Use A Baking Sheet To Stay Organized During Food Prep

Roving around the kitchen and opening every cupboard on the hunt for a missing ingredient while your chicken burns on a smoking skillet does not make for a relaxing cooking experience. If this sounds like you, we've got an easy tip to help you stay organized during food prep; gather all your ingredients on an empty baking sheet before you even consider lighting the stove.

Yes, you're going to assemble all your vegetables, sauces, and protein prior to turning on the gas to keep you in control of your space, streamline your activity, and make cleanup a million times easier. By building an itemized collection of ingredients on your baking tray, you're essentially creating something that the French describe as mise en place, which roughly translates to "putting in place". This is a space beside your cooking area that includes all your ingredients prepped and ready to go, which can include anything from chopped vegetables, herbs, and pre-toasted nuts to meats, oils, and seasonings. If you have a handful of seasonings to keep track of, a muffin tin can keep you tidy as well. This simple step turns even the most disorganized cook into an unflappable pro in the kitchen because there's no room for error; everything is washed, chopped, measured, and close at hand. 

Why is a baking sheet useful for assembling ingredients?

Cooking this way saves time because you won't be wasting energy midway through searing a steak to find the missing ingredients for your sides because you'll already have them before you. Much like making a stir fry where everything is prepped in advance of heating up your wok, this method means you won't need to venture beyond the stove at any point to grab a forgotten element of your dish.

Furthermore, a baking sheet is the perfect piece of kitchen equipment to stow your ingredients on because it has a large surface area. You can fit everything you need in a single space using bowls, plates, and deli containers (separate raw meat in one of these vessels before placing them on your baking tray to prevent cross-contamination). Plus, while you're cooking, the tray will collect any spills and messes. Once you're done, you can simply wash it in the sink without needing to wipe down your counter.

Finally, this method gives you a chance to read over your recipe and double-check that you have every item in your fridge or pantry before you get cracking. There's nothing worse than realizing you haven't got any eggs left when you've already creamed together your sugar and butter mixture for a pound cake. So, if you're a bit scatterbrained when it comes to cooking and baking, try assembling all your ingredients neatly together in a single spot to make the process feel like a joyous, slower-paced activity rather than a stressful episode.