The secret to stress-free cooking is to be organized. I make every attempt to be, but sometimes it just isn't happening. The first rule: keep your pantry stocked. Click here for a pretty inclusive list of what you should keep on hand at all times. I'm not saying go out and buy every single thing on the list at one time...just add to it as you can and you'll get there. Rule two: Attach a small note pad to your refrigerator or any other convenient place to write down what you just used as you were cooking. When you take something out of the pantry, write it down right then or you may forget it. Replace it on your next trip to the grocery. Rule three: Plan your meals on Saturday/Sunday for the next week and what night you'll eat leftovers (if any).
How do I know this works? Well, for example: The other night we were grilling hamburgers. Someone didn't write down pickles on the list when they pulled the jar from the pantry. Yes, there were a couple pickle stackers in the jar in the fridge, but that was it.
The past few weeks we've not been writing down our menu for the week. We still are fixing a good meal every night, but it's been very stressful figuring it out at the last minute. It's also caused extra trips to the grocery store.
So, there are times yours truly will run out of something. Over the years I've made a list of tips from my Grandmother Gaudette and others along with substitutions for the things I might run out of from time to time.
One of my favorite substitution reminders is how to replace fresh grated garlic or ginger versus ground. A funny example of this was when we were fixing a dish that required 1 tbsp. grated ginger. I neglected to tell my "kitchen assistant" she needed to dial down the amount of ground ginger she was substituting that with. Needless to say, that ginger came shining through!
Click here to download a pdf to your computer or to print from.