Want to know the secret to a clean and organized kitchen? Mise en Place, or being prepared in advance, is the key to cooking success.
This French phrase translates to “everything in its place” and is a fundamental principle in professional cooking. In fact, it’s one of the first lessons one will learn in culinary school.
Considering this trick will greatly improve your cooking experience, many don’t practice it. Often times we are in such a rush to prepare a meal. Our schedules are too hectic, and we can’t find the time to plan our meals let alone prep them in advance.
Fortunately, there are some simple practices we can borrow from the Mise en Place concept to make our cooking experiences that much more efficient. This is how to use Mise en Place for Cooking Success.
Photo by Naomi Hébert on Unsplash
Time Saving Tips: Mise en Place for Cooking Success
In order to be organized and fluid in the kitchen, you do have to plan ahead. Not that you have to go crazy planning everything at once, but you will need to spend a little time getting things together.
And for those who aren’t natural planners, don’t fret. You can easily teach yourself to be a planning boss. Practice makes perfect.
- Organize recipes. Everyone has a preferred method of organizing recipes. Whether it be a digital catalog like Pinterest, recipe cards, or a printed pages, sort everything in a way that makes sense for you. We recommend organizing by category, such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack.
- Create a meal plan. If you prefer a digital style, build your plan into a worksheet like Excel. Get our template here. Or, copy this template into a paper calendar, chalkboard, or whiteboard. Experiment and determine what works best for you.
- Develop a routine. It only takes a few weeks to develop a routine. Experiment with different recipes and plans until you get into a groove. Once you get comfortable with the process each step with flow nicely.
- Pro tip: If you are new to meal planning, start slow with the basics. Don’t get caught up in trying to prepare fancy meals with loads of ingredients and complicated steps. Instead, search for “quick”, “one pot”, and “simple” meals. These are the exact terms you can search on our recipe page!
Want to learn more about meal planning? We go into detail and provide loads of tips in this handy meal planning guide we wrote for our friend at Girl in Healing. This outlines simple, easy to execute steps to rock your planning.
Create A Shopping List
Once you have your plan and menu developed, you can easily segway into making a shopping list. Here are a few tips to get you started, all of which will save you precious time.
- Pick your template. Use the pen and paper method, or select a digital option. If you’re using a digital meal plan, try our shopping template. Or, create a list using the notes feature in your phone.
- Timing is everything. Writing your list at the same time as your plan means easily transitioning your ingredients. Copy items from each recipe into your list, then filter and update quantities.
- Categorize. Once you have all ingredients and quantities written down, organize your list. Separate each item into categories (pantry, produce, meat, etc.) and assign each to a specific store/location.
Clean + Organize
Before you begin cooking, you need a clean and tidy space. This means having everything ready to go before you actually begin. Such as:
- Tidy your kitchen. This may seem obvious, but a clean and tidy kitchen is not only easier for when you are in the throws of cooking, but it also mentally prepares you for the work ahead. Just like a tidy desk helps you work more efficiently, so will a clean kitchen.
- Set out your utensils. Place your pans on the stovetop, get your baking sheets and line them with parchment or foil, and have your mixing bowls, spoons/spatulas/etc. nearby.
- Know your timeline and space. If you are prepping multiple dishes at once, a detailed schedule is needed. Especially when dealing with dishes that require oven and stovetop space, a plan will help you execute everything to perfection. Start by timing each dish, and coordinating your cooking schedule.
Prep + Prep Some More
Before you even begin cooking, think through the recipe and complete any steps you can in advance. This includes:
- Have your recipe ready. A couple of days before you cook, print your recipe or have it pulled up on your phone. Read through the recipe in its entirety to be sure you have all ingredients and are clear on all instructions.
- Pre-measure ingredients. This is the basis for Mise en Place. Get all ingredients out, measure them according to the recipe, and have them ready to go so when you begin cooking, you can seamlessly move through the steps.
- Prepare items in advance. If you are preparing a more complex recipe or multiple dishes, it is extremely helpful to complete some of the steps in advance. Or you can prepare an entire dish in advance. For instance, you cut and portion vegetables in advance, make a sauce or even saute Mirepoix.
And there we have it, an easy to follow guide to help you get organized and master efficient cooking. What are your favorite planning tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments below.
Want to learn more about how planning can help you succeed in the kitchen? Visit our Planning Page or see our other Planning Posts.
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