Saving Time in the Kitchen: Faster Cleanup

Saving Time in the Kitchen: Faster Cleanup

This is the last in our series on saving time in the kitchen. Since we spend a lot of hours each week developing recipes for our cookbooks and this website, in addition to cooking for our families and guests, we like to save all the time we can in kitchen clean-up. Here are some techniques we’ve adopted over the years.

  • Invest in a big roll of parchment paper. Use it to line cookie sheets and cake pans before baking for easier clean-up afterward.
  • Line baking pans with aluminum foil. When the baking is done, just toss the used foil away, leaving your pan virtually spotless.
  • Be sure to spray casseroles with cooking spray so there’s no encrusted mess left when the casserole is emptied.
  • Use a self-sealing plastic bag when marinating foods. Not only is your container disposable, it actually does a better job of distributing the marinade around the food.
  • Self-sealing plastic bags are also great disposable containers for leftovers.
  • Clean-up as you cook; the longer the food sits in food processors, blenders, bowls, pots and pan, and utensils, the harder they will be to clean. Start them soaking with hot, sudsy water immediately until you can get around to loading them into the dishwasher or washing them and allowing them to drain dry.
  • Also keep the stovetop clean as you cook – wiping up any splashes or spills as they occur.
  • When you put silverware in the dishwasher, keep all of the spoons together, as well as the forks and knives, etc. That way when you’re emptying the dishwasher, the silverware’s already sorted for quick put away.
  • Use a spoon holder or a small plate near the stove when you’re cooking to keep your messy stirring spoons, spatulas, etc. off the counter top.
  • When cooking something on the stove that might boil over, keep a large balloon whisk nearby to release the bubbles and lower the temperature of the overflowing liquid.
  • When you’re pounding meat or chicken or rolling out pie or cookie dough, do so between two layers of plastic wrap to keep your work surface clean.
  • Need to freshen your coffee or spice grinder? Grind a small amount of white rice until no odor remains.