are keys to maintaining balance in my busy life.
Here is an example of my essentials list.* I reference the list to save time when meal planning for the week. When I’m in a pinch, I can throw together a one pan meal like this delicious and easy Turkey Taco Quinoa Skillet from Spoonful of Flavor. I save money by substituting similar ingredients in recipes. (For the aforementioned skillet dinner from Spoonful of Flavor, I used chicken instead of turkey and eliminated the corn. No trip to the grocery store needed.)
You’ll notice that I don’t use a lot of canned goods. That is just personal preference. I try to use fresh veggies whenever possible. (Plus the smell of a just opened can makes me gag.) I also make my own chicken broth but have an emergency stash on hand just in case. If you are looking for a homemade broth recipe, head over to Kimberly A. Vogel, where she shares the benefits of making her own chicken bone broth.
*Disclaimer. This is NOT a gluten-free, lactose-free, soy-free, allergy sensitive list. This list is intended to be shared as a guideline to encourage others. I am not a nutritionist nor a chef. I am a busy mom and I do the best that I can with the time and energy that I have left at the end of the day.