Six cooking methods to save washing up

Sharing a home-cooked meal with friends or family is one of life`s basic pleasures. And after sweating over the stove and enjoying the food with your guests, it should be time to relax. But this moment can be ruined by the thought of the mountain of washing up waiting for you in the kitchen.

Here are some tips to help you create the minimum of mess in the kitchen while still preparing great meals.

1) Practice “mise en place”

Don’t be put off by the fancy French words. This simply refers to prepping your ingredients before embarking on a complicated recipe so everything is to hand. This could include dicing vegetables, measuring spices, and laying out your utensils and pans.

The idea is to make the cooking process more efficient and streamlined, and you less stressed. This in turn means you don`t end up with dirty utensils and trimmings strewn haphazardly around the kitchen.

2) Have kitchen towels to hand

A kitchen splattered with a collage of crusty multi-hued spills to rival any contemporary artist is a dispiriting site indeed. Tucking a piece of humble kitchen towel into your apron or belt while you cook gives you a quick and easy way to wipe spills while they are fresh, especially those tricky ones in corners of the stove.

3) Use a rubbish bowl

Have a simple bowl, bucket or bag handy to put your scraps into and stop them from ending up trodden into the floor or falling into odd corners. Not being confronted by surfaces scattered with onion peel, potato skins and meat gristle is a big psychological boost when you enter the kitchen to clean up.

4) Clean as you go

This sounds obvious but for many it is a habit that needs to be learned. Rather than building up a precarious mess of ingredients and discarded utensils, wash your tools when you finish with them and put them away along with ingredients.

5) One-pot meals

Goulash, chicken cacciatore, lasagna, pot roast, gumbo, chili, coq au vin, need we continue? There’s a huge wealth of stews, casseroles and baked dishes that is enough to keep the most adventurous cook going for years. Not only does this cut down the amount of pans you use, it lets you get the kitchen clean and even enjoy a glass or two while the meal is cooking.

6) Cooking in the dishwasher

Most people would be a double take on hearing this. But reliable sources have confirmed that for certain dishes this can work very well and a quick search on the net shows a number of recipes, especially for salmon, potatoes and pasta.

So how does it save on cleaning? Well firstly it gives you an incentive to get the dishes washed while you cook; if you’re going to run a cycle on the dishwasher it seems a shame not to load it up with dirty plates at the same time. Also, food is cooked in airtight jars or vacuum bags which are disposable or easy to clean.

Hopefully this advice will help you enjoy preparing meals for your guests without worrying about the clean up job. But if all else fails remember you can always order a pizza (or call Zesty)!