We were recently asked by Redfin to provide our best-kept kitchen secret! With their permission, we have posted the article here on Veggie Buds Blog- scroll down to find our contribution* plus many more great kitchen tips!
*hint- it may have something to do with our favorite kid-safe knives.
The kitchen is the heartbeat of the home. We don’t just prepare meals in our kitchens – we host our friends, bond over family discussions, nourish our bodies, and much more. As such, you want your space to be vibrant, functional, and organized. But how exactly do you go about creating such a kitchen and what kind of items and tools should you have to complete it?
To help you get started, we rounded up some of the top kitchen hacks straight from the professionals themselves. Chefs and food experts from Dallas, TX to Philadelphia, PA shared their top organizing and cleaning secrets; their most-loved kitchen tools; and game-changing kitchen tips and tricks. Check out their best advice and let’s get cooking!
Tips for a clean and organized kitchen
Don’t buy sets. Just buy (or keep) what you actually use. I need three knives, not a set of 20. A few years ago, I realized I was using the same big pot to cook nearly everything, so I donated almost all the others and haven’t missed them since. – Worthy Pause
Organize your spices in clear containers. Then place them on a tiered shelf so that you can see them all clearly. Use a label maker or tape that you can write on to make matching labels. This will help you use spices before they go stale, and it might make you more excited to try new recipes. – My Marin Kitchen
Less is more. As tempting as it is to fill your kitchen with multiple pots and pans, tiled ceramic rolling pins, and as-seen-on-TV kitchen gadgets, they will create chaos during meal prep. Tools to keep in your arsenal are: one non-stick skillet, one stainless steel sauté pan, an 8-quart dutch oven, a chef’s knife, a paring knife, wooden spoons, tongs, a Y peeler, and a large non-slip cutting board. – Hangry District
Clean as you go. By the time you’re done cooking, you’ll have a beautifully prepared meal without the hassle of cleaning a huge mess. That means there’s more time for relaxing and enjoying your food. – A Girl Called Adri
Keep organizing tools close by. My top kitchen hack is that I always have a sharpie, a pair of regular scissors, and a roll of scotch tape in one of my kitchen drawers. If I need to label something going into the freezer or quickly snip off the corner of a bag, I have the tools right there. Having a roll of tape in the drawer also means I can close a bag quickly and don’t have to worry about finding a clip for it. Bonus, the tape takes much less space. – My Imperfect Kitchen
Clean out your fridge before grocery shopping. This way you can see what needs to be used up before it goes bad and meal plan accordingly to avoid food waste. If something is expired toss it in your green bin. Wipe down your fridge so it’s nice and clean before you come home with new groceries, organize foods by type with the foods you consume the most front and center. Having a clean organized fridge ensures you can see all of your fresh new ingredients and avoids unappetizing fridge smells from expired food. It can help to reduce food waste when you can easily see what is available, it also allows you to use up or repurpose leftovers and use up ingredients that might expire soon. – Pam Rocca
Utilize small containers. Keeping an organized kitchen with kids can seem impossible but utilizing small containers to store things like kids’ cups, reusable snack bags, and kids’ utensils can make a huge difference. We even use small containers in the fridge to keep reusable bags of prepared fruits or veggies ready to go for the kids. The best part is they know exactly where their stuff is, making it easy for them to grab snacks or drinks and make a minimal mess. – Realistic Plant-Based Mama
Use clear jam jars with a simple two-lid system. I have seven different sizes of jars that hold from ½ cup up to 4 cups, yet I can easily find a lid that fits and I can see what’s in the jar at a glance. In my kitchen, I use them to hold spices and dry ingredients, salads for a lunch bag, desserts for a picnic, and much more. – Everyday Gluten Free Gourmet
The experts’ most-loved kitchen tools
High-speed blender. Blenders are so versatile – we have a few for both at-home use and also for professional use with our handcrafted sauces. You can use blenders for juicing, making smoothies, and speeding up the cooking process – the settings allow us to easily chop, grate, liquify, and blend fruits and vegetables as needed. – Camella’s Kitchen
The kitchen tool I can absolutely not live without is my high-speed blender. Not only is it an efficient time saver but it also helps keep my space cleaner and allows for less cleanup. – FoodByMaria
Multi-cooker. If you love to cook, like me, then you know how important it is to have a range of small kitchen appliances. But, eventually, they take up all your counter-space, making the entire room look cluttered. That’s why I can’t live without my multi-cooker, which allows me to have the functionality of a slow-cooker, pressure cooker, air fryer, and steamer all-in-one. – Dr. Davinah’s Eats
Toaster oven. I replaced our traditional toaster with a toaster oven because it heats up and roasts vegetables so quickly. By doing so I’ve been eating double the amount of veggies I used to eat. I don’t have to heat up the entire house and I get perfectly roasted veggies every single time. – Health Beet
Chef’s knife. As a severe food allergy mom, I’m in the kitchen cooking allergy-safe meals for my family a lot. Which is why I couldn’t live without a quality chef’s knife. It saves me because it makes all that chopping quick and easy. – Friendly Pantry
Hand mixer. Use your hand mixer to blend up natural and organic nut butters. Put one beater in and keep it on the lowest setting. Be sure to hold the jar tight while you mix it to creamy perfection. – Sailor Bailey
Food processor. I’m all about finding ways to make healthy eating easy and convenient, which is why I couldn’t live without my food processor. While the S-blade is great for chopping onions and spinach, the shredding blade makes shredding vegetables for slaws and veggie burgers a breeze! I also use my food processor to make bread crumbs out of old bread or oats, to pulse dates and nuts into homemade granola bars, and to puree sauces and dips. – Kelli McGrane, MS, RD, of TheHealthyToast.
Cookie Scoops. We didn’t realize what we were missing out on until we bought a set. We use them to make Keto Fat Bombs, fill cupcakes, make the perfect sized dinner rolls… and cookies of course! Now baking and cleanup is a breeze. – Simple. Fun. Keto!
Food-saver. Our best kitchen hack is our food-saver. We use it to vacuum seal all of our meats and cheeses so that they last longer. It also allows us to easily portion, stack, and organize meat in our freezer. This is important because we are always short on space. Not sold on it yet? You can also reseal bags of chips and snacks to keep them from going stale. – Cooking with Janica
Lodge cast-iron skillet. Of all my pots and pans, my simple Lodge cast-iron skillet gets the most use. I love the way it distributes heat and is great for searing and sauteing vegetables and animal proteins. Plus, cast iron skillets add a source of elemental iron to your diet if you’re deficient. – Carly’s Wellness Kitchen
The Instant Pot. This is my not-so-secret magic tool for making my paleo gut-healing diet sustainable. Every week I will pressure cook a whole chicken (in just 30 minutes.). Then I strip the meat for lunches throughout the week. After that, I can throw the bones back in and make a gut-healing batch of bone broth for the week in less than 3 hours. I also use it for making homemade coconut yogurt, and even some paleo cakes. It’s well worth the investment. – The Realistic Holistic
Dutch oven. My favorite kitchen hack is my Dutch oven because I can use it to cook just about anything. From sautéing garlic and onions for a delicious curry or soup, to deep-frying vegetables and proteins, to cooking up a hearty stew, roast, or casserole in the oven, this amazing cast iron vessel simplifies my kitchen by reducing the amount of cookware I need to get the job done. – Diet Assassinista
A Microplane. With a Microplane, you can zest citrus to make food taste better, make fresh ginger tea by grating into a tea strainer and adding hot water, add garlic directly into meals, and add fresh whole spices while cooking like cinnamon and nutmeg. – Balance By Molly
Game-changing kitchen hacks
Before you begin to cook, pause, and breathe deep. Let love in on the inhale and exhale the stress of the day. Settle into calm within. You now will cook from a place of calm and let love extend to the meal you make. - Whole & Healthy Kitchen
Cook without an exact plan. To do so, I always need to have a few things always on hand to make sure I can prep and have a healthy dinner ready on the fly. I always keep rice, quinoa, quinoa pasta, tofu, and Fody dressings and sauces on hand, as well as my favorite fresh veggies and potatoes to whip up roasted veggies, pasta dishes, and stir fry whenever I need them. - Dairy-Free State
Turn to frozen, canned, or pre-washed and chopped foods. One of my favorite kitchen hacks is turning to frozen, canned, and pre-washed/pre-chopped foods when I don’t have time to start from scratch. It is easy to make a delicious meal in a pinch when you have certain pantry and freezer items on hand. One of my favorite dishes is a chipotle style salad using black beans from the can, defrosted roasted corn, pre-washed/chopped lettuce, and salsa from the jar. - Well is More
Have a countertop fruit bowl. Fill it with seasonal produce and stock up on citrus. It’s amazing what some fresh lemon or lime juice can do to a meal (lemon on fish, lime crema for tacos, lemon based salad dressing). Place it at your kitchen entrance for a colorful reminder to get your fruit in. Because it’s a lot easier to grab a pear that’s in plain sight rather than one that’s hidden in a closed drawer. Especially when you have to bypass 5 less optimal options to get there. - Kelly E. Powers
Rethink your olive oil bottle. Instead of reaching for a big bottle of olive oil while cooking, I store mine in a clear squeeze bottle, much like the one used for ketchup or mustard at diners. Whether I’m making a simple vinaigrette, greasing the bottom of a baking sheet for baked falafel, or coating veggies to be roasted, the squeeze bottle allows me to easily control how much olive oil I’m using. You can also use squeeze bottles for vinegar, honey, maple syrup, etc. Labeling the bottles also makes your kitchen look nicely organized. - The Vivid Kitchen
Have a pantry full of healthy staples at all times. In between grocery trips, I rely on healthy non-perishables and shelf-stable foods to stretch my fresh foods. Contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of healthy foods available in those middle aisles of your grocery store. The old advice to only “shop the perimeter” of the store is misleading - you just have to know which pantry foods are healthy and worth stocking up on. Here are a few foods that are great to always have on hand: dried beans and lentils; canned no-salt-added beans; whole grains (brown rice, barley, etc.); chickpea pasta; rolled and/or steel-cut oats. - Health Chef Julia
Freeze your fresh mozzarella. There's nothing like using fresh mozzarella or pizza or lasagna, it's a must for a quality outcome. Having trouble grating that block of cheese? Freezing it for 15 minutes will make the grating process so much easier. - Dani Made Kitchen
Stock your pantry with beans. My pantry is always stocked with a variety of beans both canned and dried. They are packed with protein and fiber beans will keep you full and satisfied. Beans are an easy addition to salads, soups, pasta, and a must for chili. - DairyFreeGina
Start your day with a healthy smoothie. My ultimate health and kitchen hack is to use a blender for my Lean Green Plant-based Protein Smoothie. I start almost every morning by blending up tropical fruits, greens, and superfoods that make eating healthy taste amazing. It’s literally like a multivitamin and a salad in a glass. - Eat Move Rest
Have your children help out. Our number one recommendation for cooking with your children is to provide them with their own set of cooking tools such as a child-safe knife (we recommend the First Knife by Foost). My children request their "kid knife" every time we cook together - it really gets them excited about cooking with you, helps develop their fine motor skills, and gets them interacting with healthy ingredients. - Veggie Buds Blog
Keep a "spinach" towel in your kitchen. Do you get frustrated when using spinach in a recipe and it gets soggy and watery? Here's a great tip for you: wring your cooked (or frozen-thawed) spinach in a dishtowel. This easily eliminates the excess water and leaves you with spinach perfect for making lasagnas, spinach dip, and more. A thinner tea towel works best for this. It will stain your towel green, so make sure you're using a towel you don't mind getting dirty. - Alternative Dish
Originally published by Redfin