Dedicate a food workspace.

While this may sound trivial, mentally and physically setting aside an area of counter-top to prep your foods before you cook is critical to make cooking less of a hassle. Just as if you’d want all your lawn & garden tools in one place or your office supplies organized on your desk at work, the same applies in the kitchen. Here are some handy tips:

  1. Select a spot close to the stove so that whatever you prepare or chop can go right in the pan/oven. To get real fancy, Google “kitchen triangle” – a layout known by cooks for decades as the optimal positioning of the fridge, stove, and sink.
  2. Keep your knives, cutting boards, spices and trash can within arm’s reach of your work space. You create a lot of trash while cooking (wrapping, containers, peels, rough cuts of meat), so a handy trash can saves a LOT of time and effort in clean up.
  3. Make sure your area is well lit. Good lighting not only helps you measure better but visually brings your ingredients and food to life. You can pick up a plug-in undermount kitchen work light from Home Depot for under $30 that is easy to install.

Remember – try not to clutter up this workspace with junk mail or family stuff. When you launch into your cooking tasks, a clean counter is much more inviting and relaxing – not to mention a time saver.