March 07, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: Kitchen Edition

This week Shannon is hosting the Kitchen Edition of WFMW. Go on over and check out everyone's kitchen tips. There are some excellent ones!

So I'm probably the only mom whose child(ren) hang onto her legs while she's trying to do anything remotely productive while in the kitchen, right? That's what I thought. Back when Oldest was around 15 months or so I was desperate for something to keep her busy long enough for me to throw a skillet of meat sauce together and get the noodles boiling (which I can now do in less than 4 minutes, thankyouverymuch). She just loved opening cabinets and pulling the entire contents out for Mommy to grumble about and throw back in. Then one day it dawned on me to let her play in the "tupperware" cabinet as long as she liked. Very quickly, this became "Oldest's Cabinet." Playing with the plasticware would keep her busy for at least 15 minutes, if not longer and I would be able to make dinner without having her glued to my shins. Yes, she made a big mess but after she went to sleep, I'd stack all of the containers back in the cabinet (and it really only took maybe 2 minutes) and it would be all ready for the next evening.

Besides giving me some breathing room to make dinner, letting her play freely in the cabinet also had a couple of other advantages: She became only interested in "her" cabinet and left all of the other ones alone (hooray!). And it was very liberating (heh) to make the decision to only pick up the containers once a day, as opposed to getting in a tizzy, telling her "no" and constantly putting everything back multiple times a day. And, she learned how to stack the various sizes of bowls and things so well that now that she's 2, when I empty the dishwasher, I just hand her the containers and she puts it all "neatly" away by herself. And finally, the "mystery and intrigue" of the kitchen cabinet wore off after a few months and she doesn't even mess with the cabinet anymore. So, if you have little ones, you should try my cabinet approach.

Bonus Tip: My hubby says I'm a magician when it comes to finding something to eat in the refrigerator when it seems like there's "nothing" there. [I totally get this talent from my mom] So I thought I'd share some quick "We have nothing to eat!" recipes.

Bagel Pizzas:
Top half a bagel with tomato sauce (we seem to always have some in a jar), Italian seasoning and shredded cheese (we always seem to have this around too). Broil for 5 minutes. ta da!

Easy Nachos:
Top nacho chips with salsa (also a staple) and shredded cheese. Microwave for 1 minute. ta da! You can also throw on any leftover meat that you may have (chicken or ground beef, etc.) for a more filling snack. You can also use quesadillas instead of the chips if you have those on hand.

Chicken Noodle Soup:
Boil pasta (pretty much any kind will do). Add pasta to a pot of chicken broth. Add whatever veggies you have lying around (fresh or frozen). If you have leftover chicken, throw that in too. Season to taste. ta da!

Works for me!


Larae said...

Great tip & thanks for the recipes! =)

Jane said...

Gotta file this one away for the future!

Susan said...

I just started trying the plastic container trick with our 10-month-old. It works for a while, but then she's also trying to pull herself up on everything. So I hope once she "gets over" that, she'll be thrilled with plastic containers while I do dishes or cook.

Susan at Working Moms Against Guilt

~yolanda said...

Nice tip. :-)

Jen said...

I would really love to know how you get your water boiling in 4 minutes. It seems like mine takes forever.

Great tip! Fortunately (or maybe not), my kids are way past the empty the cabinet stage. I do remember doing something similar, though. Now I am trying to get them involved with helping me cook dinner as much as possible (and whenever I think of it).

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