Turkey, Cranberry and Cream Cheese Pinwheels

Up your finger food and party appetizer game with this super easy pinwheels! Just three ingredients and a few minutes to make, these are a crowd-pleaser.

The best part about a holiday party? The food! These turkey cranberry pinwheels are the perfect easy finger food for holiday parties.

If you’re looking for something simple to throw together, this is it.

It’s also a great lunch, kids think it’s awesome, and look at that gorgeous shade of red from the cranberry sauce.

Doesn’t that just scream festive!?

Other reasons to love this adorable, easy finger food option:

  • They’re no-bake.
  • They can be transported easily from your house to someone else’s, making them a great potluck option.
  • They’re super easy for kids to help with. That’s whether you need their assistance or just need to keep little hands busy for a while. (because yeah, I’ve been there).
  • You can use leftover Thanksgiving ingredients to make them (no extra shopping trips!)

If you’ve got Thanksgiving leftovers, they can really shine in these turkey pinwheels.

Did you know cranberry sauce freezes fantastically?

If you’ve got a lot left over after Thanksgiving, pop it in the freezer and pull it out to serve these pinwheels at a New Year’s Eve party!

The flavors in these pinwheels can be played around with as well. If cranberry’s not your jam, pesto makes a great substitute.

I’ll often make turkey rollups for my kids’ lunchboxes by rolling up pesto and cream cheese in a slice of turkey. It jazzes up the normal turkey lunchtime routine and by rolling it makes it easier for little fingers to grab!

 

Turkey, Cranberry and Cream Cheese Pinwheels
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 

makes about 7-8 pinwheels

Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
  • 4 slices deli-style turkey breast
  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 3 tablespoons cranberry sauce
Instructions
  1. Arrange the turkey slices side by side on a flat surface and in a straight line, overlapping by about 1-2" each.
  2. Spread the cream cheese on the turkey slices evenly, spreading right up to the edge of the slices
  3. Spread the cranberry sauce on top of the cream cheese in an even layer
  4. Starting from the bottom (widest part), slowly and tightly roll the slices up into a log.
  5. Slice into rolls and serve

How to Survive Cooking Your First Thanksgiving In 6 Important Steps

Thanksgiving Survival Guide | Percolate Kitchen (click to read the full post!)

Cooking your first Thanksgiving can be nervewracking. It’s a big day with SO MUCH pressure, it can feel overwhelming!

So you’re the person in charge of Thanksgiving dinner this year. Lucky you!

Except…. not. There are so many moving parts to Thanksgiving, how can you keep track of them all!?

Maybe you’re freaking out about cooking your first Thanksgiving because you’ve never cooked for these many people before?

Or, last year you cooked and it was a disaster. Cold turkey, chewy mashed potatoes (how!?), and a dinner that finally got on the table 3 hours after you meant it to.

 

Or, your mom/grandma/aunt/uncle has always cooked an AWESOME dinner but they’re not able to this year, and the pressure is on!

Or, your kitchen is teeny tiny and you have zero space for a normal week’s groceries and gadgets, let alone the amount you’ll need for MORE.  

Fear not, my busy friend. I’ve been there, I’ve burned the mashed potatoes, and I lived to tell the tale.

You will, too!

But before that, here are 6 steps I learned from the ground up that can help you survive cooking your first Thanksgiving, whether you’re new to the game or just plain freaking overwhelmed.

Before we get into the 6 steps, download your copy of the Thanksgiving Game Plan! I’ve got a FREE packet for you, with 2 cheat sheets and a checklist for your Thanksgiving prep. Leave your name and email down below and I’ll send it to you!

6 STEPS TO CONQUERING THANKSGIVING DINNER

STEP ONE: WRITE IT ALL DOWN

This is the first, and possibly the most crucial step of the whole process of Thanksgiving dinner: get it all out on paper.

Start with an enormous list; include every single thing you’ll need to remember. Just get it all out, then work backward from there, breaking the list into smaller parts.

Write your whole guest list first.

As you’re figuring out the guest list, now is the time- before you decide on the menu- to find out who’s got allergies, who’s vegan, who’s able to bring their famous pumpkin pie along, etc.

Don’t forget the kids!

For example, do you have an uncle who likes to pour gravy all over everything, even his salad? Make a quick note of that on your guest list, so you don’t forget when you’re writing out your menu.

Then, write your entire menu.

This is the fun part! Keeping those with dietary restrictions in mind, figure out the recipes you’ll be making for the big day.

Cruise Pinterest, magazines, blogs, Google, ask your friends and family on Facebook for recipe recommendations. Keep it simple, but have fun!

If a recipe is super new to you, try to fit in a ‘practice’ run in the week or so before Thanksgiving. Being familiar with a recipe helps to take the edge off the stress of cooking on the day of.

Another important tenet of writing out your menu is deciding on what you can make ahead of time and chill or freeze until Thanksgiving Day; I’ll touch on the specifics of that later in the post. But it helps to, as you’re writing out your menu for the day, make a mental note of what can be made ahead to take some of the day-of pressure off.

How do I know what to serve at Thanksgiving dinner?

If you’re drawing a blank on what a typical T-giving day menu includes, no sweat. Here’s what I always make sure to have on the big day:

  • the turkey, turkey seasoning, and stuffing/dressing
  • gravy, made with the turkey drippings and extra gravy made ahead of time with chicken stock
  • mashed potatoes
  • salad
  • 1-2 casseroles/side dishes
  • cranberry sauce
  • bread rolls/biscuits/etc

THAT’S IT. Anything else is extra. Trust me on this one. You do not need to pull out all the stops!

Write a rough timeline

This is where the dirt meets the road, my friends. Once you have the particulars like guest list and menu figured out, your timeline (or ‘game plan’) will be the single most important process of the meal- before you start cooking.

I’d wager to say it’s more important than the actual cooking. With the right game plan, your stress load will be remarkably minimized! 

The trick is to start early. 

No matter how much more time there is between now and Thanksgiving, take a few minutes and write out everything that needs to be done between now and the morning of.

This includes grocery shopping. Turkey ordering. Booze procurement. Make-ahead items. The breakdown of cooking Thanksgiving day itself.

Still feeling overwhelmed? 

I’ve got a great download that will help you – and it’s FREE! Download this ‘Game Plan’ packet that includes three helpful cheat sheets: one to help figure out your overarching gameplan, one to figure out how much food to serve, and a Thanksgiving Day checklist. 

 

STEP TWO: UTILIZE YOUR GUEST LIST

Accept the help!

I get it, I do. It’s hard accepting help. I struggle with it all the time.

But with a dinner like Thanksgiving, it’s okay to lean on people. When someone asks, “what can I bring?” be honest. Tell them!

Here are some suggestions you can ask people to bring
    booze
    desserts
    whipped cream
    ice cream
    serving dishes and spoons
    napkins, cutlery, glasses, tablecloth
    side dishes

In all actuality, everything but the turkey can be brought potluck-style by someone else.

(And technically, the turkey can be brought in from somewhere else, too!)

What about the cleanup?

Don’t forget to figure this out! Try not to make it all on you; you’ll be doing enough that day!

Add extra plastic storage containers, cling film, and ziplock bags to your grocery list so that you store leftovers and send stuff home with guests.

If someone asks how they can help, ask if they’ll chip in with cleaning and storing food after the meal. It’s a cheesy old adage, but it’s true: heavy hands really do make light work!

STEP THREE: FIGURE OUT HOW MUCH FOOD YOU’LL NEED

Check out the image below; I’ve created an easy primer for figuring out how much food you’ll need for each guest. Obviously, you can play around with this; kids will eat less, some adults will eat more.

And don’t forget the leftovers! Turkey sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving is one of my favorite parts of the holiday!

Click the image to enlarge. You can also fill in your email address in the box below the image to download this AND the gameplan primer AND a checklist for the day, all in the one go!

STEP FOUR: CREATE A GAME PLAN

What’s your Thanksgiving game plan?

Think of a football coach in this way; you need to have a full ‘game plan’ mapped out ahead of time. This is what helps you create a clear path to Thanksgiving victory.

The best way to create a ‘Cooking Your First Thanksgiving’ game plan is to start big, then whittle it down to actionable steps.

Here’s what I mean by starting big, then whittling down:

BIG THING: grocery shop

WHITTLED DOWN:

Decide on the items you’re making (don’t include the dishes guests may be bringing).

Write down every single ingredient you’ll need, then check your cupboards and fridges to see what you’ve got and what you can substitute in.

Then, write your grocery list.

Clear your fridge for the onslaught of new items you’ll be bringing home.

Bring your list to the store (aside: Somehow, I manage to forget this every year 🤦 Don’t be like me. Remember your list!)

BIG THING: Cook Thanksgiving dinner

WHITTLED DOWN:

Decide the time you want dinner to be on the table, then work backward from there: How long will the turkey take? That’s when it goes in the oven.

Other questions to help figure out your timing: How long to prep the turkey before it goes in the oven? What items can be cooked beforehand and then reheated for dinner? What can be made in the ~20 minutes while the turkey rests after it’s out of the oven?

Tip: To avoid looking at your now enormous list of clear steps and getting overwhelmed, start with the smallest, easiest things first. Not only will it feel good to cross a handful of things off your list in a short period of time, but it will get the ball rolling in a ‘snowball’ effect; more things done means more momentum for the rest.

Need help organizing your thoughts? Here’s a game plan primer to download!

Click the image to enlarge; OR, leave your name and email below and get this game plan, plus the food amounts cheat sheet I mentioned in the last step and a master checklist.

You can do this!

 

STEP FIVE: WORK THE GAME PLAN

Getting down to business on the day of Thanksgiving

Now comes the real balancing act: cooking (and reheating) everything on the day of Thanksgiving, and getting it all on the table at the same time.

This is the step that I struggled with for years! I would find myself frantically mashing potatoes while everyone else was sitting down to dinner, privately cursing my mismanaged time.

But I’ve gathered a few tips in the meantime that will help you not make some of the same mistakes I did early on! Click the images below to enlarge. You can also pin them to save for later!

STEP SIX: HAVE A PLAN FOR CLEANUP

It’s the least fun part of the day, but don’t forget the post-Thanksgiving dinner cleanup and storage.

Having a rough idea of how this will play out will make it go much smoother and faster. I personally kind of enjoy cleaning up after Thanksgiving, although I’m usually beat after all that cooking. But it’s a nice time to reflect and chat with people on a more casual, one-to-one level.

Plus, when you’re in the kitchen you’re located at the prime advantage point for sneaking another piece of pie or a glass of wine. Score!

When people ask if they can bring something to help, sometimes I’ll tell them not to bring anything but to plan on chipping in to wash dishes.

I also make sure to always clean as I cook, which cuts down on the anxiety-inducing pile of post-dinner casserole dishes.

And lastly, I make double sure that there’s plenty of big ziplock baggies, plastic storage containers, cling film, tin foil, etc to both store food easily and send people home with leftovers.

There you have it; the Six Steps to Cooking Your First Thanksgiving!

If you’re a veteran Thanksgiving cook, or you think I forgot something- I wanna hear about it! Do you have any extra tips and tricks you wish you knew before jumping into cooking a Thanksgiving dinner? Leave a message in the comment section below!

Don’t forget to download my FREE Thanksgiving Game Plan by entering your email in the boxes below. You’ll get access to a gameplan breakdown cheat sheet, a checklist for the big day, and my food amounts cheat sheet. It’s a really helpful little packet!

Still nervous about cooking for the big day? I got your back, busy friend. Click here to buy my whole Thanksgiving meal plan, including recipes, grocery lists, cheat sheets, worksheets, storage and make-ahead ideas, and fully itemized grocery list. It’s insanely helpful and jampacked with info that will save you a TON of time planning, prepping and getting ready for Thanksgiving!

Pick and Choose Chart for Kid’s Packed Lunches

Use these ideas to get your kid's packed lunch ideas flowing! Pick one thing from each section for each lunch packed and be sure your kids cover their food groups and enjoy their lunch at the same time. There's even space to add in your own favorites!

I may be new to the ‘kid’s packed lunch scene’, but it doesn’t mean I’m full of fresh ideas as to what I’m supposed to pack!

“Will she eat this? Is this even healthy? Wait, am I including enough food groups?” Seriously, packing a kids’ lunch shouldn’t be this dang stressful. And yet it’s one of my most dreaded chores.

My kids aren’t school age yet (my son is 1 and my daughter is 3) but three days a week, they go to a babysitter/daycare situation from 9-5, and they bring a packed lunch with them on those days.

I do this so I can actually get, you know, work done.

I send them off (despite working from home) so that I can actually work, instead of, say, losing my mind or temper or plonking them in front of the T.V. for eight straight hours. It’s a win-win for everyone, and they absolutely adore their babysitter.

I make their packed lunches the night before, while I’m cleaning up after dinner but before I put leftovers away. I find that if I try to cram in packed lunch prep in the morning, I usually forget something – plus, it’s way too stressful! We have enough morning time battles to fight, such as trying to brush my daughter’s hair without her running away from me. Ain’t nobody got time to deal with lunch making, too.

Use these ideas to get your kid's packed lunch ideas flowing! Pick one thing from each section for each lunch packed and be sure your kids cover their food groups and enjoy their lunch at the same time. There's even space to add in your own favorites!(click the image to pin straight to Pinterest!)

I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way regarding these packed lunches:

  • Try to only have one food group item at a time (so, say- one piece of fruit, one vegetable, protein, etc)
  • Cheese sticks are my very best friend
  • Those reusable baby food pouches I bought too many of when my daughter was just getting into solids? Those are the perfect vehicle for applesauce.
  • My daughter tends to try more things at the babysitter’s house, so this is prime time to add in things like green beans, roasted broccoli, dried apricots, etc. She lives by the credo, “If it’s from mom, it’s gross. If it’s from the babysitter, I should try it!” So, I totally take advantage of this.
  • Leftovers are my other bff after cheese sticks. The nights before the kids go to the babysitter, I try to cook a dinner that is easily ‘leftover-able”. This saves me time and money, stretching a meal out this way!

Want some great ideas for a simple recipe you can make at home that works fabulously in kids’ packed lunches?

Check out this Facebook Live I did, where I made 15-Minute Peanut Satay Chicken Skewers and Broccoli Pesto Pasta.

Percolate Kitchen on Facebook Live: 2 Easy Back to School Packed Lunch Ideas

( Plus, I share my faaaaavorite reusable food containers, from Kids Konserve. They’re leakproof and practically indestructible! )

But wait! I went one step further, and created this handy little ‘Pick and Choose Packed Lunch’ cheat sheet for you! 🙌

Guys, this takes SO MUCH of the thought process out of planning and packing kid’s lunches. Add in a few extra options that your kid’s like; make it personal to you and your family.

Then, when it’s time to take care of the kid’s packed lunch, just pick one item from each section on the chart. Add it to the lunchbox, zip that sucker up, and toss it in the fridge or backpack.

It could.

Not.

Be.

Easier.

Well, easier if you had like, a maid to do this stuff for you. But you know what I mean.

Anyway, the download’s FREE!! No strings attached, no email to hand over. Just click and save and go about your merry little lunch-packing way.

Enjoy the school year!

Click here for the straight-up pdf version. Or, click the image below to download!

Use these ideas to get your kid's packed lunch ideas flowing! Pick one thing from each section for each lunch packed and be sure your kids cover their food groups and enjoy their lunch at the same time. There's even space to add in your own favorites!

You might also like: 

 How To Cook ‘Family Meal; Just Like a Chef 

3 Reasons Why You Need Better Kitchen Organization

The 5 Minute Meal Plan (Quick Cooking Tips #1)

This is How To Store Your Fall Produce

How do you store your favorite autumn fruits and veggies? Use this handy guide (and free printable!) to help keep your fall produce fresh, tasty, and ready to use!

How do you store your favorite autumn fruits and veggies? Use this handy guide (and free printable!) to help keep your fall produce fresh, tasty, and ready to use! How do you store your favorite autumn fruits and veggies? Use this handy guide (and free printable!) to help keep your fall produce fresh, tasty, and ready to use!

Fall’s bounty of fruits and vegetables is hard to beat, but how can you best store fall produce so it stays fresh and tasty!?

I love buying fruits and vegetables from the farmer’s market in the fall when the air is warm and the breeze is crisp. Wondering how you can store fall produce from the market, so you can enjoy all that autumn-y deliciousness while it’s still fresh? I made a handy guide to help you with just that, showcasing some of the fall’s most popular fruits and veggies!

I’m writing this in July, in the middle of a heat wave, dreaming of fall leaves, pumpkins, and steamy bowls of apple and sausage chili (swoon). Thinking cool thoughts keeps me from melting in the heat!

Another thing I love about fall produce is how it easily lends itself to roasting.

Summer produce is delicious on its own, but squash, pumpkin, brussels sprouts, eggplant… they’re all so much better with a little roast-y caramelization, don’t you think?

I love to toss roasted veggies warm on top of a salad or stirred into pasta. So simple, and then you’ve got a totally deliciously healthy meal with very little hands on time.

Most of all, I love how roasting fall veggies on chilly nights both warms up my kitchen and smells so dang good. Three cheers for double duty! (or would that be two cheers? hmm…) 

Why just these veggies and not others? Blame fall’s cornucopia of produce!

I used some of my favorite fruits and vegetables in the printable below since fall’s bountiful harvest was a litttttle more than I could possibly fit on a graphic and still make it easy to understand and follow along.

If you’re looking for a great resource for help figure out just how long all your produce will last, I recommend heading over to the site EatByDate.com. There you’ll find a huge trove of not just fruits and vegetable use-by recommendation dates, but other foods as well; dairy, meat, etc. I refer to it all the time!

Click on the image below to download the pdf, no string attached! It’s free, it’s handy, and it’s super easy to print off and hang up on your fridge or pop into a meal planning binder.

How do you store your favorite autumn fruits and veggies? Use this handy guide (and free printable!) to help keep your fall produce fresh, tasty, and ready to use!

Enjoy!


 You might also like: 

Caring For Your Cast Iron Pan

How To Cook ‘Family Meal’ Just Like a Chef 

3 Reasons Why You Need Better Kitchen Organization 

The 5 Minute Meal Plan

This is hands down the simplest way to organize your recipes and then to make your meal plan so fast! She gives step-by-step instructions for setting up Evernote to hold all your recipes, organize them, and then how to access them super fast so you can just bang out a super fast meal plan in 5 minutes.

This is hands down the simplest way to organize your recipes and then to make your meal plan so fast! She gives step-by-step instructions for setting up Evernote to hold all your recipes, organize them, and then how to access them super fast so you can just bang out a super fast meal plan in 5 minutes.

This is hands down the simplest way to organize your recipes and then to make your meal plan so fast! She gives step-by-step instructions for setting up Evernote to hold all your recipes, organize them, and then how to access them super fast so you can just bang out a super fast meal plan in 5 minutes.

This is hands down the simplest way to organize your recipes and then to make your meal plan so fast! She gives step-by-step instructions for setting up Evernote to hold all your recipes, organize them, and then how to access them super fast so you can just bang out a super fast meal plan in 5 minutes.

This is hands down the simplest way to organize your recipes and then to make your meal plan so fast! She gives step-by-step instructions for setting up Evernote to hold all your recipes, organize them, and then how to access them super fast so you can just bang out a super fast meal plan in 5 minutes. How I create my '5 minute meal plan' each week, using a super simple system! Once you have it set up, you won't believe how easy it is to use. How I create my '5 minute meal plan' each week, using a super simple system! Once you have it set up, you won't believe how easy it is to use.

Please note: There are (or likely are) affiliate links included in this post. This means if you make a purchase through one of my links, I’ll receive pennies on the dollar commission for sending you there. I would never recommend a product I don’t know and trust. For more info check out my disclosure page. 

I’m spilling my favorite secret today with my ‘5 Minute Meal Plan’ tip!

Today I thought I would share one of my favorite time saving, quick meal planning ‘hacks’. It’s Evernote, the cloud-based note-taking app! I’m going to break down, step-by-step, how I use this super simple app and program. Then you, too, can work a super quick 5 minute meal plan! 

My Evernote system is something I use regularly when I’m making my own family’s meal plans, and I also use it when I create my customized meal plans.

It’s nothing special or crazy or complicated, but you do need a smartphone to fully pull it off.

I use Evernote to store all my recipes.

No binders or recipe card boxes here!

If you’ve never used or heard of Evernote, I urge you to check it out! It’s a cloud-based list-making app, and it is so powerful. Since it’s based in the cloud, it will take up very little room on your phone, tablet, or computer. Yet it has the capacity to store thousands, if not millions, of your recipes. 

Here’s a quick rundown on how I have my Evernote set up:

First, I created a handful of ‘notebooks’ in recipe categories I knew I’d use often, like Dinner, Snacks, and Salads.

Then, I added all my recipes I had bookmarked online and on my computer, dividing them into the correct folders.

(if you use Chrome as your browser, the Evernote Web Clipper Extension is a huge help for the online stuff!)

For recipes I had stored outside of the computer (think recipes ripped out of magazines, recipe cards, even some favorite cookbook recipes)

I use the camera scanner within the Evernote app on my phone. Guys, this is my favorite part of the whole Evernote program.

You can use their app camera to snap a picture of anything and it will store it whichever way you want; as a pdf, a scan, an image.

Using the Evernote camera, you can crop images right there in the app and write notes on them, too.

If you’ve got, say, a recipe card that has a front or a back, you can save each image separately within the same “note”.

Here’s what that looks like ——>

And it helps a ton with clutter; after I scanned in all my scribbled recipes and ripped-out-of-magazines-recipes and such, I carefully put away the recipe cards that meant something to me, like the ones in my Grandma’s handwriting. Then I recycled the rest.

Evernote is so handy for saving everything you need, especially recipes!

Now, when I sit down on Saturday afternoon to decide what we’re going to be eating that week, I get it all done with a quick 5-minute meal plan. And Evernote makes that super simple. As long as I’ve got my phone, everything I need is accessible!

Another great thing about Evernote is the search function is incredibly powerful.

It makes it really easy to browse through a specific category and pull recipes out really quickly.

Evernote’s search capabilities will even scan handwriting, so you just have to save the image and it’ll come up in search! How cool is that?

For example, say I know I’ve got some chicken breasts that need to be eaten that week. I’ll type “chicken breasts” into the search function of Evernote, and it pulls up all the recipes I have in there that use chicken breasts. Then I pick what fits best into our meal plan!

Another bonus? When I’m in the kitchen and I want to cook from a specific recipe, I’ll just prop my phone or tablet up and open the Evernote app. Then I cook right from there; no dragging out cookbooks! It’s super handy when I travel, too.

I know this is a bit of work at first setting it up, but I really hope you’ll try it. Once you’ve got a system down, it’s crazy easy to add recipes in, no matter where you find them.

Have you used Evernote? Do you have another super easy system for saving your recipes? I’d love to hear from you!

You might also like:

Is Online Grocery Store Thrive Market Worth the Hype?

9 Best Quick and Easy Cookbooks Every Busy Cook Needs

10+ Cooking Hacks, Tips and Tricks That Will Save You An Insane Amount of Time in the Kitchen

3 Reasons Why You Need Better Kitchen Organization

My tiny rental kitchen drives me insane lately! I feel like i can never get good kitchen organization going and i never can find things when I need them. I like how she lays out a bunch of different ideas here so you can find something that works for your tiny space, on a budget and diy.

I moved into a new house and the kitchen was such a mess! This was a really helpful post for figuring out storage, with some really good kitchen organization tips and ideas. Great little print out cheat sheet, too.

My tiny rental kitchen drives me insane lately! I feel like i can never get good kitchen organization going and i never can find things when I need them. I like how she lays out a bunch of different ideas here so you can find something that works for your tiny space, on a budget and diy.

It’s super important, but: Do you know why you need better kitchen organization?

I worked for years as a line cook in a variety of restaurants, and you know what tip stuck with me the most? Hint: it wasn’t splashing water next to a cheeseburger on a grill so the steam would melt the cheese (good tip, tho).

No, the best tip I took from working in professional kitchens is this: organize yo’self. 

Pro cooks call it ‘mise en place’, which is French for ‘set in place’. This is the most important part of your kitchen organization.

Put simply, it means everything in the kitchen has a ‘home’. And not only that, but God bless you if you move something out of its home and you don’t put it back; you will face the wrath of not just your boss but the rest of the kitchen staff, too.

But another, more important reason for everything having a ‘home’ is that it makes a cooks’ life easier. You work faster this way, without scrambling to find butter or breadcrumbs when you need them the most.

If your home kitchen isn’t organized with a clear, easy-to-follow system, you might not feel the wrath of your boss for being a slowpokey mess. But you will have a harder time making the most of your kitchen.

PSST: Want to grab the template from this post AND all 22 recipes, cheat sheets, and worksheets from all the other posts in the series?

Make the Most of Your Kitchen

Get this FREE ebook with recipes, step-by-step action plans, checklists, and guides that will take you from frazzled cook to master of your kitchen space.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Let’s take a look at my top 3 reasons why you should get yourself a kitchen organization system already.

With an organized kitchen system, you can:

1. Grab it quick

It probably goes without saying that a well-planned organization system will help you find your stuff faster. You don’t want to start baking cookies only to have to hunt down the baking soda.

But the real magic in an organization system comes not just from knowing where things are, but why they’re there in the first place. For example:

  • Keep the baking ingredients in the cupboard above the stand mixer and mixing bowls.
  • Store your pans with their lids close to the stove.
  • Keep silverware close to the sink so it’s put away clean much easier than traipsing halfway across the kitchen.
  • In the fridge, place defrosting meats in a dish or bowl on the bottom shelf. This way, any dripped juices won’t contaminate the rest of your fridge.
  • Put hot sauce and ketchup in the fridge door so they’re grabbed quickly on the way to the table.

These little things make a big difference in terms of speed!

Check out this example diagram I put together. Obviously, every kitchen is laid out different and requires its own system. But see how like item is placed with like item? The ‘flow’ of products, appliances, and ingredients makes sense compared to the location of the stove, sink, and fridge. I only wish my NYC kitchen was this big and airy, but that’s for another day.

Do you know why you need better kitchen organization? Years as a line cook taught me this important kitchen tip: organize yo'self. Here's why.

Side note, I only wish my NYC kitchen was this big and airy, but that’s for another day.

Make the Most of Your Kitchen

Get this FREE ebook with recipes, step-by-step action plans, checklists, and guides that will take you from frazzled cook to master of your kitchen space.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

2.Use FIFO

‘FIFO’ stands for ‘first in, first out’.

It’s also the way grocery stores stock their goods; the oldest thing goes in front of the newer thing.

Example:

You have a box of chicken broth that will expire soon. That soon-to-expire box of chicken stock should be used in something so it doesn’t go to waste, yes; but it should also be in front of the next oldest box of chicken stock. Not only will you be able to grab it quickly, like in Step One, but you’ll be able to tell immediately that you need to write ‘chicken stock’ on your grocery list.

This means a little extra work when you’re putting away groceries since you have to rotate the new stuff to the back, but it saves a ton of money in the long run and gives you peace of mind.

Won’t it be nice to never have to find yourself hunting down, say, tomato paste while swearing to yourself, “I KNOW I bought it last week! Or did I use it? Did someone else use it? WHERE DID IT GO.”

 3. Ninja-like speed

When you have a kitchen organization system, you can cook much faster. There’s no scramble. As you get to know your system, you can reach without thinking to grab the olive oil, or a pan, quickly move boiled pasta from the stovetop to a colander without extra steps involved. A smart system means you work faster, which gets dinner on the table quick. And that’s why we’re all here, right?

The key takeaway

The thing is, all three steps work together in order to best get your kitchen organized. Once you’ve got things in their ‘homes’, are operating with a FIFO rotation, and are so knowledgeable as to how your system works, your meals will get on the table faster, you’ll save money at the grocery store by not buying what you need, and (bonus) anyone can come into your kitchen and easily find their way around.

This also marks the end of this series! Woot woot! If you hung with me all the way through, you’re a freaking rockstar. I’d love if you shared your favorite part of the series so others can benefit, too!

Click below to read the last three posts in the ‘Make the Most of Your Kitchen Series’ 

How to Cook ‘Family Meal’ Like a Chef

‘Don’t Throw That Out!’ Reusing Leftover Food

The 5+ Best, ‘Must-Have’ Kitchen Appliances Every Busy Cook Needs

Make the Most of Your Kitchen

Get this FREE ebook with recipes, step-by-step action plans, checklists, and guides that will take you from frazzled cook to master of your kitchen space.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit