Of all the cooking shows on TV, Rachel Ray 30 Minute Meals is one that I love to watch. It is so practical! She gives so many great tips and for some reason, her tips actually stick in my brain and I use them!
Here are 4 tips of hers that I use everyday, that have changed my life. Dramatic, I know. But true! Eating a plant based diet does mean time in the kitchen, and lots of chopping of fruits and vegetables, but this does not have to be a tedious task if you have the right tools! I personally find being in the kitchen is quite cathartic as long as I have a clean kitchen, efficient tools, and a good work space.
My time in the kitchen is so much more enjoyable and efficient because of these four tips:
1. Use a Large Cutting Board — Rachel Ray’s entire counter top is a cutting board. Lucky her! I keep my 24×18 inch wooden cutting board out on the counter at all times. I love having the room to chop many veggies at a time, and being able to push each pile over with my knife towards the back of the board. There is nothing worse than a small, nasty, plastic cutting board where everything runs off and messes up the counter & floor!
I use one side of my cutting board for fruits and sweets. I use the other side of it for vegetables & strong, savory items like garlic and onions.
We rarely eat meat anymore, but if we do, I use a small plastic cutting board for that.
You have seen it in many of my photos as I use the natural light from my kitchen window and the neutral background of the board to take many of my recipe photos. Handy!
2. A Waste Bowl — our trash can is kept in the pantry, which is a few steps away from my cooking area and has sliding doors that need opened every time I need to throw something away. When I am cooking, I make sure I take out my handy dandy waste bowl. It saves me all those steps to my trash can & having to open and close the doors each time. It makes a huge difference in my cooking time. It also makes separating out plastic or cans for recycling or veggie scraps for composting quite easy. When meal prep is done, I quick grab the bowl, separate out what is really trash and what can be reused. So efficient, convenient, and easy. I have Rachel Rays rubber bottomed waste bowl. It stays right where you need it. I have the blue one, but the orange one is super fun, too!
3. One Main Knife--Rachel Ray does 90% of her slicing and dicing with one main knife. I love the simplicity of this. You really don’t need an entire knife block taking up precious space on the counter. I have one main large knife, a small paring knife, and a serrated bread knife. That is it. 3 knifes, kept in a drawer, one used the majority of the time. Simple!
4. Bench Scrape Shovel–I feel totally professional when my oil is heated in my pan, I have chopped my garlic and onion on my cutting board using my knife, and I use this awesome bench scrap shovel to scoop my cuttings from the board to the pan. I love the sizzle sound and the immediate scent of vegetables sauteing. This shovel might seem like a tool that you don’t need, but I make room for it in my tiny kitchen due to the convenience of scooping up what I have chopped in one swipe. It keeps my floor free from dropped pieces of onion, which used to happen when I would try to transfer my cuttings using just a knife and my hands. This bench scrape shovel is a must have in my opinion.
Got any great time-saving, space-saving kitchen tips for me?
Chris K in WisconsinFebruary 20, 2014 at 7:07 pm
Garbage Bowl….. best idea ever! I have the orange one and use it all day. Our garbage is in the pantry, too. This makes it so easy and I can keep ahead of the mess better, too. Seriously, such a good idea. Even my husband bought into the idea and uses it!
Amy BowmanFebruary 20, 2014 at 7:55 pm
I know! Who would think it would make things so much easier? One of my fav kitchen tips. Sounds like you have a husband who cooks. Lucky!!
Mim WilliamsFebruary 19, 2014 at 8:33 pm
Tips for cleaning said wood cutting board?
Jan LipiFebruary 20, 2014 at 11:02 am
Yes, same question here! I use 3 of the 4 tips … do not use a bench scrapper but thinking I need to add that to my wishlist 🙂 As much as that lady’s laugh annoys me, I still get sucked in to watching her shows … not enjoyably but theres always something to be learned (tip wise!)
Amy BowmanFebruary 20, 2014 at 7:54 pm
Ha, the laugh…yes, it is quite distinct! I keep cutting board care pretty simple. I never use it for meat so I don’t worry about disinfecting it. I use a vinegar water spray. I also have used a cut lemon sprinkled with salt as a nice abrasive scrub and a way to get onion/garlic smell to go away. I know many people oil their boards…I never have.