Answer the following questions to see if your kitchen might be in need of a makeover.
1. I have enough food in my kitchen right now to make healthy meals for at least the next two days.
2. I have a large, clean cutting board that doesn't slip when used.
3. I have knives that are sharp enough to cut a tomato and large enough to cut a melon.
4. I have enough room on my counter to make dinner without having to move or shuffle things.
If you couldn't answer true to all of these questions you probably have trouble preparing good and nutritious meals for your family. The following tips will help you make a few improvements that will make it easier to fix quick and tasty meals at home.
1. FOOD. First of all it is important to have the right kinds of food on hand. Stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables, and keep some frozen or canned options on hand too. That way you can have fruits and vegetables in your meals. When buying canned or frozen options, make sure they have little or no added sugar or sodium. It's also a good idea to keep whole grain bread, rice and pasta on hand.
2. TOOLS. A nonstick skillet, a microwave and a toaster oven are three things that can make a difference in the speed and ease of home-cooked meals. A nonstick skillet, is a great tool that you can use to prepare most meals that you make. A microwave is great for vegetables that are cooked quickly. Cooking vegetables in a bit of water in the microwave is a great way to preserve your patience as well as the color and nutrients in most foods. The microwave offers a simple way to reheat food as well. The toaster oven is great for browning, broiling and baking quickly.
3. WORK. How are you going to get anything done if you don't have room to work? Clear off the counters and make sure that you have room for the three key area of your kitchen: preparing, cooking and cleaning. These areas can overlap a little, but it is easier to cook and clean up quickly if they are totally separate.
4. SLICE. How can you cut anything if you don't have a good cutting board and knife? To cook and eat well a kitchen needs a few good knives and a good, non-stick cutting board. It is best to have a cutting board that can go into the dishwasher for thorough cleaning and sanitation.
5. FUN. If you have plates, cups and serving pieces that look good and are fun to use, you just might be tempted to cook more often. Cooking at home and preparing your own food from scratch is one of the best ways to eat healthier, because you know and can control what is going into your family's meals.
Check our website www.extension.purdue.edu/putnam to view the most up to date info. You can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 653-8411 for more information regarding column topics or to RSVP for upcoming events. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While many publications are free, some do have a fee. All times listed are Eastern Time.
April 30 -- Extension Homemakers Spring Dessert, Fairgrounds, 6:30 p.m.
April 30 -- 4-H Volunteer Meeting, Extension Office, 6:30 p.m.
May 2 -- Walking Wednesdays -- Albin Pond Trail -- start from Tzouanakis School -- 5-6 pm
May 3 -- 4-H Camp Counselor Development Session #1, Fairgrounds, 5-8 p.m.
May 8 -- Extension Homemakers County Tour of Naptown
May 9 -- Walking Wednesday -- DePauw Nature Trail -- start from parking lot -- 5-6 p.m.
May 10 -- Extension Homemakers County Council meeting 7 p.m. at Fairgrounds
May 10 -- 4-H Camp Counselor Development Session #2, Fairgrounds, 5-8 p.m.
May 12 -- 4-H sheep and goat wether tagging and retinal scanning, Fairgrounds, 8 a.m.-noon
May 14 -- Extension Homemaker Leader Lesson "Attracting Birds to Your Yard" 7 p.m. at Extension Office
May 15 --All dairy, goat, horse & pony, sheep, swine, pure-bred heifer 4-H livestock enrollment forms due
May 15 -- 4-H Camp Registration absolute registration deadline if not already full.