When you’re dining in instead of eating out, cleanup can feel like a hassle. Try cleaning while you cook to make cooking at home more enjoyable!
Eating at home saves money and can help you reduce food waste by avoiding those oversized restaurant portions. For a lot of the folks I know, one of the big benefits to eating out isn’t that someone else does the cooking but that someone else is responsible for cleanup. Cleaning the kitchen after a nice meal can be a drag, and cleaning while you cook can really take the edge off of this task.
I know, cleaning is pretty un-fun no matter when it happens, but when you clean while you’re cooking, at least you don’t have a sink full of dirty dishes looming over you while you eat supper. The whole idea of cleaning while you cook has always been second nature to me. My Nani Dorothy taught me to do this, and she was one of my formative cooking influences. Like his mom, my dad was also a clean-while-cooking fan, so this routine has kind of been passed down through my family.
It’s not until I cook with friends or my husband makes something for supper that I remember that not everyone has this habit, and it’s hard to watch those dishes pile up in the sink as the meal progresses!
Related Reading: 10 Ways to Reduce Food Waste at Home
There are a couple of benefits to cleaning up as you go:
1. The dishes are done, man! You can sit down to your meal and not worry about loading anything into the dishwasher that’s not on the table. With less to do after the meal, you can relax and enjoy what you made.
2. It’s easier to clean now. As those dishes sit, food gets dried and stuck to them. If you wipe them down now, you won’t have so much scrubbing to do later on.
Cleaning While You Cook: Tips!
If you’re new to this habit, it takes some getting used to, so I’ll share a few simple tips that help me get the dishes in order while preparing a meal.
1. Start with an empty dishwasher. Before you chop an onion or pull out that bag of quinoa, make sure you’re starting with a tidy kitchen. It’s much easier to clean as you go if you’re not dealing with last night’s dishes or this morning’s coffee mugs on top of the dishes you’re dirtying now. If you don’t have a dishwasher, then clear out that drying rack.
2. Look for down time. Does that sauce need occasional stirring? Are you waiting for the oven to preheat before putting in the lasagne pan? This is the perfect chance to clean a little bit! Load the dishwasher with a few things, hand wash one of your mixing bowls, or put away ingredients that you’re done with: it all adds up to a cleaner kitchen when supper is ready!
3. If you can’t wash, soak! It is so much easier to clean a pot if you don’t let food get dry and stuck to it. If your recipe doesn’t have a ton of down time, put soapy water into the pots and pans that will need hand-washing later. It will make washing go by in a flash!
The whole idea behind cleaning while you cook is to save time, so dining in is more enjoyable. Even if you can’t get to every dish, it’s worth tidying up a bit, so you have less to face when the meal is done. What do you guys do to make eating at home more fun?