I’ve been under the assumption that people are already onto helpful hints for the kitchen and prepping for grocery shopping but have realized recently that many a food blogger still provide tips that I take for granted. I thought that some of these ideas were widely known but maybe not. Maybe the majority of people aren’t that organized in that area of their life, fine by me, but I know that some of these tips can change the amount of planning when it comes to meals.
Things like getting one of those notepads with magnets on the back to place on the fridge door. Target had them for $1 in their dollar area last year and stationery area but those cost more. Have you noticed that you can find the same items in different, multiple areas of most stores and the prices can be dramatically different? That bothers me.
Anyway, the notepads come in very handy when you run out of something or think of an item you want to try, keep it on the fridge and jot it down. I put food on the left and hygiene/other inedible items on the right side. If we need ice or stamps, it goes at the tiptop and circled. (If I’m looking for particular cookware or something for my pictures that goes on the right or bottom.)
Frozen items get a triangle beside them, fresh fruit and vegetables/deli get a star and I try to order it by the flow of the store we’re going to that weekend or at least in similar categories. Now that I’m typing this out, I think I sound anal but it works. To go a step further, I don’t keep pens in the kitchen-office only-I get a clip magnet and place a pen in its grasp and attach it near the notepad. Easy.
I also have a folder on my baker’s rack (I need it for extra storage) that I keep recipes I’d like to make in the near future. You can get as picky about it as me and separate the two sides by which week you’d like to try it. ‘Next week’ on the right and ‘near future’ (beyond next week) on the left.
I also store rice, pasta, sugar, flour and other items in large, glass jars with airtight lids so that I can continue to buy and store these products when they might be on sale. Make sure you get exactly the same kind of ingredient or you could have what I did a few months ago on your hands…short grain and long grain rice together (not that!)…they cook in different ways, times and with different amounts of water normally. Oops.
I prep my vegetables and herbs for quick use when I get home from the store. If I need pizza dough, I make extra and freeze several that can last months, same with marinara or pizza sauce. What are your tips?
My pizza kick continues. I took a look in the fridge and noticed thawed pizza dough, a lonely jar of cilantro chutney, a hunk of mozzarella, and a few tomatoes. Combining these things sounded great. I was right. Greg loved it, I can’t wait to make it again and maybe add some tandoori chicken. You can use store-bought cilantro chutney (might say coriander chutney in the specialty aisle and I like the heat in the Swad brand) and leftover chicken or roast and shred your own-yum! I will provide a cilantro chutney recipe that I like if you wish to make it yourself.
Cilantro Chutney Pizza
Makes 8 slices
pizza dough (recipe below-makes 2 crusts)
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella
1 ½ cups cilantro chutney (recipe below)
1 large tomato, sliced
shredded, cooked chicken-optional (tandoori would be great)
Preheat the oven to 400. I used a pizza stone but you can use a baking sheet. If you are using a pizza stone, give it ample time to heat up and be careful because that thing will be very hot. I think at least 30 minutes in the 400 degree oven will suffice but an hour is even better.
Sprinkle, if using a baking sheet, the bottom of the sheet with cornmeal and roll out the dough into an oval or shape of your choice. I don’t have a pizza peel so I removed the very hot stone carefully and added cornmeal to the bottom of the dough, placed it on the stone and quickly added the toppings. If you have a peel, construct the pizza on that and throw it onto the stone in the oven to make it easier. If using the sheet, just construct it on top of that and place it in the oven. Top the dough with the chutney, optional chicken, shredded cheese and tomatoes. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is browned.
Cilantro Chutney from Gourmet
Makes 1 ½ cups
1 cup fresh cilantro (or more to your taste)
6 scallions, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 to 2 tsp finely chopped small hot green chile, such as serrano or Thai, including some seeds
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/3 cup fresh lime juice or lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil (or canola)
Purée all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. If you prefer a thinner sauce, add more lime or lemon juice.
Pizza Dough from Martha Stewart
Makes 2 crusts or two 1 lb. balls
1 ½ cups warm water
2 packets (1/4 oz. each) active dry yeast
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
4 cups all purpose flour
Place the water in a large bowl, sprinkle with the yeast and let stand until foamy. (About 5 minutes.) Brush another large bowl with oil lightly.
Whisk the sugar, oil and salt into the yeast mixture, stir in flour with a wooden spoon until sticky dough forms. Transfer to the oiled bowl, brush the top with oil, cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place for about an hour, until it doubles in size.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead with floured hands until smooth, about 15 seconds. Divide into 2 balls. Freeze in plastic wrap separately until firm (about an hour). Thaw in the fridge overnight to use the following day or freeze up to 3 months. Sprinkle the dough with cornmeal once it’s thawed for a great crunch.