How to Cook Strategically in a Small Kitchen

How to Cook Strategically in a Small Kitchen

The kitchen is one of my favorite spaces. I love cooking up a storm. Having lived in my fair share of apartments with one-butt kitchens, I know small spaces can be tricky. From bitty prep areas to limited cooking surfaces, putting together dinner in a small kitchen takes some forethought. Not only do you have to plan a meal that can be cooked within the allotted stovetop – oven space, you need to consider how many dishes – the dirty kind that need to be washed – you’re going to create.

Over the years, I’ve developed a few tips that make cooking in a small space a breeze. These are my strategic tips:

1. Bake Ahead

Typically, the small kitchen dilemma is particularly challenging when you’re hosting a dinner party. If your menu involves any sort of baked good, such as dinner rolls or cornbread, it’s best to bake them ahead of time. This might mean you bake them the evening before or the morning of.

2. Make Ahead

In addition to pre-baking your yummy goodies, I also love to utilize make-ahead dishes. These are the kinds of dishes that are best enjoyed after marinating. For example, broccoli salad, black bean and corn salad, and coleslaw are 10 times better after they have sat for at least a few hours. In addition, most bruschetta toppings are better when they’ve had a chance to sit, making them a great appetizer.

Note: This is currently my favorite black bean and corn salad. It can be served warm or cold. It makes a great salad, unique salsa and fantastic quesadilla filling.

3. Prep Everything in Advance

Before you start cooking, prep. Chop all your veggies, meat, fruit and herbs. Anything that needs to be cut, sliced or otherwise altered should be done before you start cooking.

4. Pre-Cooking Cleanup

Once you’ve prepped all your ingredients, clean up everything you can. Dirty dishes can hog a lot of your precious space.

5. One-Pot Wonders

My last piece of “small kitchen wisdom” is to not avoid the one-pot wonders. When I first started cooking, I though every meal needed to be a multi-dish extravaganza. But, there’s a lot to be said for the one-pot dishes that are packed with flavors and textures.