Tag Archives: messy

8 Tips for Avoiding a Messy Kitchen When Cooking

There are two inevitabilities that come with cooking: good food and a mess to clean up. For every baking project, every dinner party, even every one-pot meal made for you and you alone, there are also splatters and spills and stray ingredients in strange corners of your stove. Sure, it would be nice if the rule of “whoever doesn’t cook is on dish duty” solved everything, but simply washing pots and pans never really cuts it.

Take, for example, BA’s Best Baked Ziti, a dish that is worth every bite but is also cause for some disorder. Here are some tips to help tackle the post-cooking mess.

Wash dirty linens immediately

Yes, you should wear an apron, but aprons still need to be cleaned. Regardless of whether or not you covered up your crisp white shirt, regardless of whether or not you managed to escape the flying red juices of canned tomatoes, some splatter is unavoidable. The solution is to put those linens into the wash as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to get the stains out.

Clean as you go

Every pro knows that the key to an efficient work station is to clean as you go. There’s nothing worse than a full sink that needs to be addressed after dinner is done and you’re a glass of wine or two deep. Soak that pot that had tomato sauce in it while the pasta water boils, wash that cheese grater while you blend the sauce, and rinse those bowls as soon as you’re done using them.

Pour off excess grease into a jar

Grease is the enemy of cleaning. It just… never seems to come off of any surface. But if you pour the excess into a jar before you move on to scrubbing, you’ll have an easier time. Plus, this saves your sink from clogging because grease is not good for your pipes; it will get stuck down there and eventually cause plumbing trouble.

Soap, water, and elbow grease

You generally don’t need fancy sprays or wipes for surfaces. Soap and water on a sponge—with the help of your strong arms on tougher parts—should work perfectly fine.

Use water and a brush for cast-iron

A cast-iron skillet can be a bit of a beast, and it needs to be taken care of. For this, just use water to rinse and a brush to get off any residual food. Then set the wet skillet over a low flame to make sure it fully dries.

Get into the nooks and crannies of your stove

For a gas range stove, use a brush to clean the top grates. Then lift them up and off and use a sudsy cloth to wipe the part underneath. For an induction stove where the whole surface is smooth, you’re good to go with just the sudsy cloth.

Use a sheet tray as a catch-all

The oven is an often-overlooked part of kitchen cleaning. The food that falls down to the bottom tends to be forgotten about. One way to avoid that is to place a sheet tray on the rack underneath whatever you’re baking. In the case of baked ziti, it will catch anything that boils over.

Save water by using a dry brush to clean dishes

When loading up the dishwasher, it’s important to get the caked-on food off beforehand, otherwise your dishes won’t get properly clean. But it wastes a lot of water to rinse them and then run the machine. So instead, try wiping off the leftover bits and pieces with a dry brush. It works perfectly well and is better for the environment. That’s what we call a win, win.

The Simplehuman Dish Rack Makes Your Life Look Less Messy Than It Really Is

It’s Get Organized week! Over the next few days, we’ll be highlighting the products and methods we use in, out, and around the kitchen to get our lives together.

The first question people ask me when they walk into my kitchen is, “Where did you get that dish rack?” It is definitely the biggest thing in my kitchen, but no matter how many dishes are piled inside of it, my simplehuman dish rack looks neatly organized like it’s part of a stock photoshoot. Plates and bowls are shingled in their designated spaces along the back, frying pans line up in the middle, glasses and mugs hang securely off the side, and sharp knives stay handle-side up in wooden slots. And even with all of that, there’s still room for items like a mandoline, clean leftover storage containers, and a cutting board without hitting capacity.

For most of my adult life, I had the standard, cheap plastic dish drying rack that I had to replace at least once a year because it got mildewy, moldy, or cracked in half. Then a few years ago, I decided to splurge on the simplehuman dish rack I eyed at Bed Bath & Beyond at least six times before committing. It was stainless steel and shining in the aisle, and since I hand wash all of my dishes (dishwashers are unicorns in budget-friendly New York City apartments) I needed space to dry them all. I bought the $80 dish rack with a 20 percent off coupon, registered it for its five-year warranty, and have zero regrets.

But even if you have a dishwasher, I highly recommend getting this larger rack (19.8″W x 17.7″L x 13.3″H), because you’ll inevitably have to hand-wash things like your Dutch oven, fragile ceramics, and wine glasses. It’s literally thought of everything: The drip tray is expandable and can slide to the left or the right of the rack. There’s a swivel spout that looks like a water slide so you can aim residual water right into the sink (you can put the rack on either side of the sink this way). The wine glass rack can hang even XXL wine glasses upside down by the base of the stem. Oh, and there’s an anti-residue coating on the plastic tray so water spreads and dries more quickly, making sure there’s no gnarly build-up or weird smells coming from your rack. To be honest, I haven’t cleaned it in the nearly two years that I’ve owned it… and it looks almost as good as new. I wipe the outside down when I clean, but it has a fingerprint-proof, rust-proof finish so I don’t have to do much.

As anyone whose come to my house and casually mentioned the piece now well knows, this is the Cadillac of dish racks. But if you think it’s too big for your kitchen, simplehuman also makes a compact version (11.9″W x 15″L x 8.9″H) that is slightly smaller and $30 cheaper, but I say go big or go home. It’s an investment in the illusion that you have your life together, and impressing people is priceless.

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